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Preview: Firebirds & Spitfires face-off in Windsor Thursday

Todd Boone
Flint Firebirds at Windsor Spitfires
Date | Time Thursday, Mar. 14 | 7:05 p.m.
Location Windsor, Ont. | WFCU Centre (capacity 6,450)
Tickets Online | (519) 254-5000
TV – Cogeco TV channel 11 / 700 HD Live (Windsor)
– OHL Action Pak: Rogers TV 447 & Cogeco TV 447 Live (Ontario)
Video Stream OHL Live
Radio WQUS 103.1 FM (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 6:30p
Radio (Mobile) US 103 App: Android | iPhone/iPad
Live Stats Here
Next Home Game Saturday vs. Sarnia: (Promotions)
Social Media @FlintFirebirds   | Facebook  | Instagram 

Windsor, Ont. – The Firebirds will play their final three games of the 2018-19 season this weekend, beginning with a tilt against the Windsor Spitfires on the road Thursday night. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. at the WFCU Centre in Windsor (capacity 6,450).

The Firebirds have earned seven out of a possible 10 points in their past five games. Thursday marks the sixth and final meeting between the two clubs this season, and the third of three games in Windsor. The Firebirds have won all three home games this year, but surrendered both road games. All-time, Flint is 8-14-1-0 versus the ‘Spits and are 2-8-1-0 at the WFCU Centre. In 23 total meetings since the ‘Birds inception into the OHL at the start of the 2015-16 season, 14 games have been decided by two goals or fewer. Eight games have been decided by a single goal.

The Firebirds hosted the Spitfires Saturday night and posted a 4-1 victory at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. Former Spitfires’ forward Cody Morgan tallied the game-winning goal and an assist in the contest. Emmet Pierce, Hunter Holmes and Ethan Keppen also scored for the Firebirds. Between the pipes, Luke Cavallin earned his seventh win of the season with 36 saves on 37 shots. Cavallin was the game’s ‘First-Star,’ with Morgan and Pierce earning second and third star honors, respectively. First-year forward Will Cuylle scored the lone goal for Windsor.

Windsor enters Thursday’s contest with a record of 25-33-5-3, ranking them fourth in the West Division and eighth in the 10-team Western Conference. The top eight teams from each conference make the playoffs, and Windsor is one point behind the Sarnia Sting for 7th place, and two points ahead of the Erie Otters in ninth. The Spit’s have won three of their past 10 games, and picked up points in five of 10. The Birds have won four of their past 10, and picked up points in six games during that stretch. Flint’s record stands at 14-45-6-0, ranking fifth in the West Division and 10th in Western Conference.

On special teams, the Spitfires rank 17th on the power play, scoring on 18.0% of their opportunities. Flint has scored on 15.1% of their chances with the man-advantage, which is 19th in the OHL. Windsor has the league’s seventh-best penalty kill, shutting the opposition down 80.1% of the time. The Firebirds are killing penalties at a 69.8%.

 

Players to Watch:

Flint Firebirds (14-45-6-0, 5th West Division):
Flint captain Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) leads all Firebirds in offensive production. He has 60 total points (21G, 39A) in 57 contests. Jake Durham and Ethan Keppen are tied for second, each with 56 points in 65 games. Keppen has 28 goals and 28 assists and enters Thursday’s contest on a four-game point streak. Keppen has points in 23 of his past 27 games, totaling 31 points in that time. Jake Durham holds the team-lead in goals-scored with 35 tallies on the season.

Riley McCourt leads the blue-liners with six goals and now has 32 points in 47 games. Vladislav Kolyachonok leads all first-year players for the Firebirds with 29 total points (4G, 25A) through 51 games-played. In the OHL, Kolyachonok ranks 13th among all first-year skaters in point total, and is second among the freshmen rearguards.

Second-year netminder Luke Cavallin has won his last three consecutive starts, including Saturday’s victory over Windsor at the Dort Federal Event Center. He now has seven victories for the season, and carries a 5.27 goals-against average (GAA) and a .863 save percentage (SAV%) through 35 contests. Emanuel Vella holds a 4.78 goals-against average (GAA) and a .878 save percentage (SAV%) with six wins in 40 appearances.

NHL: The Firebirds have two players with NHL ties consisting of Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes) and Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars). In addition, Luke Cavallin, Kyle Harris, Ethan Keppen, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Eric Uba, Cody Morgan, Emmet Pierce and Jacob Winterton are eight first-time eligible skaters for the upcoming NHL Draft in June. Cavallin, Keppen, Kolyachonok and Uba were among the 50 OHL Players in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings ‘Players to Watch’ list for the upcoming NHL Draft.

Despite Flint playing in just their fourth season in the OHL, Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes) and Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) are two former Firebirds to play in the NHL. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars), Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit Red Wings) and Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) have played in NHL pre-season contests.

Windsor Spitfires (25-33-5-3, 4th West Division):
Third-year forward Cole Purboo leads the Spit’s with 55 points (29G, 26A) through 66 games-played and is on a four-game point streak. Curtis Douglas (Dallas Stars) is second with 22 goals and 50 total points in 64 contests. Jean-Luc Foudy, younger brother of London’s Liam Foudy, tops the freshmen class for the Spitfires and ranks third overall with 6 goals and 41 assists in 61 games. Will Cuylle has 41 points (26G, 15A) in 61 games and enters Thursday’s contest on a three-game point streak.

Connor Corcoran (Vegas Golden Knights) leads the rearguards with 31 points (9G, 22A).

Between the pipes, netminder Colton Incze has nine wins in 31 appearances. He carries a 3.41 goals-against average (GAA) and a save-percentage (SAV%) of .892. First-year goaltender Kari Piiroinen has a 4.43 GAA and a .870 SAV% in 25 appearances.

NHL: The Spitfires have two players with NHL ties, consisting of Curtis Douglas (Dallas Stars) and Connor Corcoran (Vegas Golden Knights). In addition, defenseman Lev Starikov and netminder Kari Piiroinen were named to November’s NHL Central Scouting’s North American ‘Players to Watch’ list.

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, Todd Warriner, Steve Downie, Jamie Allison, Ryan Ellis and Firebirds’ head coach Eric Wellwood.

 

Broadcast Coverage:
Thursday evening’s contest 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. Dominic Hennig will call the play-by-play action and Gary Patterson will provide color commentary on the Flint Firebirds Hockey Radio Network. Pregame coverage will begin 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday’s game will also be televised live in Windsor on YourTV channel 11 / 700 (HD) for Cogeco TV cable subscribers. Additionally, the game will be televised live throughout the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 447 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 Thursday’s game, 65 of the Firebirds’ 68 games throughout the 2018-19 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 2018-19 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, $179.99 for all 68 home and away Firebirds games and $279.99 for all 1,360 OHL games throughout the 2018-19 season.

 

Next Home Game:
The Flint Firebirds final home game of the 2018-19 season is this Saturday night at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (EDT) against the Sarnia Sting for the Firebirds’ annual ‘Fan Appreciation Night’ and post-game player autograph session. Also, Hockey Hall of Famer Willie O’Ree, who is credited with being the first black player to play in the NHL will be in attendance Saturday night (Watch Video).

O’Ree’s 22-year pro career included two seasons with the Boston Bruins. He played two games in 1957-58 and 43 in 1960-61, earning a total of four goals, four assists and 26 penalty minutes. He had five 30-goal seasons in the minors and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018 as a builder of the sport.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Firebirds want to say thank you for another great season of Firebirds’ Hockey. There will be many free giveaways on tap including the Firebirds team picture to the first 2,500 fans through the doors, compliments of Commercial Graphics. Fans can stay after the game to meet-and-greet the Firebirds’ players during a post-game autograph session in the lobby.

Additionally, fans will have the opportunity to take home Dort Federal Credit Union thundersticks and foam pucks, 277 Firebirds’ players ‘Big Heads’ compliments of Landaal Packaging Systems, 1,000 lanyards compliments of PFCU, fan appreciation scratch-offs and many more giveaways!

Also, in special appreciation of Firebirds’ season ticket holders, for every paid season ticket, they will receive one complimentary ticket of equal value to bring a friend for Saturday night’s game.

Single game tickets for all Firebirds games are $12 / Bronze, $16 / Silver, $20 / Gold and $26 / 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 Event Center Box Office or online at ticketmaster.com here.

Early bird ticket packages for the Flint Firebirds’ 2019-20 OHL season are on sale now. A $50 deposit reserves your seat for next season! The special early bird price deadline is Tuesday, April 30th and fans can secure their seats for next season at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday. For additional pricing and ticket information, fans can call the box office at (810) 744-0580 or email mary@dorteventcenter.com.

Photo Credit: Todd Boone / Flint Firebirds Hockey Club

 

For more information:

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

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