Firebirds Ride 8-Game Home Winning Streak into Season Finale Tonight
Flint, Mich. – The Firebirds host the Owen Sound Attack Saturday for Flint’s final game of the regular season. Both clubs are locked into the playoffs, and Flint’s guaranteed to finish ranked fifth in the Western Conference, facing their in-state rivals from Saginaw in the postseason for the first time ever. The Attack are currently in the eighth and final playoff spot, but with two games remaining could move up with a pair of wins. Puck drop for Attack at Firebirds is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET) this evening at the Dort Financial Center.
At the risk of losing the fifth spot and guaranteeing a postseason series with Saginaw, the Firebirds traveled to Kitchener last night for their final road game of the campaign. Things looked dismal as Flint trailed by three with only three minutes remaining in regulation. Many of the over 7,000 fans were already filing out of ‘The Aud’ when the Birds posted a miraculous comeback, forcing and then winning in an overtime frame 6-5. Amadeus Lombardi scored twice and added three assists in a milestone night for the Detroit Red Wings prospect. His first point moved him into the all-time points leader in Firebirds’ franchise history. He finished the game at 102 points on the season. Riley Piercey (2 G, 1 A) and Gavin Hayes (1 G, 2 A) each had three points in the event, and Nathan Day logged his 17th victory in goal with a 33-save performance.
For the season, the Firebirds sit fourth in the West Division and fifth in the ten-team Western Conference with a record of 35-27-4-1. Owen Sound is fourth in the Midwest Division and eighth in the Western Conference with a mark of 31-28-6-1. Flint has won nine of their last ten games and eight straight at home. Owen Sound has two wins in their past ten contests and are winless in their past four. On home ice the Firebirds’ record sits at 18-12-2-1 with the Bears 14-16-1-1 on the road.
Tonight marks the fourth and final meeting between these organizations this season and is the second of two scheduled in Flint. Flint won 5-3 on home ice on February 4 and then claimed another victory on the road 4-2 on February 11. Most recently, it was the Bears who skated to a 4-3 win over Flint in Owen Sound on March 15. Flint’s all-time record versus the Attack stands at 9-18-0-0, with 12 of those tilts being settled by a single goal. In home games, they’ve gone 5-8-0-0 in the series.
On special teams, the Firebirds have converted on 20.4% of their power-play chances this season, ranking them 14th in the OHL. Owen Sound has the 17th-best power play overall at 19.7%. While shorthanded, the Birds are eighth-best with a 78.4% success rate. Flint is just one shorthanded goal shy of the club record for a single season at 16. The Attack are killing penalties 76.7% of the time, the league’s 13th best.
The season finale is “Fan Appreciation Night!” as the Firebirds’ organization pays tribute to the best fans in the OHL. There will be tons of giveaways, prizes, promotions and much MORE! Additionally, one lucky fan will walk away with a 65-inch TV and a free playoff subscription for OHL Live on CHL TV. Tickets for tonight’s tilt are going fast and fans are encouraged to get their tickets ahead of time at Etix.com HERE or at the Dort Financial Center Box Office.
Players to Watch
Flint Firebirds (35-27-4-1, 4th West Division):
Amadeus Lombardi has 45 goals and 57 assists for 102 total points, making him the single-season leader in both points and assists in Flint’s franchise history. Lombardi also ranks third in the OHL in total points and sixth in both goals and assists. Gavin Hayes ranks second on the team with 41 tallies and 40 helpers. He’s tied for the ninth most goals in the league. Hayes rides a six-game point streak (10 G, 5 A) into the final game of the season. Riley Piercey is third with 70 points (22 G, 48 A). He’s earned six points (3 G, 3 A) in the last three games.
Veteran goaltender Will Cranley has appeared in 43 contests and now has 18 victories. He’s posted a 3.84 GAA with a .884 save percentage SV%. Rookie netminder Nathan Day has 17 victories in 32 appearances and carries a 3.91 goals-against average (GAA) with a .874 save percentage (SV%).
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 NHL Central Scouting’s 2023 Midterm Rankings for the upcoming NHL Draft.
Through seven OHL seasons thus far, Alex Nedeljkovic (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). The team has produced 25 signed or drafted players into the NHL.
Owen Sound Attack (31-28-6-1, 4th Midwest Division):
Colby Barlow tops the Bears in scoring this season with 46 goals and 33 assists for 79 total points in 59 games. Cedrick Guindon ranks second with 67 points (21 G, 45 A) through 66 contests. Deni Goure is third and now has 65 points in only 59 tilts, stemming from 30 tallies and 35 helpers.
Overage netminder Nick Chenard has appeared in 34 games this season, picking up 13 victories and posting a 3.95 goals-against average (GAA) with a save percentage (SV%) of .873. Corbin Votary has appeared in 29 games, earning 11 wins and posting a 3.71 GAA with a SV% of .884.
NHL: The Attack have three players with NHL ties, consisting of Cedrick Guindon (Montreal Canadiens), Servac Petrovsky (Minnesota Wild), and Kaleb Lawrence (Los Angeles Kings). Colby Barlow and former Firebirds’ defender James Petrovski were also named to the NHL Central Scouting’s 2023 Midseason Rankings. Barlow is the highest-ranked OHL skater on the list and is currently ranked tenth among all draft-eligible skaters in North America.
The list of notable Owen Sound alumni to play in the NHL includes Sean Avery, Wayne Simmonds, Mark Giordano, Bobby Ryan, Kirk Maltby, Josh Bailey, Joel Ward, Wayne Primeau, Brad Richardson, Andrej Sekera, Trevor Lewis, Andrew Shaw, Cody Ceci, Brian McGrattan, Kevin Weekes, Nick Suzuki, and Paul Bissonnette.
This evening’s contest against the Owen Sound Attack 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 before puck drop at 6:40 p.m. (ET) this evening.
The game will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 469 (4469 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 2022-23 playoffs 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 $5.99 for a one-day pass or $44.97 to get all of the OHL’s Playoff games this year.
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 HERE. Postseason tickets are ON SALE NOW at ETIX.COM HERE or at the Dort Financial Center Box Office which opens at noon as well.
Story: Brandon Mills / flintfirebirds.com
For more information, contact:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club