Watch: Firebirds Earn 3-2 Victory over London Knights before Sold Out Crowd of 4,400+ in Flint
Flint, Mich. – Maurizio Colella scored the shoot-out winning goal to earn the Firebirds their second-consecutive victory, winning a 3-2 in front of a sold out crowd of more than 4,400 fans at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint Thursday night.
C.J.Clarke scored the tying goal at 8:08 of the third period and Maurizio Colella sent the Firebirds’ faithful home happy with the lone goal of the shoot-out. Luke Cavallin picked up his second career OHL win and first on home-ice stopping 19 shots including all three London attackers during the shoot-out.
Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) scored the opening goal for the Firebirds. Jake Durham, Jack Phibbs and Max Kislinger each contributed an assist each in the game.
Sam Miletic (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Evan Bouchard tallied for London. Joseph Raaymakers started in net for the Knights and left mid-way through the second period with an apparent injury. Raaymakers stopped 28 of 29 shots and Jordan Kooy came in relief turning away all but one of the 16 shots he faced in the game during regulation and the overtime.
From the left-wing wall in the London zone, Jake Durham dished the puck to Jalen Smereck at the point. Smereck fired the puck on goal, beating Raaymakers to the far-side on the glove-side at 13:51 of the first period. It was Smereck’s third goal of the season with Durham drawing the lone assist.
Flint was dangerous during the rest of the opening period with some close scoring chances. Both teams skated off after twenty minutes with the Firebirds leading 1-0, outshooting London 13-6.
London scored two goals late in the second period to take the lead. Sam Miletic received a drop pass from Cliff Pu (Buffalo Sabres) at the top of the right circle where Miletic beat Cavallin top-shelf on the glove-side to tie the game at 15:52. The Knights scored the go-ahead-goal at 18:59 as Evan Bouchard beat Cavallin on the glove side. Pu and Alex Turko were credited with assists on the first London goal and Billy Moskal had the only assist on the second tally by the Knights.
Late in the period, London goaltender Joseph Raaymakers appeared to suffer an injury and was replaced by Jordan Kooy at 14:42 of the second period. For the second straight period, Flint out-shot London by a wide margin of 18-8.
C.J. Clarke tied the game on a power-play goal at 8:08 of the third period bringing the sold out crowd to their feet. With patience, Clarke held-on in the right circle and beat Kooy upstairs on the short-side for his sixth of the season. Jack Phibbs and Max Kislinger drew the helpers.
Dellandrea appeared to score the Firebirds go-ahead goal. Durham intercepted a pass in the London zone and quickly sent the puck to Dellandrea who put the shot on net. Kooy made a blocker save and Dellandrea continued to press, picking up the rebound and firing the puck in the net, but it was ruled that the whistle had blown and the goal was disallowed.
Flint hit a goal post later on in the game but there was no further scoring, sending the contest to a three-on-three overtime. In the extra frame, Nicholas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leafs) came close, hitting the goal post and Hunter Holmes also had an excellent scoring chance but the game remained tied, forcing a shootout to decide the winner.
Colella scored the lone goal in the shootout, earning Flint an exciting victory to beat the Knights for the first time in franchise history. Cavallin stopped all three London shooters: Miletic, Pu and Bouchard. The Firebirds became the first team to beat the Knights when trailing after two periods this season, who were 12-0 after leading through two frames.
The Firebirds scored the only power-play goal of the game going 1-for-3 while London failed to score in their lone man-advantage opportunity. Maurizio Colella was the first star and Jalen Smereck was named as the second star. Flint outshot London 46-21.
Next up, the Firebirds travel to Sault Ste. Marie after tonight’s game for a Friday contest at the Essar Centre. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard live on the radio through Flint and Mid-Michigan on US 103.1 FM and worldwide online at www.us103.com. Pre-game coverage with Dominic Hennig begins at 6:30 p.m.
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: Danen Williams / Flint Firebirds
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