Erie, Penn. – Riley McCourt scored the lone goal for the Firebirds while on the power-play Friday night and Emanuel Vella made 25 saves on 28 shots but the Erie Otters notched a 4-1 victory in the third of four games between the two clubs this season. Both the Firebirds and the Otters will meet in Flint for the Firebirds next home game on Friday, Dec. 28.
Next up for the Firebirds, Flint will travel to Hamilton, Ont. for a Saturday afternoon tilt with the Bulldogs. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m. (ET) at the FirstOntario Centre. The game will be broadcast live on the radio throughout Flint & Mid-Michigan on 103.1 FM and around the world online at www.us103.com. The game will also be televised live in Hamilton on Cable 14 and province-wide across Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 446 for both Rogers TV and Cogeco TV cable subscribers.
The Firebirds scored first with the man-advantage at 11:04 of the first period. The Otters attempted to clear the puck from their own end, but Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) was able to keep it in. He sent a saucer pass over a defender’s stick to Riley McCourt fresh off the bench as he crossed the blue line with a head of steam. McCourt fired a heavy wrister from above the left circle that found twine far side just below the crossbar, glove side, for his third of the season. The Otters responded 1:16 later with a similar power-play tally. From the center of the right wing circle, Gera Poddubnyi wristed a shot top-shelf for his 15th of the season. Kyle Maksimovich and Jamie Drysdale picked up the helpers. First-period shots favored the Firebirds 9-7.
It wasn’t until 2:02 remained in the middle frame that the tie was broken. After Flint’s nearest defenseman lost an edge and slipped to the ice, Erie’s Danial Singer found himself on an all-out breakaway. Singer faked forehand-to-backhand as he skated through the crease, slipping a backhander past netminder Emanuel Vella for his fourth of the season. Daniel D’Amato and Kurtis Henry assisted on the tally. Second-period shots were 11-8 in favor of the Otter’s, giving them the slight edge after 40 minutes, 18-17.
At 10:51 of the final frsame, the Otters struck again, extending their lead to two. Daniel D’Amato attempted a wraparound from Vella’s right that slid across the blue paint. Brendan Hoffmann was waiting on the doorstep to redirect the puck in for his third of the campaign.
As Flint headed to the power play, the Firebirds’ coaching staff used their only timeout with just under four minutes to play in regulation, where Emanuel Vella was called to the bench for an extra attacker. During the next play, a miscommunication between two Firebirds’ players resulted in a short-handed, empty-net goal for Erie. Chad Yetman was the last Otter to touch the puck and was credited with his 12th of the season at 17:30. Final shots-on-goal favored the Otters 29-24, and total face-off wins favored Flint 23-17.
Photo Credit: Todd Boone / Flint Firebirds
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Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club