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Series Swings to Flint for “Orange Out” in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals Wednesday

Flint, Mich. – The Firebirds claimed the victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in Windsor Saturday, before coming up short in Game 2 Monday at the WFCU Centre. The clubs are now deadlocked in the series at 1-1. Games 3 and 4 are on home ice in front of their rowdy Flint fans. Former Detroit Red Wings player and current color commentator, Mickey Redmond, will be joining Jack Sznewajs for Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals for the TV and radio broadcast on the Firebirds Hockey Network (FHN). Puck drop for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET) at the Dort Financial Center.

Flint entered the 2022 playoffs ranked third in the Western Conference and second in the West Division with a regular-season record of 42-21-1-4. The Spitfires made a huge push in the final 15 games, winning 13 in a row and picking up points in 14 of the 15. They ended up winning both the West Division and the Western Conference. Windsor finished the regular season with a 44-17-4-3 record. On home ice this year, Flint posted a record of 18-14-0-2. The Spits’ final road record was 19-10-3-2. All-time, the Firebirds carry a regular-season record of 13-22-1-1 versus Windsor with a home record of 9-9-0-0.

In the 2021-22 regular season, these clubs battled a total of eight times. Windsor won seven of the eight. Flint’s lone victory in the series was back on February 19 on home ice in a shootout. In total, the Spitfires outscored the Firebirds 46-25. Through two rounds of playoffs, the Birds defeated the Owen Sound Attack in seven games followed by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in five. Windsor defeated the Sarnia Sting in six games in Round 1 and then eliminated the Kitchener Rangers in five meetings.

In the eight-game series during the regular season, Wyatt Johnston (Dallas Stars) earned the most points from either side with 18 (6 G, 12 A). Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) topped the stats for Flint with seven goals and five helpers. Tag Bertuzzi and Amadeus Lombardi led the club currently, with two goals and an assist each through the first two games of the series. Matthew Maggio tops the stat sheet for window with three goals, all scored in Monday’s tilt. Will Cuylle and Livonia, Mich. native Ryan Abraham have each scored twice, with Cuylle also picking up an assist. Wyatt Johnston (Dallas Stars) has the most points on the squad with one goal and three helpers.

On special teams, the Firebirds finished the 68-game campaign with the OHL’s top-ranked penalty kill (PK), finding success 84.2% of the time. They rank fifth in the playoffs with an 80.4% efficiency. The Spits ranked second on the PK at 82.6% during the regular campaign, and are now fourth with an 81.6% kill rate in the postseason. Flint ranked 12th in the regular season with the man-advantage, scoring on 19.7% of their chances. Windsor scored 26.1% of the time when they had the extra man, ranking third. In these playoffs, the Birds rank 11th at 17.2% and Windsor ranks 12th, scoring at a 16.4% clip.

Players to Watch

Flint Firebirds (42-21-1-4, 3rd Western Conference):

Through 14 playoff games to date, the Firebirds are led by Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) with eight goals and nine assists for 17 points. Othmann led his troops with 50 goals and 97 total points in the regular season. He’s currently tied for sixth in playoff goals and total points, and he leads the OHL in game-winning tallies (5) in the postseason. Amadeus Lombardi ranks second on the club with 13 points (6 G, 7 A) in 14 games. Lombardi also finished second in the regular season, with 59 points (18 G, 41 A) in 67 games. Rookie forward Gavin Hayes hails from nearby Westland, Mich, and is third in postseason scoring with four goals and seven helpers. Among all OHL rookies, Hayes is one of only two with two power-play tallies in the playoffs, and he’s fourth in goals scored, and second in assists and points.

Behind Hayes is a two-way tie for fourth in total points between rookie Coulson Pitre (6 G, 3 A) and defenseman Dmitry Kuzman (Winnipeg Jets) with nine points each. Pitre has six goals, which are second-most among league rookies, and three assists, whereas Kuzmin’s nine points are all from assisting on playoff goals.

Between the pipes, Luke Cavallin is tied for the third-best save percentage (SV%) in the playoffs at a .928. He has nine wins in 14 postseason appearances and a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.65. He started these playoffs with the league’s seventh-best goals-against average (GAA) of 3.16 and the league’s third-best save percentage (SV%) at .910 through 56 appearances. He earned the most wins in the league and the most in Flint history, ending at 36 victories during the campaign. Nathaniel Day made a brief appearance at the end of Game 2 in Windsor, making five saves on seven shots.

NHL: The Firebirds have four players on their roster with NHL ties consisting of Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks), Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs), Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg Jets), and Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers). Also, Gavin Hayes and Amadeus Lombardi were named to the 2022 NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings.

Windsor Spitfires (44-17-4-3, 1st Western Conference):

The Spitfires are led by Wyatt Johnston (Dallas Stars), who recorded the most points in the regular season (124). Through 13 playoff games this year, he’s scored nine times and assisted on 18 tallies for 27 total points. He ranks first in the postseason for assists and points and sits tied for fourth in goals. Johnston also rides a 10-game points streak (9 G, 14 A) into Wednesday’s tilt. New York Rangers’ prospect Will Cuylle is second on the club with 17 points (8 G, 9 A). He is one of only two players with two shorthanded goals in the postseason and is all alone in the lead for shorthanded points (2 G, 1 A). Cuylle has points (3 G, 6 A) in five-straight games.

Rookie Ryan Abraham (3 G, 6 A), who hails from Livonia, Mich., defensemen Andrew Perrott (5 G, 4 A) and Louka Henault (3 G, 6 A), and fourth-year winger Daniel D’Amico (2 G, 7 A) are in a four-way tie with nine points each. Abraham has the third-most assists and fourth-most points in the league’s freshman class this postseason. Perrot is tied for first among league blue-liners with three power-play goals and his five even-strength markers are second. Henault is tied for fourth among defensemen with his three goals and his nine points, and he rides a five-game points streak (2 G, 5 A) into the Dort Financial Center this evening.

Goaltender Mathias Onuska started his season with the London Knights before joining the Spitfires. He appeared in 26 regular-season season games for Spits, earning 19 victories with a 3.34 goals-against average (GAA) and a save percentage (SV%) of .882. He’s played all 13 playoff games for the club to date, winning nine while posting the league’s third-best postseason GAA of 2.38 and a SV% of .911. Detroit, Mich. native Xavier Medina played in 30 regular-season contests for Windsor this season, picking up 18 wins for the team. He posted a 3.05 GAA and a .891 SV%.

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 Canadiens). Additionally, Matthew Maggio was named to the NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings for 2022.

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:

Wednesday’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), with special guest Mickey Redmond. Redmond played with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL before playing for the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL. After retiring as a player, he joined the Bally Sports Detroit team as a Color Commentator for the Red Wings television broadcasts.  Pregame coverage will begin prior to puck drop at 6:45 p.m. (ET) Wednesday evening.

The game will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 466 (4466 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 playoff games 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, or $59.99 to watch the all of the 2022 OHL playoffs.

Next Up: Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals is scheduled for Friday at the Dort Financial Center in Flint. Puck drop for Game 4 is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET) and tickets are on sale now through ETIX HERE, in person at the Dort Financial Center Box Office, or by calling 1-800-514-3849.

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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