Flint, Mich. – The Saginaw Spirit utilized two power-play goals to skate away with a 4-2 victory over the Flint Firebirds in game three of the I-75 Divide Cup, sponsored by Coors Light Wednesday night. Ethan Keppen lit-the-lamp in the contest, Durham extended his point-streak to seven games by scoring his eighth goal in five contests and Ty Dellandrea picked up an assist, extending his point-streak to 11 games. Between-the-pipes, Luke Cavallin stopped 34 of 38 shots.
The Spirit scored the first two goals of the game, first at 5:25 of the opening frame. On the game’s first power play, Mason Millman set up the play with a pass to Bode Wilde (New York Islanders) at the left wall. Wilde fired a slapper that was saved by netminder Luke Cavallin. The rebound settled in the slot and Nicholas Porco knocked it in for his team-leading 10th goal of the season. Blade Jenkins (New York Islanders) scored the second Saginaw goal to extend their lead to two from the slot at 12:04 after receiving a nice pass from Aiden Prueter. Bode Wilde picked up the second assist.
With the referee’s arm in the air for a delayed penalty, Cavallin skated to the bench to earn Flint an extra attacker in the Spirit zone. Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) kept the puck away from the defense to create time and space, then sent a point-to-point pass to Marcus Gretz on the left wall. Gretz fired a shot that was initially deflected by Keppen on net before he one-handed the puck off the right post and in for his seventh of the season from the doorstep with 5:42 remaining in the first period.
Saginaw reclaimed the two-goal lead less than one minute into the middle frame. With the man-advantage, Cole Perfetti sent a snap shot from just inside the blue line through heavy traffic between the circles. It made its way through and into the top corner of the net, glove side. Damien Giroux (Minnesota Wild) and Millman were credited with the helpers. The goal was Perfetti’s ninth of the campaign, logged at 54 seconds.
Then, red-hot Jake Durham lit-the-lamp on a Firebirds’ power-play, scoring his team-leading 11th of the season at 14:01 of the second period. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) rifled a pass from the right point to Hunter Holmes below the right-wing circle. Holmes sent a tape-to-tape pass across the crease to Durham, who one-timed it past netminder Ivan Prosvetov (Arizona Coyotes), back door.
After 40 minutes, the ‘Birds trailed 3-2. Shots in the second were 12-10 in Flint’s favor, but Saginaw held the two-period advantage 31-20.
At 2:23 of the final frame, Jenkins entered the Firebirds’ zone and criss-crossed with a teammate before letting a blast goal from the top of the left circle, over Cavallin’s left shoulder. DJ Busdeker earned the lone assist on the play.
Saginaw took a late minor penalty. Flint called a timeout and pulled Cavallin to the bench with over three minutes to play, for a 6-on-4 man-advantage in the Spirit zone. Saginaw killed the penalty, but Flint kept their net empty. The Firebirds managed quality shots on goal with a few scoring chances, but Saginaw held on for the win.
Next up for Flint, the Firebirds will travel to Guelph for a road tilt this Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Sleeman Centre. The game will be televised live in Guelph on Rogers TV channel 20 / 510 (HD) and across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 448 for both Rogers TV and Cogeco TV cable subscribers. Additionally, the game can be heard live on the radio throughout Flint & Mid-Michigan on US 103.1 FM and around the world online at www.us103.com beginning at 7 p.m.
Next Home Game:
The Firebirds will return home to the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center next Wednesday, Nov. 21, when the club hosts the Kitchener Rangers for another ‘Winning Wednesday.’ 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 more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club