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Preview: #10 Firebirds look to continue their winning-ways Friday in Sarnia

#10 Flint Firebirds (10-3-0-0) at Sarnia Sting (5-8-0-0)
Date | Time Friday, Nov. 1 | 7:05 p.m.
Location Sarnia, Ont. | Progressive Auto Sales Arena (capacity 5,500)
Tickets Online | (519) 541-1717 ext. 1
TV – Cogeco TV channel 6 / 700 HD Live (Sarnia)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV 468 & Cogeco TV 468 Live (Ontario)
– Broadcast Coverage
Video Stream OHL Live
Radio None (1-of-5 conflicts on 68-game schedule)
Radio (Mobile) None (1-of-5 conflicts on 68-game schedule)
Live Stats Here
Social Media @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook | Instagram

Sarnia, Ont. – The Flint Firebirds will visit the Sting for the first time this season for a Friday night West Division battle. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET) at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena (cap. 5,300) in Sarnia.

Flint enters Friday’s contest on a five-game winning streak, which is a new franchise record. Overall, Flint holds a record of 10-3-0-0 for the season, which is their best start ever. In road games, the firebirds are 4-3-0-0. Flint’s win percentage of .769 is the highest in the Western Conference and the second-highest in the OHL. Also, for the first time in franchise history, the Firebirds are internationally ranked. The ‘Birds are listed at #10 in the CHL Top-10 Rankings, presented by Kia. The weekly rankings of the Canadian Hockey League’s (CHL) Top-10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

Friday night marks the second of eight regular-season meetings between these clubs this campaign, and the first of four games in Sarnia. All-time, Flint holds a record of 15-16-2-0 in games against the Sting. In away games, the ‘Birds are 4-11-1-0 in the series. Last season Flint finished with an overall record of 3-4-1-0 versus the Sting. Eight games between these teams have been decided by a single goal.

After starting the season 0-7-0-0, the Sting have won 5 of their last six games.

The last time these teams met was September 29, when Flint skated to an 8 – 5 victory at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. That night, sophomore forward Evan Vierling had a three-point night (1G, 2A) to clinch the game’s ‘First Star’ honors. Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks) scored twice, including a short-handed tally and was named the ‘Third Star’ of the night. Luke Cavallin made 35 saves on 40 shots to earn a win in his first start of the campaign.

On special teams this season, the Firebirds are killing penalties at a rate of 71.4%, which is 17th-best in the OHL. Sarnia’s penalty-killers rank 16th at 71.7% efficiency through. With the man-advantage, the Sting are the OHL’s best team, scoring at a 31.4% clip. Flint converts at a rate of 13.5% on the power play.

 

Players to Watch:

Flint Firebirds (10-3-0-0, 1st Western Conference):
Evgeniy Oksentyuk continues to lead the way for Flint with six goals and a team-leading 11 assists for 17 points through 13 contests. Ty Dellandrea has played in 11 games with Flint this season, racking up seven goals and eight helpers for 15 total points. Jake Durham leads the ‘Birds in goals with eight, plus has five assists through 13 contests.

Defenseman Riley McCourt is averaging a point per game with four goals and nine assists in 13 games-played. His 13 total points are tied for ninth-most among rearguards in the league, and his 1.00 points-per-game average paces him in the OHL’s top-10 defensemen. Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes) is tied for the third-best plus/minus rating at +13.

Between the pipes, Anthony Popovich has played in nine games this season. His seven victories are tied for third-most in the OHL. He also ranks fifth among goaltenders with five or more starts with a save-percentage (SAV%) of .911, and his goals-against average (GAA) of 3.06 ranks inside the top ten. Luke Cavallin now has wins in three of four games, and he carries a 4.00 GAA with a .893 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 the 2020 NHL Central Scouting ‘Players to Watch’ list.

Sarnia Sting (5-8-0-0, 10th Western Conference):
Sean Josling leads the Sting on the stat sheet with 27 points through 13 games-played. His 27 points are tied for third-most in the league, his 17 assists are tied for fifth, and his ten goals are tied for tenth. Ryan Roth has 18 total points (7G, 11A) in 14 games played. His three game-winning goals are tied for second-most in the league. Jamieson Rees (Carolina Hurricanes) has only played in seven games with Sarnia this season, but already has eight goals and eight helpers. Rees’ three insurance goals are tied for the most in the OHL.

The Sarnia rearguards are led by Eric Hjorth who has four goals and eight assists through 13 contests. Hjorth’s points and goals rank inside the top ten among defensemen. Ryan Mast is a first-year blue-liner who’s six assists equal the most points by a rookie on the club.

The Sting announced the addition of netminder Jordan Kooy (Vegas Golden Knights) via a trade with the London Knights earlier this week. Kooy has appeared in five contests this season and posted a 4.65 goals-against average (GAA) with a save-percentage (SAV%) of .842. Second-year netminder Ethan Langevin has played in ten games for the Sting this season. He holds a 5.36 GAA along with a .852 SAV%. Last season Langevin posted 18 victories in 43 appearances with Sarnia. Rookie goaltender Benjamin Gaudreau has made four appearances, posting three victories along with a 4.02 GAA and a SAV% of .902.

NHL: The Sting have four players with NHL ties, including Grosse Pointe, Mich. native Mitch Eliot (Vancouver Canucks), Ryan McGregor (Toronto Maple Leafs), Jamieson Rees (Carolina Hurricanes) and Jordan Kooy (Vegas Golden Knights).

13 notable Sting’s alumni to play in the NHL are Reid Boucher, Eric Boulton, Daniel Carcillo, Jakob Chychrun, Alex Galchenyuk, Matt Martin, Connor Murphy, Dalton Prout, Brett Ritchie, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Spooner, Nail Yakupov and Pavel Zacha.

 

Broadcast Coverage:
Friday evening’s contest against the Sarnia Sting is 1-of-5 conflicts on the 68-game season that will not have radio coverage.

The game will be televised live in Sarnia on channel 6 / 700 (HD) for Cogeco TV cable subscribers and across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 469 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. Along with Friday’s game, 65 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.

 

Next Home Game:
The Flint Firebirds (10-3-0-0 overall | 6-0-0-0 at home) return home this Saturday afternoon for the club’s ‘Grandparent’s Day!’ Puck drop is set for 3 p.m. (ET) at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Flint.

Grandparent’s day features up to two free kids’ tickets (17 & under) with the purchase of a paid grandparent’s ticket at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office.

Fans will be able to see at least eight players that are already drafted and/or signed in the NHL. The Flint Firebirds have four players with NHL ties including first-round NHL pick Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars), Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes), Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks) and Vladislav Kolyachonok (Florida Panthers). The Barrie Colts have six players with NHL ties including first-round NHL pick Ryan Suzuki (Carolina Hurricanes), Matthew Hill (Anaheim Ducks), Matej Pekar (Buffalo Sabres), Nicholas Porco (Dallas Stars), Arthurs Silovs (Vancouver Canucks) and Tyler Tucket (St. Louis Blues).

Single game tickets for all Firebirds games are $12 for Bronze, $16 for Silver, $20 for Gold and $26 for VIP seating (Seating Chart). All seats are reserved / assigned seating. Fans can purchase tickets by calling (810) 744-0580, in-person at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center Box Office or online at ticketmaster.com here.

 

For more information:

Dominic Hennig
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
dominic@flintfirebirds.com
(810) 519-9347

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