Video: Special teams the difference in Morrison’s debut
Hamilton, Ont. – The Firebirds played their third game in four nights Saturday when Flint was in Hamilton at the FirstOntario Centre. Hamilton scored three power-play goals and one empty net tally in a 4-2 triumph over the Firebirds in front of more than 3,200 fans. Flint netminder Evan Morrison made his first OHL regular-season start, making 23 saves on 26 shots en-route to earning ‘Third-Star’ honors in the contest. Jack Phibbs and Jake Durham each found the back of the net for Flint.
For the second night in a row, Flint was first to light the lamp. The Bulldogs attempted a break-out pass from behind their own goal, which was intercepted by Jacob Winterton in the left-wing circle. His shot didn’t make it through traffic, but the puck settled in the slot where Hagersville, Ont. native Jack Phibbs was able to convert for his fourth of the season at 4:07 of the opening frame. The Firebirds controlled the first period, outshooting Hamilton 9-2 after 20 minutes of play.
Flint netminder Evan Morrison stopped the first 14 shots faced in OHL action before the Bulldogs were able to slip one past him. While on the power-play, Arthur Kaliyev controlled the puck behind the Flint net with heavy traffic in front of Morrison. He slid a short-range pass to Matthew Strome (Philadelphia Flyers) to Morrison’s right. Strome passed across the top of the crease to MacKenzie Entwistle (Chicago Blackhawks), who redirected it into the net for his 14th of the season at 17:45 of the second. The game was tied 1-1 and two and shots favored the Firebirds 16-15.
The Bulldogs scored on the man-advantage again early in the third period. Strome made a pass from the left point to Kaliyev atop the right-wing circle. His shot was saved by Morrison’s far pad, but the rebound found Brandon Saigeon (Colorado Avalanche) on the left side of the slot for a quick tap in on the near-side. It was Saigeon’s 21st marker of the campaign.
Jake Durham tied the contest at 12:56, picking up his team-leading 20th of the season. Evan Vierling carried the puck along the right-wing wall down below the goal line in the right corner. Before he crossed behind the Hamilton net, he made a tape-to-tape pass to Durham in the high slot. Durham leaned on a heavy one-timer that snuck below the right pad of Nick Donofrio. Ty Dellandrea picked up the second assist.
Entwistle scored his second of the night and the Bulldogs’ third power-play tally of the game from the right point at 15:41. Kade Landry and Kaliyev were credited with the assists. Flint pulled Morrison to the bench for the extra attacker with a minute and a half remaining in regulation. It was Hamilton, however, who capitalized on the opportunity. Kaliyev scored his first goal and fourth point of the game to seal the outcome for the Bulldogs. Entwistle and Saigeon earned the helpers.
Final shots on goal favored Hamilton 27-24. On special teams, the Firebirds came up empty on two chances with man-advantage and Hamilton scored three times on four opportunities.
Next up for Flint, the Firebirds will continue their six-game road trip Thursday night in Peterborough. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET) at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.
Thursday’s contest can be heard live on the radio throughout Flint & Mid-Michigan on US 103.1 FM, online at www.us103.com or by downloading the US 103 app here. Dominic Hennig will call the play-by-play action with pre-game coverage beginning begin 35 minutes prior to puck drop at 6:30 p.m. The game will also be televised live on YourTV in Peterborough on channel 10 / 700 (HD) for Cogeco TV cable subscribers. It will also be televised province-wide across Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 439 for Rogers TV cable subscribers and channel 480 for Cogeco TV cable subscribers. OHL fans with cable television in Ontario can add the OHL Action Pak to their television plan to catch the Firebirds in action, home or away all season long. Along with Friday’s game, 65 of the Firebirds’ 68 games throughout the 2018-19 season are also scheduled to be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak.
Photo Credit: Brandon Taylor / Hamilton Bulldogs
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