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 Flint Firebirds

Birds and Battalion Set to Battle on Saturday

February 24, 2024 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Flint Firebirds News Release


FLINT, Mich. - The Firebirds enter Saturday night on home ice having played a string of tight games as of late; their last three home games all were decided by one goal. Flint had won back-to-back games on home ice before falling to the Brantford Bulldogs on Friday and had a five-game winning streak prior to a loss in Saginaw on Wednesday. Now having lost back-to-back, the Firebirds look to get back to their winning ways as they host the North Bay Battalion for a Saturday night battle. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Dort Financial Center.

LAST TIME OUT: The Firebirds erased a two-goal deficit in the third period last night against the East Division's top team, the Brantford Bulldogs. The 2-2 tie held until Florian Xhekaj crashed the net and potted the game-winner with 1:41 left in the game. Tristan Bertucci scored, marking his 100th OHL point. Jimmy Lombardi also scored and now has points in three straight. Nathan Day recorded 18 saves on 21 shots in the defeat.

SERIES HISTORY: Saturday's game is the second of two annual regular-season meetings between the Firebirds and Battalion and is the lone meeting in Flint. The Birds came up short by a final score of 6-4 at the North Bay Memorial Gardens back on October 22. Their all-time record versus the Troops stands at 4-7-1-1 and is an even 3-3-0-0 at the Dort Financial Center.

SCOUTING THE BATTALION: (29-18-6-2, 2nd Central Division) -

Third-year winger Anthony Romani leads the Battalion in goals (45) and total points (88) for the season and he ranks second in the OHL in both categories. Dalyn Wakely has the most assists on the team with 49, which is tied for sixth-most in the league. He ranks second on the team and eighth among all skaters with 77 points for the season. Owen Van Steensel is third with 30 goals and 36 assists.

Between the pipes, Dom DiVincentiis has 18 wins including one shutout through 33 contests. The Winnipeg Jets prospect has appeared in over 100 OHL games in his career and he carries a 3.30 goals-against average and an .889 save percentage for this campaign. Rookie goaltender Mike McIvor rides a 3.79 GAA with an .878 SV% and has six wins across 13 appearances.

The Troops rank 14th on the power play, scoring at a 19.4% clip. The penalty kill is sixth-best, succeeding at a pace of 81.6%.

SCOUTING THE FIREBIRDS: (24-27-3-1, 3rd West Division):

Oliver Peer remains the leader in goals (31), assists (34), and points (65). Since becoming a Firebird he has scored nine times and picked up nine helpers for 18 points in 17 games. Nolan Dann is second with 23 tallies and 30 helpers for 53 total points. Coulson Pitre is third with 22 goals and 23 assists for 45 points.

Nathan Day has 20 wins through 46 appearances this season. His goals-against average is 3.78 with an .865 save percentage. Rookie Jacob Brown carries a 4.19 GAA and an .855 SV% with four wins through 12 games.

The Firebirds rank 17th on the power play with a 17.7% rate of success. The penalty kill sits 12th in the OHL, shutting down the opposition 78.0% of the time.

ODDS & ENDS: Flint's remaining regular season schedule features nine home games and four road games... The Birds hold a mark of 6-3-0-0 versus opponents from the Central Division this year... Still holding onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Firebirds are a point back of Erie in seventh and five points behind Owen Sound in sixth and six points behind Guelph in fifth.

PROMOTIONS: Saturday's game is Healthcare Heroes Night, sponsored by Sovita Credit Union. All healthcare employees can receive a FREE ticket at the Dort Financial Center Box Office Window with proof of employment.

BROADCAST COVERAGE: This evening's game against the North Bay Battalion 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. Brian Gardner will call the play-by-play action on the Firebirds Hockey Network starting with the pregame show at 6:45 p.m.

All of the Flint Firebirds home and away games throughout the 2023-24 season can be watched anywhere in the world online at https://watch.chl.ca/ohl. Tonight's game will also be televised nationally on the NHL Network.

COMING UP: The Firebirds head to Windsor for the first leg of a home-and-away series with the Spitfires on Thursday. Both clubs return to Flint on Friday for game two at the Dort Financial Center. The game is themed Autism Awareness Night, sponsored by Genesee Health Systems, and will feature lowered volume and slightly dimmed lighting. Puck drop for Friday's contest is set for 7:00 p.m. and all other tickets are available now from ETIX.com.


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