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'Birds Beat Battalion

October 20, 2019 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - North Bay Battalion News Release

FLINT, Mich. - Jack Wismer scored two goals to pace the Flint Firebirds to a 6-3 victory over the North Bay Battalion in an Ontario Hockey League game Saturday night.

Ty Dellandrea had one goal and two assists and Jake Durham and Evgeniy Oksentyuk each contributed one goal and one assist. Ethan Keppan also scored for Flint, which moved its won-lost-extended record to 7-3-0 for 14 points, third in the West Division. Goaltender Luke Cavallin provided 42 saves before a crowd recorded as 3,400 at the Dort Federal Event Center.

Flint, which won 4-3 in overtime Friday night over the host Kitchener Rangers, is 4-0-0 at home. The only other OHL team still unbeaten at home is the Peterborough Petes, at 1-0-0.

Matthew Struthers scored two goals, while Kyle Jackson had one goal and one assist for North Bay. Goaltender Christian Cicigoi made 36 saves for the Battalion, 3-8-0 for six points and fifth place in the Central Division.

The Troops, who lost 9-1 to the Saginaw Spirit on Friday night, complete a three-game road trip against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at 2:07 p.m. Sunday.

The Battalion, which was hard-pressed to generate shots at Saginaw, produced a season-high 45 against Flint, bettering the 37 it had in a 5-4 home-ice loss Oct. 10 to the Oshawa Generals. Eighteen second-period shots topped the 17 in the first period of the Oshawa game, the previous high in that category.

After the teams battled to a 2-2 tie through 40 minutes, Durham broke the deadlock with his team-leading seventh goal of the season at 3:22 of the third period, tucking home the puck at the left post. Oksentyuk netted the eventual winner at 7:51, banking the puck from behind the goal line off Cicigoi's skate from the left wing, and Dellandrea converted from the slot at 15:08.

Jackson drilled a pass from Paul Christopoulos past Cavallin's blocker at 18:11. Brad Chenier also assisted on Jackson's second goal. Keppen struck back 14 seconds later, beating Cicigoi low to the glove side from the left-wing circle.

Wismer opened the scoring at 10:22 of the second period when his high wrister eluded the screened Cicigoi, and Struthers responded at 11:47, taking a Jackson pass and driving to the net, where he slipped a backhander between Cavallin's pads. Mitchell Russell drew the second assist.

Wismer put Flint back in front at 14:12, banging home the puck from a goalmouth scramble, and Struthers connected 1:05 later, finishing a two-on-one rush with decoy Chenier by ripping a drive over Cavallin's glove from the right circle for a team-high seventh goal. Brandon Coe had the lone assist.

Luke Moncada broke in alone on Cavallin in the sixth minute of the period but fired the puck off the side of the net. Cicigoi foiled Oksentyuk in the 14th minute, Coe tested Cavallin off the left wing in the 18th and Flint's Riley McCourt hit the post in the final seconds.

Each team enjoyed a power play in the scoreless first period, in which the Battalion held a 15-9 edge in shots.

Cicigoi was busy early, denying Dellandrea in the first minute and stopping a good chance for Oksentyuk at the left post in the third. Oksentyuk drove to the net in the 12th minute, and Cicigoi turned away Brennan Othmann and Dennis Busby on the power play. Keppan rang the puck off the crossbar in the 16th minute.

The game at Sault Ste. Marie can be seen live on YourTV Channels 12 and 700 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.

BATTALION BULLETS: The Battalion has an all-time won-lost-tied record against the Flint franchise, formerly the Plymouth Whalers, of 23-28-0. The Firebirds and onetime Whalers are the only opponent the Troops never tied when that result still was possible ... Struthers played his 100th game since a Jan. 3, 2018, trade from the Owen Sound Attack. He has 52 goals and 68 assists for 120 points with the Battalion ... Moncada saw the end of a three-game points streak in which he had three goals and one assist for four points ... The Battalion was without Joe Vrbetic, Simon Rose, Josh Currie and Nick King ... Each team went 0-for-3 on the power play ... Flint scratches included Evan Vierling, the second overall pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection from the York Simcoe Express minor midgets, who was sick ... Flint's Hunter Holmes returned from a five-game suspension assessed after he incurred a match penalty for crosschecking in an 8-5 win Sept. 29 over the visiting Sarnia Sting ... Dellandrea has a seven-game points streak in which he has five goals and seven assists for 12 points ... McCourt has a three-game points streak in which he has one goal and five assists for six points ... Last Saturday the Firebirds acquired Owen Lalonde from the Guelph Storm for fellow defenceman Michael Bianconi, two second-round picks, a conditional second and a conditional fifth ... The referees were Mac Nichol and Andrew Willmetts.


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