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Firebirds Drop Hard Fought Battle to Saginaw Friday

February 1, 2019 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - Flint Firebirds News Release

Flint, Mich. - A three-goal first period propelled the visiting Saginaw Spirit to a 4 - 2 win Friday night in game six of the Coors Light I-75 Divide Cup. The Firebirds outshot Saginaw 34-33 and Flint won 29 face-off draws compared to the Spirit's 20. Jack Wismer led the Firebirds on the scoresheet, lighting the lamp once and adding a helper en-route to earning 'Second-Star' honors. Ethan Keppen found the back of the net. Luke Cavallin faced 23 shots in the final 40 minutes and made 22 saves. Neither team was able to score in their four chances on the power-play, but both produced a short-handed goal. For the visitors, Camaryn Baber collected two points and netminder Ivan Prosvetov (Arizona Coyotes) stopped 33 of Flint's 35 shots-on-goal.

The first big scoring chance of the game came just over four minutes into regulation. Saginaw's Cole Perfetti emerged on a breakaway. Netminder Emanuel Vella made the save, but the officials awarded a penalty shot to Saginaw. On the penalty shot, Perfetti converted for his 21st of the season, recorded at 4:08. The Spirit earned a two-goal lead at 15:41 on a quick wrister from Justin Murray at the left point that deflected off a Firebird and into the net. The goal was Murray's 10th of the season, assisted by Camryn Baber and Albert Michnac. DJ Busdeker scored his 12th of the campaign on a short-handed breakaway at 18:59 to give the Spirit a 3 - 0 lead heading into the first intermission. Shots in the first period were 10 - 9 in Flint's favor.

Luke Cavallin took over the goaltending duties to begin the middle frame. The Firebirds cut the deficit to two with an early goal in the second period. Riley McCourt dumped the puck in the Saginaw zone along the left-wing boards from the neutral zone. Jack Wismer picked it up behind the Saginaw goal, and sent a backhand pass across the crease to Ethan Keppen at the bottom of the left circle. Keppen one-timed it home past netminder Ivan Prosvetov (Arizona Coyotes) on the back-door play. The goal was his 18th of the season, scored at 1:47 of period two.

Then, Baber picked up his second point of the night and fourth goal of the season at 13:05 to extend the visitor's lead back to three. Trailing the rush, Baber found himself all alone in the left-wing circle and lifted a snapper blockerside over Cavallin's left shoulder, just under the cross-bar. The tally was assisted by Bode Wilde (New York Islanders). Shots-on-goal were even at 25 after forty minutes of play.

Flint pulled within two on a short-handed marker late in the third. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) carried into the offensive zone along the right-wing boards with a defender in tow. He carried around behind the Saginaw net and made a pass across the slot to a streaking Jack Wismer, who one-timed the pass under Prosvetov for his 11th of the season, scored at 15:11.

Flint pulled their goaltender with 2:30 remaining in the contest but could not strike. Prosvetov was awarded the game's third star and Baber earned first star honors.

The two clubs will meet for a rematch Saturday night. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw. The game can be heard live on the radio throughout Flint & Mid-Michigan on US 103.1 FM, online at or by downloading the US 103 app here. Dominic Hennig will call the play-by-play action on the Flint Firebirds Hockey Radio Network. Pregame coverage will begin 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 7 p.m. The game will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak in high definition on channel 448 for both Rogers TV and Cogeco TV cable subscribers.

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