Saginaw, Mich. – The Saginaw Spirit completed the sweep of the season series with the Firebirds Wednesday, skating to a 9 – 2 decision at the Dow Event Center. For the Firebirds, defenseman Riley McCourt scored and now has points in eight of his last nine games. Jake Durham netted his team-leading 33rd of the season. Ethan Keppen extended his point streak to six games, and now has points in 17 of his last 18 games. Both netminders saw ice-time for Flint, with Luke Cavallin starting and making 17 saves on 22 shots. Emanuel Vella finished the game, stopping 24 of 28 shots-faced. Saginaw scored twice on three chances with the man-advantage, and Flint was unable to convert with four power-play opportunities. The Spirit were led by Owen Tippett’s (Florida Panthers) hat-trick.
Saginaw lit the lamp first. Albert Michnac (15) carried right-to-left across the slot before shooting back far-post through traffic. Jake Goldowski and Justin Murray assisted on the game’s first tally, logged at 7:14 of the first period. First-year forward Cole Perfetti (23) extended the Spirit’s lead to two at 12:11, banging home a rebound from the right circle. Blade Jenkins (New York Islanders) and Cole Coskey picked up the helpers.
Riley McCourt (6) put the Firebirds on the board at 15:35 of the opening frame. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) won an offensive zone face-off that was touched by a few players from both clubs before the puck found its way to McCourt at the left point. He carried to the left wall before blasting a heavy shot into traffic that beat netminder Tristan Lennox. Saginaw held the edge in first-period shots 13 – 11.
Saginaw came out on fire after the first intermission, lighting the lamp three times on eight shots in the first 6:08 of the period. The first two were scored off the stick of players acquired mid-season from the Mississauga Steelheads. First, Ryan McLeod (Edmonton Oilers) scored his 17th of the season at 3:14 off a defensive turnover deep in the Firebirds’ zone. The second goal was from Owen Tippett. It was his 25th of the campaign, netted just 14 seconds later. McLeod and Perfetti assisted on Tippett’s marker. Finally, a pass from Blade Jenkins (20) deflected off a Firebirds’ stick and into the net at 6:08, assisted by Damien Giroux (Minnesota Wild) and Murray.
Emanuel Vella replaced Cavallin between the pipes for Flint after Jenkins’ goal, and stopped all nine shots faced in the balance of the frame. The Firebirds were outshot 17 – 8 in the second period for a two-period deficit of 30 – 19.
Then, Tippett (26) put Saginaw in front 6 – 1 on the power play at 2:54 of the third. Bode Wilde (New York Islanders) was credited with the lone assist. Giroux (23) scored the Spirit’s seventh of the contest at 4:55, assisted by Dexter, Mich. native DJ Busdeker and Jenkins. Plymouth, Mich. native Wilde (14) scored on the power play at 9:37 of the third to give Saginaw the 8 – 1 lead. Jenkins and Perfetti gained the assists.
Jake Durham scored the second goal for the Firebirds, making a move around a defender to create a breakaway across the right circle. He lifted a wrister just above Lennox’s left pad and below the glove at 12:44 of the frame. Ethan Keppen earned the lone helper.
Finally, Tippett (27) logged his second hat trick of the season at 13:40, assisted by McLeod and Giroux at 13:40. Final shots favored the Spirit 50 – 33. Face-offs were 37 – 35 to Saginaw’s advantage.
Next Home Game:
The Firebirds return home to the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center for a 7 p.m. tilt next Friday, Feb. 15 against the Oshawa Generals. Friday marks the second-annual ‘Credit Union Night.’ All fans with a credit union debit or credit card (or proof of membership) can buy one ticket and get one ticket free for all price levels at the box office. Friday is also a ‘4 Pack Friday,’ featuring (4) tickets, (4) hot dogs and (4) soft drinks, starting at just $60.
Additionally, Friday is the Firebirds annual ‘Talk Today’ game. The Flint Firebirds, the Ontario Hockey League and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Windsor Essex County Branch are teaming up to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. A CMHA-run kiosk along with McLaren Flint, Genesee Health System and Helping Hand Autism Services will have tables set up to encourage discussion on the arena concourse so fans can learn more about mental health. Pictures featuring Flint Firebirds players promoting the importance of mental health, including public address announcements and video board messages will be played throughout the event.
The Firebirds are accepting deposits for season tickets for the upcoming 2019-20 season. There will be a table set up behind section three beginning this Friday at the Dort Federal Event Center. A $50 deposit secures your seat for next season!
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.
Photo Credit: Eric Young / Saginaw Spirit
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club