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Firebirds Set for Battle with 1st-Place Battalion This Afternoon

North Bay, Ont. – The next stop on Flint’s five-game road is this afternoon in North Bay against the Battalion. The Firebirds haven’t faced off with North Bay since Dec 8, 2019. Puck drop is set for 2:00 p.m. (ET) at the North Bay Memorial Gardens.

Flint enters tonight’s tilt with a record of 19-17-2-1, sitting in fourth in the West Division and sixth in the Western Conference. North Bay leads the Central Division and ranks second in the Eastern Conference with a 28-10-0-1 mark. The Battalion have the OHL’s best record on home ice at 14-2-0-1 and are riding a five-game winning streak into today’s tilt. The Birds are 11-8-1-0 on the road this season having dropped four in a row.

Tonight’s game is the first of two meetings between these teams this season and is the only time they’ll meet in North Bay. Flint’s all-time record versus the Battalion is 3-5-1-1 with a mark of 1-2-1-1 on the road in the series. The Birds are currently winless in six contests against Central Division foes this season.

On special teams, the Firebirds are 16th on the power play with a 20.1% conversion rate. North Bay has scored 19.9% of the time on the man-advantage, good for 18th. When shorthanded, Flint’s killing penalties at a rate of 78.0% which is 11th-best in the league. The Battalion ranks first on the penalty kill with an 87.1% success rate overall and an even better 91.0% in home games.

Players to Watch

Flint Firebirds (19-17-2-1, 4th West Division):

Amadeus Lombardi tops the stats for Flint with 51 total points, which are tied for eighth-most in the league. He and teammate Gavin Hayes are tied for the tenth-most goals on the season with 23 a piece. Hayes ranks second for the club with 39 total points to date. Defenseman Dmitry Kuzmin sits third with nine goals and 28 assists for 37 total points. He ranks fourth among all OHL defensemen for points and assists, and his nine tallies are tied for the eighth-most.

Forward Zacharie Giroux has a five-game point streak currently, having scored three goals and added four assists in that span. Giroux and defender Tyler Deline are the only two current Flint players who suited up against North Bay the last time these teams played. Deline is presently tied for the tenth-most points among defenders in the league with 28.

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 14 appearances. His GAA is 4.78 and he carries a SV% of .841.

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, Blake Smith, and goaltender Nathan Day were listed on the latest NHL Central Scouting’s 2023 Midseason Rankings.

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.

North Bay Battalion (28-10-0-1, 1st Central Division):

North Bay is led by Matvey Petrov with 15 goals and 38 assists on the season. Petrov ranks fourth in the league in points, assists, and power-play assists (15), and his +25 rating is fifth-best in the league for +/-. Kyle Jackson ranks second for the club with a team-leading 24 tallies plus 28 helpers for 52 points. He’s currently tied for the sixth-most points and the eighth-most goals in the OHL. Defender Ty Nelson is third with 47 points, stemming from 12 goals and 35 assists. His 35 assists are second among league rearguards and his 12 markers are tied for third.

Between the pipes, Dominic DiVincentiis has played in 27 games. His 21 victories are the most of any OHL netminder, and he carries the league’s best goals-against average (GAA) at 2.49 plus the third-best save percentage (SV%) at .908%. Rookie goaltender Charlie Robertson has appeared in 13 contests and is credited with seven wins. He holds a 3.28 GAA and a .885 SV%.

NHL: North Bay’s roster has nine players with NHL ties, including forwards Justin Ertel (Dallas Stars), Liam Arnsby (Florida Panthers), Josh Bloom (Buffalo Sabres), Matvey Petrov (Edmonton Oilers), Kyle Jackson (Seattle Kraken), and Pasquale Zito (Detroit Red Wings). Tnias Mathurin (Detroit Red Wings) and Ty Nelson (Seattle Kraken) are the two defensemen with NHL ties, in addition to goaltender Dom DiVincentiis (Winnipeg Jets). Anthony Romani, Wyatt Kennedy, and goaltender Charlie Robertson were also named to the 2023 NHL Central Scouting’s Midseason Rankings.

Three notable North Bay Battalion alumni to play in the NHL are Michael Amadio, Barclay Goodrow and Nick Paul. Dating back to the Brampton Battalion, seven notable alums to play in the NHL are Brent Burns, Sam Carrick, Matt Duchene, Thomas McCollum, Jason Spezza, Raffi Torres and Wojtek Wolski.

Broadcast Coverage:

This afternoon’s contest against the North Bay Battilion 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 1:40 p.m. (ET).

The game will be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 467. 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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