Firebirds Fall in Preseason Finale in Sarnia, 5-2

September 22, 2023 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - Flint Firebirds News Release

SARNIA, Ont. - Simon Slavicek scored his fourth goal in the past two games but the Flint Firebirds were beaten by the Sarnia Sting, 5-2, on Friday night at Progressive Auto Sales Arena. Sarnia's Andrew LeBlanc recorded a hat trick to pace the Sting offense.

The Sting started the scoring near the halfway point of the opening period when Andrew LeBlanc grabbed a loose puck in front of the net. He flipped it past Patrick Sutherland on the blocker side to give Sarnia a 1-0 advantage.

Flint answered less than a minute later as Max Anderson poked a puck loose at the blue line and tracked it down in neutral ice. He found Jeremy Martin who ripped a shot from the right circle that Nick Surzycia blocked but the rebound bounced back to Anderson. Anderson snapped it past the lunging Surzycia and the game was tied at one.

Early in the second, Mitch Young snuck behind the Flint defense and steamed in on net. He deked from his forehand to his backhand and snuck a shot through the sprawling Sutherland, putting the Sting ahead, 2-1.

Sarnia struck again just 30 seconds into the third period. With a delayed penalty coming against the Firebirds, LeBlanc hit Marko Sikic at the back door for a shot that darted past Sutherland, extending the Sting lead to 3-1.

The Firebirds responded though as Alex Bradshaw burned down the wing and snapped a wrist shot on net that Surzycia blocked. The rebound bounced to the back door where Slavicek was crashing for the rebound. He cleaned it up for his fifth goal of the preseason, cutting the Flint deficit to 3-2.

Sarnia extended the lead back to two, however, when LeBlanc took a cross-ice pass at the left post. He maneuvered a shot through Sutherland's short side to put the Sting up, 4-2. He then completed the hat trick when a turnover led to an odd-man chance in the Flint zone. Tyson Doucette carried the puck deep and dropped it back to LeBlanc who slammed it home, pushing the score to its 5-2 final.

Anderson had a goal and an assist, Slavicek scored and Sutherland made 31 saves in his first OHL appearance. Flint concludes its 2023 preseason with a record of 2-2-0-0. The Firebirds will open the 2023-24 regular season on the road against the Soo Greyhounds on Friday, September 29. Puck drop from GFL Memorial Gardens is scheduled for 7:07 p.m.

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