Erie, Penn. – After playing Wednesday night in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., the Firebirds continue their six-game road trip Friday against the Otters in Erie, Penn. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (ET) at the Erie Insurance Arena (capacity 6,833).
Saturday marks the third of four games between the two clubs and the second of two in Penn. The Otters claimed the victory in Erie in the second regular-season game for the Firebirds earlier this year. Then, on Dec. 1, the Otters scored a late goal with 11 seconds remaining to force overtime. Erie eventually went on to win in overtime at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. Last season, Flint posted 2-1-1-0 record in the series with Erie. All-time the Firebirds are 4-5-3-3 versus the Otters, with an away record of 2-2-1-3. These teams have seven one-goal games between them.
Wednesday night the Firebirds scored twice in a defeat to the Greyhounds in Sault Ste. Marie. Jake Durham and Eric Uba each scored for Flint in the contest. The Otters have been idle since last Saturday’s overtime thriller in Flint. In that meeting, Flint captain Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) scored twice and earned ‘Third-Star’ honors. Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs), Jake Durham and Jack Phibbs also found the back of the net. Five other Flint players contributed on the scoresheet, picking up one or more assists on the night.
On special teams, Flint is 19th in the 20-team OHL on the power-play, scoring on 12.2% of their opportunities. Erie is 14th, converting at 18.1% while on the man-advantage. While shorthanded, the Firebirds are ranked 20th successfully kill penalties at 66.7% while the Otters are 19th at 69.6%.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (3-25-2-0, 5th West Division):
The Firebirds have two players averaging better than a point-per-game this season, both of whom hail from Port Perry, Ontario. Assistant captain Jake Durham holds the edge in goals-scored and total points for Flint. Through 30 games played, Durham has 19 tallies and 12 helpers. He rides a four-game point streak, accruing four goals and four assists in that time. After missing four games due to injury, Dallas Stars’ first-round draft pick Ty Dellandrea has recorded five goals and one assist in four games since returning. For the season, he has 28 points (13G, 15A) in 26 games. Eric Uba continues to produce, now with 12 goals and 10 assists in 30 games. Uba scored one of Flint’s two goals against the Soo on Wednesday.
First-year forward Jacob Winterton leads all first-year players in goals-scored and points, with six tallies and 12 total points in 30 contests.
Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) leads the defensive unit with three goals and 14 assists for 17 points in 26 games-played on the season. First-year defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok has picked up 11 points in 18 games since joining the Firebirds after the season had started.
In net, Emanuel Vella holds a 5.40 goals-against average (GAA) and a .864 save percentage (SAV%) in 21 appearances. Vella has backstopped Flint to one win and one overtime defeat this season. Luke Cavallin has compiled a 5.61 GAA and a .854 SAV% across 17 appearances. He is currently serving a five-game suspension, with Friday marking the fourth game of the penalty. Evan Morrison made nine saves on 13 shots in one pre-season appearance with the Firebirds this year.
NHL: The Firebirds have three players with NHL ties consisting of Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes), Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs). Additionally, five other Firebirds’ players attended NHL Camps this past off-season: Hunter Holmes (Philadelphia Flyers), Riley McCourt (Dallas Stars), Hakon Nilsen (New York Islanders), Connor Roberts (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Emanuel Vella (New York Islanders). In addition, netminder Luke Cavallin, forward Ethan Keppen and defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok were named to November’s NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft.
Erie Otters (11-16-1-0, 5th MidWest Division):
Kyle Maksimovich leads the Otters in offensive production with 35 points (13G, 22A) in 28 contests this year. Gera Poddubny ranks second on the squad with 14 goals and 13 assists through 27 games. Petr Cajka jumped to the third spot on the Otters’ score-sheet after netting his first-career hat trick in Flint last Saturday. He now has 12 goals and nine assists in 28 games.
Jamie Drysdale was the fourth-overall pick in the 2018 OHL Draft and leads all Erie defenseman and first year players in points with two goals and 13 assists in 23 games played this season.
In net, Daniel Murphy has carried a heavy workload, appearing in 23 games this season. He holds a 3.81 goals-against average (GAA) and a save percentage (SAV%) of .876 along with 10 victories. Sunday night, Murphy made 22 saves on 24 shots after relieving first-year netminder Noah Battaglia in the first period. Battaglia has made eight appearances this season, picking up one win and posting a 4.76 GAA along with a SAV% of .831.
NHL: The Otters are currently playing without any active NHL ties on their squad. Forwards Petr Cajka and Emmett Sproule were listed on the November NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft.
Notable Otters’ alumni to play in the NHL are Connor McDavid, Connor Brown, Nikita Alexeev, Brad Boyes, Tim Connoly, Mike Rupp, Steve Montador, Carlo Coliaiacovo, Chris Campoli, Jason Ward and Dylan Strome.
Friday evening’s contest 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 with pre-game coverage beginning 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 6:30 p.m.
The game will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 448 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 Friday’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.
Next Home Game:
After Friday, the Firebirds will play four more games on the road before returning to the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center for a pair of games during the holiday break. The first of the two back-to-back contests is the fourth and final meeting with Erie on Friday, Dec. 28. The following night, the Windsor Spitfires invade Flint for the final home game of the 2018 calendar year.
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