Flint, Mich. – The Firebirds surrendered a 6 – 1 deficit to the visiting Kingston Frontenacs in front of more than 3,500 fans at the Dort Federal Event Center Saturday night. Kingston’s Shane Wright recorded his first-career OHL hat trick to earn Kingston’s record for goals scored in a rookie season. Wright added an assist to finish off a four-point night to tie NHL superstar Connor McDavid’s (Edmonton Oilers) rookie points-total in 10 less games. Kingston-region native Emmet Pierce scored the lone tally for Flint. Anthony Popovich started his eighth-consecutive game in net and made 14 saves on 19 shots before rookie netminder Peyton Grainer made his OHL debut midway through the second period. Grainer made six saves on seven shots in the relief effort. Visiting goaltender Ryan Dugas finished with 43 saves on 44 shots to earn his 10th victory of the season.
The Frontenacs were first to find twine, with Shane Wright setting a new franchise record for goals-scored by a Kingston rookie. Martin Chromiak carried up the right-wing side with Wright pacing to his left, creating a two-on-one break against a lone Flint defender. Rather than pass across, Chromiak hit the third man in, Zayde Wisdom. Wisdom immediately fed Wright at the bottom of the left circle for a quick one-timer that snuck behind Popovich for his 37th of the season at 3:32.
A minute and a half later on the power play, Wright received a pass from Jakob Brahaney at the top of the right circle. He turned and sniped a laser top-shelf, near-side at 5:04, assisted by Brahaney and Chromiak.
Kingston scored twice on six first-period shots, and were one-for-one on the power-play. Flint was scoreless on 14 shots and unable to convert with two chances on the man-advantage. Faceoffs were 12 – 11 in favor of the visitors, as well.
At the 1:32 mark of the middle frame, Wright completed a natural hat-trick (three unan. Wisdom forced a turnover in the neutral zone and he and Wright immediately turned up-ice on a two-on-two. Wisdom got the puck cross-ice to Wright in the right circle, and he lifted a mid-height wrister far-side, just over Popovich’s glove.
The visitors went up 4 – 0 at the midway point of the game on a one-timer from the top of the right circle by Chromiak. The goal was his 12th of the campaign, logged at 10:00 and assisted by Dustin Hutton and Dawson Baker. Less than a minute later, Wisdom scored his 28th of the season from the slot. Wright drew both Flint defenders and fed the wide-open Wisdom, who’s one-timer found paydirt through the five-hole. Peyton Grainer entered the game in a relief effort between the pipes, seeing his first OHL ice-time since being called up last week from the Belle Tire AAA Major Midget Hockey Club.
The Firebirds found the scoreboard at 16:40 of the middle frame. Emmet Pierce carried from right to left in front of netminder Ryan Dugas. Pierce showed patience and waited for a commitment from the goalie before lifting a backhander far-side for his sixth of season at 16:40. Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes) and Tyler Deline combined for the assists.
Both clubs generated 14 shots-on-goal in the second period, giving the Birds the 28 – 20 advantage through 40 minutes. Faceoffs were knotted up at 24 per side and Flint was scoreless in two power-play chances.
Justin Pringle capped off the scoring with his third of the season at 18:34 of the third, assisted by Vitali Pinchuk. Final shots were 44 – 26 in Flint’s favor. Kingston won 37 of 69 draws and went one-for-one with man-advantage in the game. The Firebirds were scoreless with six power-play chances.
Next up for Flint, the Firebirds will host the Owen Sound Attack this Wednesday at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (ET).
Photo Credit: Todd Boone / Flint Firebirds
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