Buffalo, NY – Connor Roberts recorded a four-point night and CJ Clarke added three points en-route to a 5-2 victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs Friday in the first of three games at the OHL Pre-Season Showcase at the HarborCenter in Buffalo, NY.
The Firebirds started the scoring off 1:03 into the contest when Nikita Alexandrov stepped-up in the neutral zone to intercept a pass. Alexandrov head-manned the puck to Roberts for a breakaway who went forehand, backhand and scored blockerside.
CJ Clarke would score a shorthanded goal at 12:04 of the first period. Clarke picked up a loose puck in front of the Hamilton net and held on with patience to bury blockerside past Nick Donofrio.
23 seconds later, Hamilton’s Logan Morrison fired a puck past Emanuel Vella from the slot off the right post to earn the Bulldogs their first goal of the game. Flint led 2-1 after the first 20 minutes of pre-season action.
Roberts would his second of the night and the eventual game-winning goal at 9:55 of the second period, using a burst of speed around a Bulldog defender on the left-wing wall before lighting-the-lamp off the backhand. Hamilton struck quickly again nine seconds later when Dylan D’Agostino poked redirected the puck into the goal while crashing the net.
The Firebirds led 3-2 after two periods with shots favoring Hamilton 18-15.
Roberts would complete the hat-trick after Hakon Nilsen found him in the slot from the left corner before Roberts buried gloveside 2:30 into the final frame. C.J. Clarke would chip in the last goal of the contest intercepting a pass at the top of the right circle and scored on a snapshot over the right shoulder.
Flint outshot Hamilton in the last two periods to finish with a 26-22 advantage. Vella made 20 saves on 22 shots.
The Firebirds will be back in action Saturday, Sep. 1 when the club faces the Erie Otters. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the Buffalo Sabres practice facility, the HarborCenter. Radio pre-game coverage can be heard live on US 103.1 FM in Mid-Michigan and online at www.us103.com.
Photo Credit: Hickling Images
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club