Flint, Mich. – The Firebirds (7-3-0-0) continued their best start in franchise history Saturday, posting a 6-3 victory over the North Bay Battalion to improve to 4-0-0-0 in Flint, remaining one of only two teams left in the OHL undefeated on home ice.
Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) had a three-point night to extend his point-streak to seven games, Jack Wismer scored twice and Emmet Pierce, Jake Durham, Evgeniy Oksentyuk all had a two-point night. Between the pipes, Luke Cavallin made 42 saves on 45 shots for his second win of the season.
In a tight defensive battle, both teams were scoreless in the opening frame. The Troops had the advantage in shots-on-goal 15 – 9. Neither club was able to convert on one chance with the man-advantage.
The teams traded a pair of goals in the second period. Wismer scored his first of the season over the left shoulder from between the circles at 10:22, assisted by Jack Phibbs and Emmet Pierce. Struthers scored his first of the evening to knot the score just one minute twenty-five seconds later. He backhanded the puck five-hole past netminder Christian Cicigoi from point-blank range. The goal was his sixth of the season, assisted by Kyle Jackson.
Wismer scored his second of the game off a rebound in front at the 14:12 mark. Riley McCourt took the initial slapshot from the left point. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) deflected the puck in front, and took a second shot at his own rebound. Wismer pounced on the second rebound in front and found the back of the net under Cicigoi.
Second-period shots were even at 18 per side. North Bay had one power-play opportunity and Flint was up a man twice, but neither club converted on special teams.
Jake Durham broke the tie 3:22 into the third period, scoring his team-leading seventh goal of the season. He was involved in a physical battle in front of the net and was able to get position and redirect a rebound back in the net. Emmet Pierce and Connor Roberts earned the assists.
Evgeniy Oksentyuk scored his fourth of the campaign on a wide-angle shot from along the goal line at the far-left wall. The puck deflected off the Battalion netminder’s left skate and into the net. Owen Lalonde earned the lone assist, which was his third point in three games as a Firebird.
Dellandrea extended his point streak to seven games by scoring his fifth of the season at 15:08. Jake Durham made a backhand pass from the left side of the North Bay goal to set Dellandrea up for the one-timer in the slot.
Kyle Jackson scored for the Battalion with 2:49 remaining in regulation. Paul Christopoulos was credited with the lone assist on Jackson’s second of the season.
Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks) finished off the scoring in the contest, picking up his third of the season 14 seconds later. Cody Morgan made the set-up pass from the left corner and Braeden Kressler earned the second assist.
Final shots on goal were 45 – 42 in favor of the visiting Battalion. Both teams finished without a power-play goal on three chances. Luke Cavallin was named ‘Third Star’ for his performance between the pipes, and Jack Wismer the game’s ‘First Star.’ Matthew Struthers was named ‘Second Star’ for his two tallies.
Next up for Flint, the Firebirds are on home ice to host the Sudbury Wolves this Friday, Oct. 25 for Pucks & Paws Night.
Photo Credit: Todd Boone & Emma Phillips / Flint Firebirds
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Flint Firebirds Hockey Club