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Firebirds Host First Preseason Game at Flint Iceland Arena Today vs. the Spitfires

Flint, Mich. – Flint kicked off the 2022 Preseason with a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Spitfires Friday night in Windsor. Now, the stage is set for Game 2 in Flint. Puck drop is set for 4:00 p.m. (ET) at Flint Iceland Arena Sunday.

Newcomer Alex Bradshaw and returning forward Amadeus Lombardi (Detroit Red Wings) found the back of the net for the Birds on Friday. Will Cranley (St. Louis Blues) defended the net, making 32 saves on 37 shots in the tilt. Flint finished 1-for-3 on the power play and killed three of four penalties taken successfully. They also outdrew the Spits 30-23 but were outshot 37 – 31.

Players to Watch:

Matthew Jenken, Flint’s first-round draft pick (17th overall) in the 2022 U-18 Draft was one of two defenders to make their debut in the navy blue and burnt orange sweater Friday. He logged one shot on goal and two penalty minutes and was very active on both ends of the ice. Reed Gee, who was selected in the third round (46th overall) of the 2022 OHL Priority Selection, finished with a +1 rating and made quality defensive plays all game. Second-year defender Luca D’Amato picked up an assist on his pass that sprung Lombardi free, resulting in Flint’s second goal on Friday.

The Firebirds’ young group of forwards Friday night featured four first-timers in Alex Bradshaw, Daks Klinkhammer, Kaden Pitre, and Nathan Aspinall. Bradshaw generated a breakaway chance on Friday and scored off his own rebound to record Flint’s first goal of the 2022 Preseason. Kaden Pitre recorded two shots on goal Friday and is the younger brother of returning winger Coulson, who was originally drafted by Windsor. While Klinkhammer and Aspinall didn’t appear on the scoresheet, they both appeared comfortable playing at the OHL level.

The list of returning second-year players includes two netminders, Ian Michelone and Nathaniel Day. Day dressed as the back-up to Cranley on Friday but didn’t see any ice time in the contest. Flint acquired another goaltender via trade in first-round pick (20th overall, 2021 OHL U18 Draft) Boe Piroski from the Niagara IceDogs on Thursday.

James Petrovski, Tristan Bertucci, and Luca D’Amato are all returning sophomore rearguards who contributed to Flint’s most successful season in franchise history, and are back to patrol the D-zone. Up front, Samuel Assinewai, Ethan Hay, Ty Petrou, and Owen Pitters made their season-two debut Friday and all showed flashes of mid-season form from a year ago.

NHL: The Firebirds now have six players on their roster with NHL ties consisting of Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs), Gavin Hayes (Chicago Blackhawks), Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers), Amadeus Lombardi (Detroit Red Wings), Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg Jets), and Will Cranley (St. Louis Blues).

Despite Flint playing in just six OHL seasons thus far, Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes / Detroit Red Wings), Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars), and Vladislav Kolyachonok (Arizona Coyotes) are four former Firebirds to play regular-season games in the NHL. Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) and Firebirds’ alumni Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks), Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit Red Wings) and Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) have all played in NHL pre-season contests. In total, the team has produced 24 signed or drafted players into the NHL.

Next Up: The Firebirds return to Windsor for one more exhibition tilt versus the Spitfires on Tuesday, September 20 at 7:05. Then they’ll play a pair of games versus the Saginaw Spirit to conclude the 2022 Pre-Season. The first of two contests will be played in Saginaw on Friday, September 23 at 7:05. Flint’s final pre-season tilt will return to Flint Iceland Arena on Saturday, September 24. General Admission tickets are only $10 each and parking is free. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET) on the 24th.

The Flint Firebirds open the 2022-23 season on home ice Saturday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m. against the Niagara IceDogs. Season Memberships are on sale NOW starting as low as $12 per game or $408 for the full season. More information on becoming a 2022-23 season membership holder can be found HERE. Additionally, single-game tickets are on sale NOW. Tickets can be purchased at Etix.com in person at the Dort Financial Center Box Office during regularly scheduled hours, or over the phone by calling 1-800-514-3849.

Story: Brandon Mills / flintfirebirds.com

For more information, contact:

Jack Sznewajs
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
jack@flintfirebirds.com

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