Flint, Mich. – Luke Kirwan scored 1:14 into overtime to lift the Firebirds over the Ottawa 67’s on Sunday night, improving Flint’s record to 4-0 on home ice and 4-1 overall through the first five games of the season.
Flint’s Kole Sherwood started the scoring off for the Firebirds with 50 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Ryan Moore picked up the puck after a 67’s defender mishandled it and promptly fed a pass through two defenders to an open Sherwood. Sherwood ripped a shot, top-shelf above Olivier Lafreniere’s left shoulder, earning flint a 1-0 lead after the first period. Sherwood’s goal was his third in two games with the Firebirds after being acquired from the London Knights Thursday. Nicholas Caamano and Moore picked up assists, extending their their point streak to five games.
6:15 into the middle frame, Caamano netted his his fifth goal of the season, doubling the Firebirds lead to two goals. Moore chased a defender behind the net in the Ottawa zone, allowing Sherwood the opportunity to chip the puck to the slot. Caamano then backhanded the puck far-side, over the right-shoulder of Lafreniere earning Flint a two-goal lead.
The 67’s cut the lead in half after Chase Campbell scored his third goal of the season at the 12:15 mark of the second frame on a two-on-one play with Travis Barron.
Moore then tallied his fifth goal of the season scoring on a five-on-three shorthanded breakaway. Carter Robertson wasn’t able to corral a pass at the Firebirds blue-line and Moore stole the puck, skating into the 67’s zone on a breakaway. Moore fired a shot five-hole to beat Lafreniere, scoring his second shorthanded goal of the season and third point of the night.
Sasha Chmelevski answered Flint’s shorthanded goal with a power-play goal 30 seconds later, finding a loose puck in front of the crease, bringing Ottawa within one with 3:05 remaining in the middle frame. Flint had the overall shot advantage after 40 minutes of play 25-20, and outshot the 67’s 15-12 during the second frame.
Kirwan scored his second goal of the season in as many games and first of the night 2:35 into the third period, extending Flint’s lead to two goals again. After receiving a pass from Jalen Smereck, Ty Dellandrea fed Kirwan at the right-wing wall. Kirwan ripped the puck on net as he entered the Ottawa zone and found his own rebound, sliding the puck on the ice and into the cage earning Flint a 4-2 lead. Ty Dellandrea’s assist extended his point streak to five games as a rookie in the OHL.
Ottawa then scored two unanswered goals to force overtime. Drake Rymsha found the back-of-the-net from the slot with 8:23 remaining in regulation before Sasha Chmelevski converted on the power-play with 2:54 to play.
Just 1:14 into the extra frame, Flint’s Mathieu Henderson ripped the puck on net from the point. With patience, Kole Sherwood waited before attempting to jam the puck into the net, allowing Luke Kirwan the opportunity pick up the rebound and bury the puck for his second goal of the night and third in two games with Flint. With the 5-4 victory, Flint improved to 4-0 on home ice and 4-1 through the first five games of the regular season.
The Firebirds were slightly outshot 35-32 and surrendered two power-play goals on nine opportunities. Flint was scoreless on five attempts. Kirwan earned first star honors after scoring twice, including the game winning goal in overtime. Moore received second star honors recording one goal and two assists, and Caamano earned third star honors after scoring once and tallying an assist.
After staying perfect on home ice through four games, the Firebirds hit the road for a three-game road trip. Flint travels to Mississauga, Ont. Friday, Oct. 7 and Erie, Penn. Saturday Oct. 8. Puck drop for both contests is at 7 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. on 1330 AM WTRX Sports Radio in Flint & Mid-Michigan and worldwide online at www.wtrxsports.com.
The Firebirds return home Friday, Oct. 14 against the Mississauga Steelheads for “Pink Out Night” for breast cancer awareness, sponsored by McLaren.
Photo Credit: Keith Dotson / OHL Pucks & Stripes