Flint, Mich. – After earning a road victory Friday night in London, the Firebirds are back in action on home-ice Saturday against the Ottawa 67’s. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (ET) at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center.
On paper, Flint and Ottawa have very similar winning records. Both teams enter the contest with an overall record of 13-6-0-0. That places the 67’s in third place in the East Division and fourth place in the 10-team Eastern Conference. For the Firebirds, their record ranks them first in the West Division and first in the 10-team Western Conference. In road games this season Ottawa holds a record of 8-3-0-0 compared to Flint’s home record of 8-2-0-0. In their past 10 games, both clubs have a record of 7-3-0-0.
Saturday marks the first of two meetings between the clubs this season, and the only meeting in Flint. All-time, the Firebirds hold a record of 4-3-1-0 in the series. In home games, the ‘Birds have a record of 3-1-0-0 versus the 67’s. Two of Flint’s three wins on home ice were settled in overtime. Last season, Ottawa swept the two-game series en-route to finishing first-place overall in the OHL’s regular season.t
The ‘Birds played a milestone game in London Friday night, earning their first-ever victory in front of more than 9,000 fans at a sold-out Budweiser Gardens. Luke Cavallin played a stellar in net, stopping 35 of London’s 36 shots to earn his fifth win in just his eighth appearance. Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes), Jack Phibbs, Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and Jake Durham each lit the lamp once for Flint and Evgeniy Oksentyuk scored twice plus picked up an assist to earn ‘First Star’ honors in the triumph. The 67’s most recently played Thursday evening in Saginaw where they skated to a 4 – 3 defeat to the Spirit.
On special teams, the 67’s now rank second on the power play, scoring on 30.8% of their opportunities. Flint has scored on 13.3% of their chances with the man-advantage. Ottawa has the league’s fourth-best overall penalty kill (PK), shutting the opposition down 81.0% of the time. The Firebirds are killing penalties at a 77.3% clip, which ranks 10th in the OHL. Flint has not allowed a power-play goal in 8 of their last 10 games. On home ice, the ‘Birds have the OHL’s second-ranked PK at 87.5%.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (13-6-0-0, 1st Western Conference):
Three Firebirds are on point streaks heading into Friday night’s game: Jack Phibbs is on a five-game point streak (2G, 3A), and both Jake Durham (2G, 3A) and Cody Morgan (2G, 2A) are on four-game point streaks. Durham logged one goal and one assist Friday night, first tying and then passing Nick Caamano for the third-most points in Firebirds’ franchise history.
Evgeniy Oksentyuk leads the ‘Birds on the scoresheet with 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points through 19 games-played. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) has lit the lamp eight times and picked up 12 assists through 17 contests. He is the Firebirds’ all-time leader in assists (96) and points (166), but now needs only two more goals to tie for the lead in goals-scored, which currently sits at 72 from Ryan Moore. Jake Durham’s points-total ranks third on the roster. He has 10 goals and eight assists for 18 points in 19 games.
Defenseman Riley McCourt leads all blue-liners on the club with 16 points. His six goals are tied for fifth-most among all OHL rearguards. Vladislav Kolyachonok (Florida Panthers) ranks second among Flint’s blue-liners with 12 total points (4G, 8A) through 19 games. Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes) is tied for the fifth-best plus/minus rating among OHL rearguards at +12.
The freshman class is led by Brennan Othmann with nine points (5G, 4A) in 12 games-played. Othmann, along with fellow first-year forward Braeden Kressler, spent the last couple weeks representing Canada at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Between the pipes, Anthony Popovich has played in 12 games this season. His eight victories are tied for fifth-most in the OHL. He carries a save-percentage (SAV%) of .902 and a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.37. Luke Cavallin now has five wins in eight appearances, and he carries a 3.56 GAA with a .901 SAV%.
NHL: The Firebirds have four players with NHL ties consisting of Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes), Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars), Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks), and Vladislav Kolyachonok (Florida Panthers). In addition, Evan Vierling was named to November’s 2020 NHL Central Scouting ‘Players to Watch’ list.
Ottawa 67’s (13-6-0-0, 4th Eastern Conference):
Defenseman Noel Hoefenmayer (Arizona Coyotes) leads the 67’s and all OHL rearguards in points, with seven goals and 21 assists in 19 games-played. His 21 total assists are tied for second among defensemen in the league, as are his 11 power-play helpers. Marco Rossi ranks second on the club with 28 points (6G, 22A) in only 14 games-played. Austen Keating sits third in points with ten goals and 17 assists in 19 games.
Yanic Crete (2G, 1A) and Jack Matier (0G, 3A) are tied for the lead among the first-year players on the team.
Between the pipes, goaltender Cedric Andree has appeared in 15 contests. He carries the OHL’s second-best goals-against average (GAA) at 2.58 and the second-best save-percentage (SAV%) at .913. Andree’s nine victories are tied for the fourth-most in the league, and he is in a small group of goalies with a shutout on the season. Rookie netminder Will Cranley has played in six games, earning four wins along with a 3.78 GAA and a SAV% of .835.
NHL: Ottawa’s roster features five players with NHL ties Mitchell Hoelscher (New Jersey Devils), Graeme Clarke (New Jersey Devils), Nikita Okhotyuk (New Jersey Devils), Noel Hoefenmayer (Arizona Coyotes) and Kevin Bahl (Arizona Coyotes). In addition, Marco Rossi, Jack Quinn and goaltender Will Cranley were named to November’s 2020 NHL Central Scouting ‘Players to Watch’ list.
Ottawa alumni to play in the NHL include Gary Roberts, Kris Draper, Brian Campbell, Bobby Smith, Denis Potvin, Doug Wilson, Andrew Cassels, Shean Donovan, Doug Crossman, Randy Cunneyworth, Michael Peca, Chris Simon, Petr Mrazek, and Darren Pang.
Saturday evening’s contest against the Ottawa 67’s 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. Firebirds’ broadcaster Dominic Hennig will call the play-by-play action on the Firebirds Hockey Network (FHN). Pregame coverage will begin 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 6:30 p.m. New this season, fans can watch the FHN TV Pregame Show live on Facebook and Twitter, also beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday’s game will also be televised live throughout the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 468 for both Cogeco TV cable subscribers and Rogers 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. Along with Saturday’s game, 64 of the Firebirds’ 68 games throughout the 2019-20 season are also scheduled to be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak.
All Flint Firebirds home and away games throughout the 2019-20 season can be watched anywhere in the world online on www.ohllive.com or on the OHL Live app. OHL Live is a league 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 per game, $69.99 for Flint Firebirds away games only, $149.99 for all 68 home and away Firebirds games and $179.99 for all 1,360 OHL games throughout the 2019-20 season.
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club