Firebirds Drop Finale in Front of Sold Out Crowd, Eye Game 1 Thursday Night in Saginaw

Flint, Mich. – The Firebirds concluded their 2022-23 regular season with a tough 6-4 decision in favor of the visiting Owen Sound Attack. Matthew Jenken was named the game’s ‘First Star’ after netting his first OHL goal and picking up an assist in the contest. Coulson Pitre and Artem Guryev also finished a goal and an assist each. Two overagers started in goal for the clubs, with Will Cranley in net for Flint and Nick Chenard donning the pads for the Attack. Chenard earned his 14th win with 32 saves on 36 shots, and Cranley posted 31 saves in the final regular-season game of his OHL career.

A turnover in Flint’s end turned into the scoring play that gave Owen Sound the early lead. Former Firebirds’ defender James Petrovski tee’d up and released a wrister from the left point that slipped through a screen for his third of the season at 5:36. Matthew Papais and Thomas Chafe assisted on the first tally of the night.

The Firebirds answered with back-to-back goals less than three minutes apart. First, it was Coulson Pitre grabbing his own rebound to the left of the Attack goal and lifting over Chenard’s right pad for his 25th of the year at 14:05. The lone assist was credited to Blake Smith. Then at 16:53, the younger Pitre brother received a pass from his elder sibling as he crossed the blue line and carried to the inner edge of the left circle before wristing his seventh of the campaign. Kaden Pitre’s marker was logged at 17:09, assisted by Coulson Pitre and Matthew Jenken.

The Attack would find twine twice more before the end of the opening frame to reclaim the lead before intermission. Just beyond the 17-minute mark Thomas Chafe emerged on a breakaway from the blue line in on Cranley. From between the hash marks he snapped a quick shot low to the glove side for his fourth of the season at 17:09. The assists went to Antonio Tersigni and James Petrovski. Then Landen Hookey forced a turnover at the Flint blue line and sent the puck around the boards behind Cranley. Deni Goure won the foot race to it and returned the feed to Hookey for a one-timer at the right hash marks. It went in for Hookey’s 14th of the campaign at 18:24.

After 20 minutes of play, the Birds trailed 3-2 on the scoreboard and 18-8 on the shot clock. They won six of 16 draws in the first period.

The Attack extended their lead to a pair at 11:43 of the middle frame. Servac Petrovsky slapped the puck from the center point down low. It deflected off the equipment of a diving Flint defender and went over Cranley’s right shoulder, giving Petrovsky his 24th of the season. Sam Sedley and Cedrick Guindon picked up the helpers on the marker.

Flint trailed 4-2 after 40 minutes of play. Second-period shots ended in a 12-10 advantage for the Firebirds. Owen Sound scored once on two power-play opportunities while preventing Flint’s power-play unit from having an opportunity in either of the first two periods.

After a spirited scrap brought the capacity crowd to a frenzy the Firebirds went on a power play. It was Owen Sound, however, who struck paydirt shorthanded. Servac Petrovsky cleared the zone from deep in their own end, launching it the full length of the ice. Deni Goure won the foot race to the puck, which caromed off the kickplate to Cranley’s left. Goure poked it between the pads for his 31st at 6:11.

The Firebirds showed no signs of letting up, once again closing the gap at 10:37. Nathan Aspinall sent a laser of a pass from the left-wing half-boards to a wide-open Guryev on the far side of the slot for a quick one-timer behind Chenard for his seventh of the campaign.

Cranley was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker with just north of a minute remaining in regulation. While Flint generated a few shots in the waning seconds, the Attack found the empty net with ten seconds to go, finalizing the 6-4 victory for the visitors.

Final shots ended at 37-36 in favor of the visitors from Owen Sound. They also outdrew Flint by a margin of 33-28 across 60 minutes. Both squads had three power-play opportunities, but the lone goal came from the Attack in the center stanza.

Next Up: The playoffs will begin next week. Game one of the First Round will be played between the Firebirds and Spirit at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw on Thursday. Three games of the initial best-of-seven series will be played at the Dort Financial Center. The full playoff schedule is available HEREPostseason tickets are ON SALE NOW at ETIX.COM HERE or at the Dort Financial Center Box Office which opens at noon as well.

Photography: Todd Boone / Flint Firebirds

Story: Brandon Mills /

For more information, contact:

Jack Sznewajs
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club

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