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Firebirds Look to Bounce Back vs. the Spitfires this Afternoon in Windsor

Windsor, Ont. –  The Firebirds travel to Windsor to play the Spitfires in Flint’s third of three-straight games this weekend on Sunday afternoon. They’ll look to avenge Saturday night’s 7-0 defeat at the hands of the Spits on home ice. Puck drop is set for 4:05 p.m. (ET) at the WFCU Centre.

The Firebirds enter Sunday’s contest in fifth place in the West Division with a record of 7-6-0-0. The Spitfires sit third in the West, with a 7-6-0-2 record. On home ice this year, the Spits are 3-4-0-1 compared to Flint’s road record of 3-1-0-0. The Firebirds’ .750 win percentage on the road is tied for tops in the OHL.

Sunday marks the third of eight meetings between these clubs, and the second of four games to be played in Windsor this season. All-time, the Firebirds hold a record of 12-19-1-0 versus Windsor and are 4-11-1-0 at the WFCU Centre. Last season the ‘Birds won three of six games in the series.

These clubs met last night at the Dort Financial Center in Flint, where Windsor won their second consecutive game over the Firebirds this year. Spitfires’ goaltender Matt Tovell was the story of the night, earning a shutout in his first career OHL start. The ‘Birds mustered only 25 shots on Tovell, compared to the 48 shots Ian Michelone faced between the pipes for Flint. In the end, it was a  7-0 victory for Windsor. Kyle McDonald led the Spitfires with a three-point (1 G, 2 A) performance. Will Cuylle (New York Rangers) and rookie Ethan Miedema chipped in a goal and assist each.

On special teams, the Firebirds are converting with the man-advantage at a 13.8% rate, which ranks them 16th in the OHL. Flint converted on both power-play chances versus Erie Friday night but went 0-for-5 last night versus the Spits. Windsor has scored at a success rate of 17.0%, which places them 13th. Flint is killing penalties at an 88.0% clip, ranking them second in the 20-team OHL. The Spitfires’ penalty-kill has shown a success rate of 70.4%, which ranks 20th.

Players to Watch:

Flint Firebirds (7-6-0-0, 5th West Division):
Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) continues to top the stat sheet for Flint with ten goals and six assists for 16 total points through 13 games. Othmann is followed on the stats sheet by a pair of defensemen. Tyler Deline has two goals and eight assists in 13 contests. Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg Jets) has one goal and eight assists through 11 games played. Rookie centerman Coulson Pitre (5 G, 3 A) and Amadeus Lombardi (3 G, 5 A) sit close behind with eight total points.

In net, Luke Cavallin has appeared in 11 games thus far. He carries a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.19. His save percentage (SV%) is .903. Cavallin has earned six wins, with one of them being a shutout. Rookie netminder Ian Michelone played two full games and carries a GAA of 4.00 and a SV% of .901 with one win. Nathaniel Day played the final 18 minutes of a road game in Saginaw and turned aside all four shots faced.

NHL: The Firebirds have three players with NHL ties consisting of Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs), Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg Jets), and Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers). Also, Gavin Hayes was recently named to the 2021 NHL Central Scouting November Players to Watch List. More recently, defenseman Tristan Bertucci and netminder Nathaniel Day were both among the 24 OHL players named to Hockey Canada’s Under-17 roster to participate at the inaugural Capital City Challenge. The Capital City Challenge is a four-team tournament featuring three men’s under-17 teams and Canada’s National Women’s Team to take place November 26 to December 1 at TD Place in Ottawa.

Despite Flint playing in just five OHL seasons thus far, Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes / Detroit Red Wings), Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets), and Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) are three former Firebirds to play 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 21 signed or drafted players into the NHL.

Windsor Spitfires (7-6-0-2, 3rd West Division):

Wyatt Johnston (Dallas Stars) leads the Spits with 18 total points (8 G, 10 A) through 15 games. Kyle McDonald ranks second with 16 points in 15 games, consisting of eight goals and eight assists. Will Cuylle ranks third for Windsor in scoring with ten tallies and five helpers for 15 points in 15 contests.

Defenseman Louka Hanault leads the rearguards with four goals and six assists through 12 games played in total. Ethan Miedema continues to top the freshman class for Windsor with 13 total points (5 G, 8 A).

Detroit, Michigan native Xavier Medina has appeared in nine contests for the Spitfires, earning four victories. The second-year goaltender carries a 3.29 goals-against average (GAA) and a .883 save percentage (SV%). Rookie netminder Kyle Downey has two wins in seven appearances. His GAA sits at 4.35 and he has a .858 SV%. Matt Tovell played his only game last night in Flint and made 25 saves.

NHL: Windsor’s roster features four players with NHL ties, consisting of Will Cuylle (New York Rangers), Wyatt Johnston (Dallas Stars), Pasquale Zito (Detroit Red Wings), and Daniil Sobolev (Montreal Canadians). Additionally, Livonia, Michigan native Ryan Abraham was listed on the 2021 NHL Central Scouting November Players to Watch List.

Notable Windsor alumni to play in the NHL include Ed Jovanovski, Matt Cooke, Cory Stillman, Jason Spezza, Steve Ott, Jason York, Josh Bailey, Tim Gleason, Mike Rupp, Cam Fowler, Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Kyle Wellwood, Eric Wellwood, Todd Warriner, Steve Downie, Jamie Allison, and Ryan Ellis.

Broadcast Coverage:

Sunday afternoon’s contest against the Windsor Spitfires 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). Pregame coverage will begin prior to puck drop at 3:45 p.m. (ET) Saturday afternoon.

The game will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 470 (4470 HD) 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. Also, all Flint Firebirds’ home and away games throughout the 2021-22 regular season can be watched anywhere in the world online on 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 $6.99 for 24-hour access, $24.99 for monthly access, $109.99 for all-access to the 2021-22 Firebirds and OHL season, or $159.99 for all-access to the entire 2021-22 CHL season.

Next Home Game: The Firebirds return to home ice Wednesday night to host their in-state rival, the Saginaw Spirit, in another installment of the I-75 Divide Cup, presented by Coors Light. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET). Tickets are on sale NOW here: ETIX.

Story: Brandon Mills/flintfirebirds.com

For more information, contact:
Jack Sznewajs
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
jack@flintfirebirds.com
(810) 519-9347 ext. 223

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