Preview: Firebirds Host London Thursday Night in Flint
|London Knights (18-14-2-0) at Flint Firebirds (10-20-3-0)|
|Date | Time||Thursday, Dec. 28 | 7:00 p.m.|
|Location||Flint, Mich. | Dort Federal Event Center (Directions)|
|Tickets||Ticketmaster.com | (810) 744-0580|
|Promotions||– College Night: $2 Beers & $2 Hot Dogs (All Fans)
– $2 Off Tickets with Valid Student ID
|TV||– Rogers TV ch. 13 / 510 HD (London)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers ch. 439 & Cogeco ch. 480 (Ontario)
– Firebirds’ Broadcast Coverage
|Video Stream||OHL Live|
|Radio||WQUS 103.1 FM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 6:30p|
|Radio (Mobile)||US 103 App: Android | iPhone/iPad|
|Media Notes Packet||Here|
|Next Home Game||Saturday, Jan. 6: Firebirds’ Fight Hunger|
|Social Media||@FlintFirebirds | Facebook | Instagram|
Flint, Mich. – The Flint Firebirds return back to action Thursday, Dec. 28 at the Dort Federal Event Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) against the London Knights. Thursday’s game marks the fourth “College Night” this season, featuring $2 beers and $2 hot dogs for all fans in attendance. All college students with valid identification will also receive $2 off admission.
The Firebirds finished the first half of the season on a winning note, beating the CHL’s sixth-ranked team the Sarnia Sting and will look to build on that in the second half. The Knights enter the game on a hot streak having won five of their last six games, including back-to-back wins over the Mississauga Steelheads and the Owen Sound Attack, before the holiday break. London currently sits in fifth place in the Western Conference with an 18-14-2-0 record.
This will be the third of four meetings this season between the two clubs. The Firebirds will be looking for their first win against the Knights after losing both games in London at the Budweiser Gardens. Flint has picked up points in four of their last eight games with a 3-4-1-0 record. The three wins have come against a trio of top teams in the OHL that includes beating the Eastern Conference’s first-place Hamilton Bulldogs, the defending Memorial Cup Champions Windsor Spitfires and the Sarnia Sting, who currently sit in second place in the West Division and have been a top ranked team in the CHL throughout the first half of the season.
On special teams, the Knights are ninth on the power-play, scoring at a 22.1% clip with the man-advantage and also rank ninth in the OHL on the penalty-kill at an 80.7% success rate. Flint has scored on 13.7% of their chances with the man-advantage and has a 72.0% efficiency rating in short-handed situations.
Players to Watch
Flint Firebirds (10-20-3-0, 5th West Division):
Maurizio Colella continues to lead the team in scoring with 27 points and is tied for first in goals scored with 12 along with teammate Ty Dellandrea. Dellandrea is coming off a five-point night against the Sting that included the first hat-trick from a Firebird player this season. Dellandrea is second on the team with 26 points. Newly acquired Connor Roberts has been a consistent point-producer since coming from the Hamilton Bulldogs in a trade earlier this year. In just nine games with the Firebirds, Roberts has scored three goals along with six points.
After committing to the Firebirds’ organization Wednesday night, Eric Uba may make his first appearance in a Firebirds’ uniform Thursday. A native of Kitchener, Ont., Uba was heavily recruited with NCAA options before choosing to continue his hockey and academic development in Flint. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound right-winger has notched 21 points (8G, 13A) in 37 games with the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) this season.
Between the pipes, Garrett Forrest has played in 27 of Flint’s 33 games this season and has backstopped the Firebirds to nine wins, both tops on the club. Forrest carries a 4.58 goals-against average (GAA) and a .867 save percentage (SAV%). Luke Cavallin was the highest goaltender selected in the 2017 OHL Priority Draft and has fared well in his rookie season with the Firebirds. He has appeared in 10 games, posting a 4.77 goals-against average (GAA) along with a .855 save percentage (SAV%). Cavallin earned his first career OHL win on Dec. 3 against the Windsor Spitfires.
NHL: The Firebirds have three players that have been drafted or signed by NHL teams consisting of Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes), Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Nicholas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leafs). Additionally, Dennis Busby, Ty Dellandrea, Hunter Holmes, Ryan Littlejohn, Connor Roberts and Jack Wismer are six first time eligible players to be selected in the NHL Entry Draft in June 2018. Busby, Dellandrea, Holmes, Roberts and Wismer were listed among NHL Central Scouting’s November ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft.
London Knights (18-14-2-0, 2nd Midwest Division):
The London Knights will be minus three key players when they face-off against the Firebirds. Alex Formenton and Robert Thomas are in Buffalo, NY as members of Team Canada while Max Jones is representing the U.S. at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
Cliff Pu (Buffalo Sabres) and Evan Bouchard are tied for second on the Knights’ roster with 42 points each. Bouchard has 30 assists this season, good for fifth best in the OHL.
In net, Joseph Raaymakers has led the Knights to 17 wins, third best in the OHL. His 2.51 goals against average is second best in the league and his .915 save percentage ranks fourth in the OHL. Raaymakers also is tied for first in the OHL with three shut-outs. Jordan Kooy has played in eight games in net for the Knights with a 3.61 goals-against average and a .876 save percentage.
London has one player with local ties to the Flint area. Dalton Duhart, son of Flint General’s enforcer Jim Duhart, hails from Grand Blanc, Mich. The six-foot, 180-pound left-handed center was the 47th overall pick in this year’s OHL Priority Selection by London.
NHL: Six players on the Knights roster have been signed by NHL teams consisting of Jesper Bratt (New Jersey Devils), Alex Formenton (Ottawa Senators), Max Jones (Anaheim Ducks), Sam Miletic (Pittsburgh Penguins), Cliff Pu (Buffalo Sabres) and Robert Thomas (St. Louis Blues). Jacob Golden (Minnesota Wild) is the lone London player that has been drafted but not yet signed.
29 notable London Knights alumni to play in the NHL are David Bolland, John Carlson, Dino Ciccarelli, Michael Del Zotto, Max Domi, Sam Gagner, Bo Horvat, Michael Hutchinson, Nazem Kadri, Patrick Kane, Chris Kelly, Sergi Kostitsyn, Oli Maatta, Mitch Marner, Patrick Maroon, Steve Mason, Marc Methot, Vladislav Namestnikov, Rick Nash, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Shanahan, Steve Smith, John Tavares, Chris Tierney, Jarred Tinordi, Matthew Tkachuk, Austin Watson, Dennis Wideman and Nikita Zadorov.
Thursday evening’s contest against the London Knights 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 on the Flint Firebirds Hockey Radio Network. Pregame coverage will begin 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday’s game against the Knights will also be televised live in London on channel 13 / 510 (HD) for Rogers TV cable subscribers. Additionally, the game will be televised live throughout the province of 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 Thursday’s game, 65 of the Firebirds’ 68 games throughout the 2017-18 season are also scheduled to be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak.
All Flint Firebirds home and away games throughout the 2017-18 season can be watched anywhere in the world online on www.ohllive.com or on the OHL Live app. OHL Live is a league video streaming platform that delivers high quality live and on-demand coverage of all regular season and playoff games annually. The cost is $6.99 per game, $69.99 for Flint Firebirds away games only, $179.99 for all 68 home and away Firebirds games and $279.99 for all 1,360 OHL games throughout the 2017-18 season.
Next Home Game:
The Flint Firebirds return home to the Dort Federal Event Center next Saturday, Jan. 6 to start off the Firebirds’ Fight Hunger month. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (ET) vs. the Erie Otters. In partnership with the Foodbank of Eastern Michigan, fans can bring in five non-perishable food items to any Firebirds’ home game in the month of January to receive a complimentary sponsored silver level ticket, limit of four tickets per person.
Single game tickets for all Firebirds games are $12 / Bronze, $16 / Silver, $20 / Gold and $26 / VIP seating (Seating Chart). All seats are reserved / assigned seating. Fans can purchase tickets by calling (810) 744-0580, in-person at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office or online at ticketmaster.com here.
For ticket information, flex tickets or group outings, contact Dominic Gutierrez at (810) 701-8536 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To book a private suite, please contact Karla Turner at (810) 744-0580 ext. 213 or email email@example.com.
Photo Credit: Tim Jagielo | Tri-County Times
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