Barrie, Ont. – The Firebirds will play their third of three consecutive road games Saturday night in Barrie. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at the Barrie Molson Centre (capacity 4,195).
Saturday marks the eighth all-time meeting between the two clubs where Flint holds a record of 0-7-0-0 against the Colts since 2015. The Firebirds are 0-3-0-0 in away games in the series. Saturday is also the final meeting this season and the only contest in Barrie.
The Firebirds scored their first power-play goal of the season when they hosted the Colts in October for the only prior meeting this season. They led 3-2 after two periods but the Barrie Colts rallied back with four third-period goals to post a 6-4 victory. Kyle Harris picked up the special-teams tally for his first of the season. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) earned a goal and an assist in the contest and Jake Durham also found twine. Ryan Suzuki led the Colts with a goal and two assists.
Barrie enters the contest with a season record of 21-26-2-1. They sit fifth in the Central Division and ninth in the 10-team Eastern Conference. They’ve won two of their past 10 games, and picked up points in three-of-ten. The Firebirds are fifth in the West Division and 10th in the Western Conference.
On special teams, the Colts rank 14th in the OHL on the power play, scoring 18.8% of the time. The Firebirds are 19th converting at a 14.1% clip with the man-advantage. Barrie ranks ninth on the penalty-kill, shutting down the opposition 79.1% of the time. The Firebirds are killing penalties at a rate of 70.3%, which is 19th-best in the OHL.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (9-41-4-0, 5th West Division):
Second-year forward Ethan Keppen has been among the top in the league offensively, now with six goals in the past four games. He has picked up points in 15 of his last 16 contests. Overall, he ranks third on the squad with 45 points (23G, 22A) through 54 games-played. Firebirds’ captain Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) leads Flint in assists (36) and points (53) through 47 games. Alternate captain Jake Durham leads Flint in goals (31) and is second on the Firebirds’ roster with 49 points in 54 games. Since Dec. 16, Jack Wismer has tallied 20 points (10G, 10A) in 20 games.
On the back end, second-year defenseman Riley McCourt has played in 36 games this season, and tops the defensive troops in goals-scored with five. He has 26 total points for the campaign, and is riding a seven-game point streak (7A) into Saturday’s contest. McCourt ranks 14th among OHL defensemen averaging 0.72 points-per-game. First-year rearguard Vladislav Kolyachonok also has 25 points (3G, 22A) for the season, topping all first-year players through 40 games-played.
In net, overage goaltender Emanuel Vella holds a 4.92 goals-against average (GAA) and a .873 save percentage (SAV%) across 33 appearances. Second-year goaltender Luke Cavallin has a 5.41 GAA and a .862 SAV% after appearing in 29 contests. Vella and Cavallin each have four wins between the pipes.
NHL: The Firebirds have two players with NHL ties consisting of Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes) and Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars). In addition, Luke Cavallin, Kyle Harris, Ethan Keppen, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Eric Uba, Cody Morgan, Emmet Pierce and Jacob Winterton are eight first-time eligible skaters for the upcoming NHL Draft in June. Cavallin, Keppen, Kolyachonok and Uba were among the 50 OHL Players in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft.
Despite Flint playing in just their fourth season in the OHL, Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes) and Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) are two former Firebirds to play in the NHL. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit Red Wings) have played in NHL pre-season contests.
Barrie Colts (21-26-2-1, 5th Central Division):
Ryan Suzuki leads the Colts in offensive production this season, scoring 17 goals and earning 34 assists through 47 games-played. Suzuki is the highest ranked North American forward (#10) according the NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft. Matej Pekar (Bufallo Sabers) ranks second on the squad with 14 tallies and 22 helpers through 33 contests. Rearguard Tyler Tucker (St. Louis Blues) sits third in total points with 35 (8G, 27A) through 50 contests.
Barrie’s first-year players are led by Tyson Foerster, who has four goals and nine assists through 46 games. The Colts’ roster also features two Michigan natives. Dalton Duhart hails from Grand Blanc, Mich. and began his OHL career with the London Knights. Dalton’s father Jim remains a household name among fans of the long-tenured Flint Generals, where he solidified the role of enforcer. Defenseman Christopher Cameron is a native of Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich, a suburb of Detroit.
Between the Pipes: The Colts’ netminder Kai Edmonds has appeared in 22 contests, posting a 3.08 goals-against average (GAA) and a save-percentage (SAV%) of .903. He has eight wins and one shutout in the campaign. First-year goaltender Jet Greaves has played in 17 games this season, earning five wins and posting a 2.89 GAA with a .922 SAV%. Greaves is the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week stopping 100 shots in two games last week in back-to-back 50-save efforts.
NHL: Barrie has two players with NHL ties, consisting of Tyler Tucker (St. Louis Blues) and Matej Pekar (Buffalo Sabers). In addition to Suzuki, defenders Nathan Allensen and Jack York were also among the 50 OHL Players in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft.
Notable Colts’ alumni to play in the NHL include Dan Girardi, Marin Skoula, Alex Pietrangelo, T.J. Brodie, Mike Weber, Aaron Ekblad, Dalton Prout, Andreas Athanasiou, Brian Lashoff and Dan LaCosta.
Saturday evening’s contest against the Barrie Colts 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.
In addition, the game will be televised life in Barrie on channel 10 / 510 (HD) for Rogers TV cable subscribers. It will also be televised province-wide throughout Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 447 for both Rogers TV and 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 Saturday’s game, 65 of the Firebirds’ 68 games throughout the 2018-19 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 2018-19 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 2018-19 season.
Photo Credit: Jason F. Voll
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club