Flint, Mich. – After scoring the first goal of the game and leading 11-0 in shots, the Firebirds surrendered two power-play goals in the opening frame leading to a 5-4 defeat to the Oshawa Generals at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center Friday night. The Firebirds scored once on eight chances with the man-advantage, but allowed three goals on three power-play opportunities for Oshawa. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) scored twice for Flint, including a goal inside the final minute of regulation to pull his troops within one. Kyle Harris and Vladislav Kolyachonok also lit the lamp for the Firebirds. Between the pipes, Luke Cavallin made 20 saves on 25 shots. For the Generals, first-year netminder Aidan Hughes played a strong game, making several highlight-reel saves on Flint’s scoring opportunities.
The Firebirds came out with a high level of energy, controlling play for the vast majority of the opening 10 minutes. Shots-on goal favored Flint 11 – 0 at the midway point of the opening frame. During that span, Flint captain Ty Dellandrea lit the lamp for his 18th of the season at 4:11. Jake Durham dished the initial pass from the right circle to Eric Uba in the slot. Uba made the turnaround pass that set up Dellandrea for quick wrister off Aidan Hughe’s left shoulder and into the net.
Then, Flint took back-to-back penalties to give Oshawa a 5-on-3 power-play. Oshawa capitalized twice with the man-advantage, first Kyle MacLean scored his 16th of the campaign on a rebound from the doorstep at 11:20, assisted Giovanni Vallati (Winnipeg Jets) and Brett Neumann. During the ensuing five-on-four man-advantage, Neumann scored his 36th of the season on a bomb from the right circle shortside. Tyler Tullio and Danil Antropov drew the assists on the goal, scored at 12:10. Shots on goal after the first period finished at 16 – 7 in favor of the Firebirds.
At 14:51 of the middle frame, the Generals extended their lead to two. Anthony Salinitri (Philadelphia Flyers) made a pass from the left circle to Serron Noel (Florida Panthers) in the right circle. Noel made a move across the slot before lifting a backhander blocker-side past Cavallin. The goal was Noel’s 30th of the season, assisted by Salinitri and Allan McShane (Montreal Canadiens).
The Firebirds fought back, pulling within a single goal before the second intermission. On the power-play, Jack Wismer made a drop-pass to Vladislov Kolyachonok at the left point. The defenseman blasted a howitzer on net that found twine farside past Hughes’ glove. The goal was Kolyachonok’s fourth of the season, scored at 18:47. Evan Vierling picked up the second helper on the tally. Second period shots were even at 12 per side.
An unfortunate bounce off a defender’s skate in front of Cavallin resulted in the third power-play goal for Oshawa. Nando Eggenberger was credited with his 19th of the season at 6:40 of the third, assisted by Vallati and Tullio. Just under a minute later, Neumann scored his second of the night on a breakaway, blockerside, assisted by Antropov and Nicolas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leafs).
Then, Flint would score two-unanswered to bring the game within one. First, Hunter Holmes won a battle along the left half-boards in the offensive zone to hit Kyle Harris in stride as he crossed the blue line. Harris carried between the circles before lifting a short wrister that beat Hughes blocker-side. Holmes and Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes) assisted on Harris’ sixth of the campaign, scored at 13:53.
With just under one minute to play and Cavallin pulled to the bench, Ty Dellandrea carried coast-to-coast and wristed his second of the nigh, farside, just inside the left post, unassisted. There were a few more opportunities for Flint in the Oshawa zone, but Aiden Hughes stood strong between the pipes, holding on for the General’s 5 – 4 victory.
Final shots-on-goal were 37 – 25 to the Firebirds’ advantage. Flint also won the majority of face-offs, claiming 37 compared to Oshawa’s 29.
Next Home Game:
Get tropical with the Firebirds Saturday, Feb. 16 when the club takes the ice for the forth-annual “Flint Tropics Night.” Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (ET) against the Owen Sound Attack.
Inspired by the movie “Semi-Pro” starring Will Ferrell, the Firebirds will be wearing special themed jerseys, pants and socks throughout the game that are sure to impress everyone in attendance. Immediately following the game, there will be a live jersey auction, giving fans an opportunity to take home the game-worn Flint Tropics jersey of their choice. Proceeds will be donated to the Firebirds Charitable Foundation which benefits local youth organizations throughout Flint, Genesee County and Mid-Michigan. Special video clips from the movie Semi Pro, tropical themed music, Flint Tropics merchandise and many more fun and entertaining elements will take place throughout the night.
Photo Credit: Todd Boone / Flint Firebirds
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club