Flint Firebirds

Firebirds Force OT But Fall in Game 3, 4-3

April 2, 2024 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Flint Firebirds News Release

FLINT, Mich. - The Flint Firebirds erased a 3-1 third period deficit to force overtime but Landon Sim scored the game-winning goal in OT and the London Knights beat the Firebirds, 4-3, in overtime in Game 3 of the best-of-seven series. London took a 3-0 series lead with the win.

With the Firebirds trailing 3-1 early in the third period, Tristan Bertucci brought the puck over the blue line and fed Coulson Pitre at the right wing. Pitre flicked a wrist shot that snuck through traffic and went between the legs of Michael Simpson, cutting the London lead to 3-2.

Two and a half minutes later with the Firebirds buzzing in the attacking zone, Connor Clattenburg fired a shot that went wide of the net and bounced to the left wing half wall. Blake Smith sprinted to the loose puck, grabbed it and flung a shot on net, where Nathan Aspinall was screening Simpson. The puck got through the screen and past Simpson, who was unable to track it, to even the score at three and eventually force overtime.

In the overtime period, a clearing attempt by the Firebirds defense was halted shy of the blue line by London's Oliver Bonk. At the right point, he spun and wristed a shot on net. Sim was cutting above the crease and deflected the shot which redirected past Nathan Day's blocker for the game-winning goal.

Sim's goal was his first of the postseason and the Knights extended their series lead to 3-0 in the win.

For the first time this postseason, the Firebirds scored first. Gavin Ewles pounced on a failed London clearing attempt and fired a shot wide of the net. The puck bounced skyward off the end kick plate and dropped toward the front of the crease. Clattenburg knocked it out of mid-air from Simpson's left and in to put the Birds on top, 1-0.

On London's next possession, Max McCue sent a pass high-to-low through the right circle to Kaleb Lawrence, who carried across the slot and tucked the puck behind Nathan Day to tie the game at 12:15. Then, the Knights claimed their first lead of the night 51 seconds later when the puck went to Denver Barkey at the left point. From there, he set up Easton Cowan for a one-timer from the top of the right circle that beat Day to the near post to put the visitors ahead, 2-1.

London extended its lead early in the third period. McCue won an offensive draw in the left circle back to Kasper Halttunen, who immediately cut across the high slot. From above the right hash marks, he lifted a wrister over Day's outstretched left pad and the Knights led, 3-1.

Clattenburg's goal was his first career playoff goal, Clattenburg and Smith each had a goal and an assist and Bertucci finished with two assists. Flint will now take the ice for Game 4 on Thursday night, needing a win to extend the best-of-seven series. Puck drop at the Dort Financial Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Story: Brandon Mills /

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