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Firebirds Invade Sudbury to Battle Wolves Tonight

Sudbury, Ont – The next stop on Flint’s five-game road is tonight in Sudbury. The Firebirds look to avenge a 4-2 defeat on home ice in the fourth regular-season game back on October 4. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET) at the Sudbury Community Arena.

Flint enters tonight’s tilt with a record of 19-16-2-1, sitting in fourth in the West Division and sixth in the Western Conference. Sudbury ranks fourth in the Central Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 14-18-3-1 mark. The Firebirds have gone 11-7-1-0 on the road this year, while the Wolves are 7-9-2-1 at home.

Tonight’s game is the second of only two meetings between these teams this season and is the only time they’ll meet in Sudbury. Flint’s all-time record versus the Wolves is 6-4-1-0 with a mark of 2-3-0-0 on the road in the series. The Birds look to break a record of 0-5-0-0 against the Central Division this season.

On special teams, the Firebirds are 16th on the power play with a 20.1% conversion rate. Sudbury has scored 21.0% of the time on the man-advantage, good for 14th. When shorthanded, Flint’s killing penalties at a rate of 77.1% which is 12th-best in the league. The Pack ranks 19th on the penalty kill with a 72.7% rate of success.

Players to Watch

Flint Firebirds (19-16-2-1, 4th West Division):

Amadeus Lombardi continues to lead the Firebirds in goals (23), assists (27), and total points (50) through 38 contests. He ranks tenth in goals and is tied for eighth in total points for the OHL. Westland, Mich. native Gavin Hayes has 22 goals for the season plus 16 helpers for 38 points to rank second in scoring. Riley Piercey and defenseman Dmitry Kuzmin are tied for third with 35 points each. Piercey has 12 tallies and 23 helpers for 35 points. Kuzmin has nine goals and 26 assists for 35 points and enters tonight’s contest on a four-game points streak (3 G, 3 A). He has the fourth-most points among league defenders, is tied for the fifth-most assists, and is tied for ninth in goals.

Newcomer Nolan Dann is expected to play in his 100th OHL game tonight after picking up his first point (1 A) in his first game with Flint in Barrie last night.

In goal, Will Cranley has now appeared in 30 games for Flint this season. He’s earned 14 victories and holds a 3.55 goals-against average (GAA) and a .894 save percentage (SV%). Rookie netminder Nathan Day has five wins in 13 appearances. His GAA is 4.76 and he carries a SV% of .837.

NHL: The Firebirds have six players with NHL ties consisting of Will Cranley (St. Louis Blues), Amadeus Lombardi (Detroit Red Wings), Gavin Hayes (Chicago Blackhawks), Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs), Dmitri Kuzmin (Winnipeg Jets), and Artem Guryev (San Jose Sharks). Additionally, Coulson Pitre, Tristan Bertucci, Ethan Hay, and goaltender Nathan Day were listed on the latest NHL Central Scouting’s 2023 Players to Watch List.

Despite Flint playing in just seven OHL seasons thus far, Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina/Detroit), Kole Sherwood (Columbus), Ty Dellandrea (Dallas), Tyler Tucker (St. Louis), and Will Bitten (St. Louis) are five former Firebirds to play in the NHL. Riley Piercey (Detroit) and Gavin Hayes (Chicago) played in NHL preseason contests this year, joining Firebirds’ alumni Ethan Keppen (Vancouver), Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit), and Jalen Smereck (Arizona). In total, the team has produced 24 signed or drafted players into the NHL.

Sudbury Wolves (14-18-3-1, 4th Central Division):

The Wolves are led by sophomore forward David Goyette with 51 points (25 G, 26 A) through 35 games. He’s tied for fifth in goals and ranks seventh in total points. Hamburg, NY native Quentin Musty was the first overall pick in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection and ranks second for Sudbury with 12 tallies and a team-high 36 helpers for 48 points. He’s fifth in the league for assists and eighth for point-per-game average (1.50). Kocha Delic and Landon McCallum are tied with 32 points each to rank third. Delic has 12 goals and 20 assists and McCallum has eight goals with 24 helpers. The defensive unit is topped by Matthew Mania with 21 points (6 G, 15 A).

Between the pipes, both Sudbury Wolves have combined for 11 total games of OHL experience. Rookie Nate Krawchuk was the club’s first-round pick (3rd overall) in the 2022 U-18 Draft and has two career victories in eight appearances. He carries a 4.17 goals-against average (GAA) and a save percentage (SV%) of .873. Overager Kevyn Brassard is also in his first season in the OHL, and now has one victory in three appearances. His GAA stands at 3.28 and his SV% is .895.

NHL: David Goyette (Seattle Kraken) and defender Nolan Collins (Pittsburgh Penguins) are the two Sudbury skaters with NHL ties. Quentin Musty, Matthew Mania, Alex Pharand, and Djibril Toure were also named to the most recent 2023 NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch List.

Notable Sudbury alumni to play in the NHL include Mike Fisher, Nick Foligno, Dave Hunter, Derek MacKenzie, Ethan Moreau, Glen Murray, Sean O’Donnell, Mike Peca, Warren Rychel, Alexei Semenov, Marc Stall, Steve Staios, Pat Verbeek, and Mike Wilson.

Broadcast Coverage:

This 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. Jack Sznewajs will call the play-by-play action on the Firebirds Hockey Network (FHN), starting with the pre-game show at 7:10 p.m. (ET).

The game will be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 469. 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.

All Flint Firebirds’ home and away games throughout the 2022-23 regular season can be watched anywhere in the world online at https://watch.chl.ca/ohl. CHL TV is the league’s new and improved video streaming platform that delivers high-quality live and on-demand coverage of all regular season and playoff games annually. The cost is $7.99 for 24-hour access, $29.99 for monthly access, $119.99 for all-access to the 2022-23 Firebirds and OHL season, or $179.99 for all-access to the entire 2022-23 CHL season.

Next Up: The Firebirds continue the current five-game road trip with a Sunday matinee game versus the Battalion in North Bay on Sunday. Flint’s next home game is Saturday, January 21 when they host the Saginaw Spirit for another installment of the I-75 Divide Cup, presented by Coors Light. Tickets for the January 21 home game are available now from ETIX HERE.

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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