Cavallin Picks up First-Career OHL Victory as Firebirds Earn Second Win in Three Games
Windsor, Ont. - Flint's Jalen Smereck scored the game-winning goal 28 seconds into overtime, newly acquired Connor Roberts lit-the-lamp for the second time in three games and goaltender Luke Cavallin earned his first-career OHL victory in a 4-3 triumph over the defending CHL Memorial Cup Champions Windsor Spitfires before more than 4,900 fans at the WFCU Centre.
Windsor's William Sirman scored the first goal of the contest at 1:17 of the opening period when he converted on a rebound in the slot for the Spitfires' only lead of the game. Flint's Luke Cavallin made the initial save to deny Mathew MacDougall but Sirman found the loose puck for his third of the season. Then, Firebirds' forward Connor Roberts evened the stanza in the seventh minute of the play. He collected a loose puck along the left-wing boards just inside the offensive zone and fired a wrist shot short-side from the top of the left-circle for his fifth of the season and third point in four Firebirds' games.
The Firebirds' found twine first in the second period as Hunter Holmes made a cross-ice pass in the neutral zone to spring Maurizio Colella for a breakaway. Colella beat Windsor goaltender Brock Baier with the wrist shot to his blocker side. The goal was Colella's team-leading ninth of the season, scored at the 9:19 mark. Windsor tied the game at two when Chris Playfair threw the puck on net from the right-wing corner, finding Aaron Luchuk in front to gather the rebound. He one-timed it past Cavallin, scoring his league-leading 23rd of the season with just 48 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Luke Smith collected the second assist on the play.
The Firebirds found early paydirt in the third period. Ryan Littlejohn sent a breakout pass from his defensive end to Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs). Gordeev streaked through the neutral zone on the right-wing side, paced by Jake Durham on the left side for a two-on-one breakaway. Gordeev made a backhand pass across the slot, past the defender, finding Durham, who scored his fourth of the season on a backhand shot to the netminder's blocker side. Cavallin made three or four unbelievable saves in the third period. In the waning minutes of regulation, Windsor utilized a six-on-four advantage in the Flint zone. With the Firebirds on a penalty kill and the Spitfires with an empty net, it was Jake Smith collecting his second point of the night and fifth goal of the season on a rebound just to Cavallin's right-side with 46 seconds remaining in regulation.
In the extra frame, Ty Dellandrea head-manned a pass to Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) for a breakaway, red-line in. With patience, Smereck fired a shot that beat Brock Baier blocker side. It was Smereck's first goal of the season for Flint, earning him first-star of the game honors. The helper was Dellandrea's eighth point in the past nine games.
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