Ottawa, Ont. – Despite trailing by two goals twice in the game, the Flint Firebirds fought back to force overtime and eventually pick up a point in a 4-3 loss to the Ottawa 67’s Sunday evening. The game marked Flint’s third in four days on an eastern conference road-swing. The Firebirds now return home for three games this week, Wed., Oct. 11 at 7 p.m., Sat., Oct 14 at 7 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 15 at 4 p.m.
Ottawa struck first Sunday night when Craeme Clarke found the back-of-the-net on the power-play. Peter Stratis fired a puck off the end-glass thats bounced directly to Tye Felhaber’s stick on the left-side of the goal. Felhaber quickly slid the puck to Clarke on the right-side of the net, who beat Flint’s Garrett Forrest at 2:27 of the opening frame.
Sam Bitten increased the 67’s lead by two. At 8:08, Kevin Bahl put a shot on net from the right-circle that Forrest thought he had possession of. The puck ended up behind-the-goal, Bitten picked it up, dragged it in front and back-handed the puck into an open net. Ottawa led 2-0 after the first period of play but Flint lead in shots 10-7.
Flint’s Maurizio Colella scored his first-of-two on the night at 7:39 of the middle frame on an extra-effort attempt. Hakon Nilsen made a nice play at the right circle to skate by a defender before dishing the puck below the goal-line to Colella. Colella tried to bank the disc off Ottawa netminder’s Olivier Tremblay but was initially denied. Colella jammed at it, shooting twice more while still behind-the-net, with the puck crossing the goal-line. Ryan Moore was also credited with an assist on the play.
Flint outshot Ottawa 20-8 in the second period for a two-period shot-total of 30-15, Flint. Ottawa held on to a 2-1 lead headed into the dressing room after 40 minutes.
A nice heads-up play from Ottawa’s Noel Hoefenmayer (Arizona Coyotes) sent Felhaber on breakaway from the Firebirds’ blue-line in. As a left-handed shot forward, Felhaber skated into the Firebirds’ zone toward the left circle, deked to his backhanded and roofed the puck upstairs past a sprawling Forrest to increase Ottawa’s lead to two at 5:56 of the third period.
The Firebirds would score the next two goals. Colella notched his second-of-the-night at 10:47. While skating up the left-wing, Nick Caamano (Dallas Stars) attempted to center the puck to Moore in front of the Ottawa net, who drew two defenseman to him. The puck bounced off an Ottawa defenseman and remained loose in the slot. Colella stepped into a slapshot that beat Tremblay. Moore picked up his second assist.
Hunter Holmes tied the contest for Flint with 2:45 remaining in the contest on a slapshot from the left-circle. Nicholas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leads) and Moore were awarded the helpers.
Nikita Okhotyuk would score his first-career OHL goal with 15 seconds remaining in overtime earn the 67’s the extra point. Moments before, Caamano fired a puck off the Ottawa cross-bar. Sasha Chmelevski (San Jose Sharks) skated up the right-wing, forcing a 2-on-1. He attempted to toe-drag around a Firebirds’ defenseman but the puck was knocked off his stick and onto the stick of Okhotyuk who scored top-shelf for the game-winning goal.
The Firebirds outshot Ottawa 43-27 and fell to 4-1-1-0 against the 67’s all-time. Flint is now 3-2-1-0 on the season. The Firebirds were unable to convert on four power-play opportunities and were three-for-four on the penalty kill. Flint won 39 face-off’s compared to Ottawa’s 35. Colella was named the game’s second star, scoring twce while adding a plus-one rating and five shots-on-goal. Forrest made 23 saves on 27 Ottawa shots.
Upcoming Home Game:
The Firebirds will return to the Dort Federal Event Center for their second home-game in Flint of the 2017-18 season on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. against the Guelph Storm. The game marks the first of seven “College Nights” this season, featuring $2 beers and $2 hot dogs for all fans in attendance. Additionally, all college students with valid identification will also receive $2 off admission.
Fans can purchase tickets either in-person at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., by calling (810) 744-0580 or online at ticketmaster.com here.
For season ticket information, flex tickets or group outings, contact Dominic Gutierrez at (810) 701-8536 or 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 Hockey Club
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