Firebirds Entertain Nearly 3,800 Fans to 5-3 Win over Attack
The Firebirds avoided the Attack’s third-period rally, and escaped with a 5-3 win on Flint Generals night sponsored by Shea Automotive. Riley Piercey continued his point streak, extending it to seven games (4 G, 8 A). Tristan Bertucci recorded his third straight multi-point night from the blue line, recording two assists. Kuzmin and Hayes each recorded multiple-point nights as well, both tallying two helpers. Corbin Votary backstopped the Attack, stopping 43 of 48 shots. Nathan Day got the start for the Birds, stopping 33 of 36 shots against en route to his 7th win of the season.
The Firebirds wasted no time getting started in front of a nearly sold-out crowd at the Dort Financial Center. A routine save by Day started the breakout, as Dmitry Kuzmin moved it along to Gavin Hayes on the right side half wall. Hayes hit a streaking Amadeus Lombardi up the middle, and Lombardi did the rest. Lombardi beat the Attack defenseman wide to the left and used his speed to get to and around the net, leading to an inevitable and beautiful wrap-around goal on the forehand. Lombardi’s 30th goal of the season quickly put the Birds in the lead 1-0 just 3:02 into the opening frame.
Chances would go back and forth, with Day and Votary standing tall. Nearing the final minute of play in the first period, the Firebirds won a crucial offensive zone faceoff from the left faceoff dot. Dmitry Kuzmin got the puck on the left of the blue line, hitting Zacharie Giroux for a one-timer from the middle of the stripe. Giroux’s shot was redirected off the stick of Simon Slavicek, beating Votary and granting Slavicek his 7th goal of the season. Slavicek’s goal doubled the Firebirds’ lead heading into the intermission, as they led 2-0 after the first.
The back-and-forth action continued, but the Firebirds found themselves on the powerplay 9:18 into the middle frame. With 49 seconds left on the kill, the Attack got a much-needed zone clear. Firebirds defenseman Tristan Bertucci made a beautiful move to beat a defender in the neutral zone and lead the entry for the Birds. The puck took a bounce and Coulson Pitre batted it down onto his stick and ripped a shot at the net. His initial shot was denied, but the rebound ended up on the stick of over-ger Riley Piercey in the slot. Piercey fired the puck past a sprawling Votary, netting his 17th goal of the season and extending the Flint lead to 3-0 just over halfway into the second period.
With just over five minutes remaining in the period, the Attack found themselves on an offensive attack of their own. A phenomenal defensive play by Chicago Blackhawks prospect Gavin Hayes saw the Owen Sound rush end and one for Flint begin. Forward Nolan Dann picked up the puck off the right side boards and flew down the ice, with Maple Leafs prospect Braeden Kressler on the other side of the ice moving with him. Dann delivered a gorgeous saucer pass over the stick of the diving Attack defenseman, right onto the stick of the Kressler. Kressler ripped a shot past the glove of Votary, and the Birds were firing on all cylinders, leading 4-0 after two periods of play.
The third period did not start the Birds’ way. Just 12 seconds into the period, the Attack won an offensive zone faceoff on the right side, and Attack defenseman Sam Sedley fired a shot on net. Sedley’s shot deflected off forward Deni Goure and trickled past Day, giving Owen Sound some life just seconds into the period.
Just over half a minute later, former Firebird James Pretrovski sent a stretch pass off the far side boards from the defensive zone. His pass took a perfect bounce and found the stick of Minnesota Wild prospect Servac Petrovsky. Petrovsky found himself on a breakaway and finished it off, marking his 19th goal of the season and the Attack’s second goal in 48 seconds.
The Attack kept going after that. Winger Landon Hookey walked out of the right-side corner in the offensive zone and hit his d-man Madden Steen up top. Steen ripped a wrister toward the net and tallied another goal for the Attack. The game started the third as a 4-0 advantage for Flint and now sat as a 4-3 game with 15:17 still to play.
The Attack had momentum on their side, but Flint finally had the answer. After a great save by Votary, the puck ended up back at the point and onto the stick of Flint defenseman Tristan Bertucci. Bertucci fired a shot at the traffic-piled net, where Firebirds forward Ethan Hay won a crucial net-front battle that rewarded him with his 11th goal of the year and gave Flint a multi-goal lead once again, making the game 5-3 at the halfway point of the final frame.
The final shots read 48 from Flint and 36 from Owen Sound. The Attack had the edge on the draw, winning 29 to Flint’s 24. Owen went 0-for-2 with the man advantage while the Firebirds finished 1-for-4 on the night.
Up Next: The Firebirds travel to London, Ontario Monday to face the Western Conference’s second-place Knights at Budweiser Gardens. Then on Wednesday, they return home to host the first-place Windsor Spitfires for a BOGO Wednesday. Buy one ticket and get one FREE of equal or lesser value. Puck drop for Wednesday’s tilt with the Spits is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET), and tickets are available from ETIX HERE.
Photography: Todd Boone / Flint Firebirds
Story: Sean Massa/ flintfirebirds.com
For more information, contact:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club