Firebirds Knock-Off CHL's #1 Team in Saturday Victory over Greyhounds
Flint, Mich. - For the second time this season, the Flint Firebirds have knocked-off the CHL's number-one ranked team. On Nov. 15, Flint posted a 5-3 victory over then top-ranked, Sarnia Sting. Tonight, the Firebirds earned a 4-2 triumph over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, a team that came to Flint with a 29-1-0-1 record in the last 31 games.
The Firebirds scored an even-strength goal, a power-play goal, a short-handed goal and an empty-net goal en-route to victory Saturday night. Ty Dellandrea scored two goals to earn first star honors. Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) also earned a goal and an assist, earning second star.' Between-the-pipes, Garrett Forrest stopped 26 of 28 shots from the high-powered Soo offense. Jalen Smereck and Maurizio Colella each extended their point-streaks to six games. Riley McCourt also earned a two-point night. The Firebirds have now scored at least one power-play goal in ten of their past 11 games. On the penalty kill, the 'Birds kept the league's number one ranked power-play off the board, successfully stopping them on all four of the man-advantage situations.
Tim Gettinger (New York Rangers) started the scoring for the Greyhounds six minutes into the first period. While shorthanded, Gettinger was able to find a loose puck and break up the left-wing wall. In the midst of a 2-on-1, Gettinger scored short-side, from the top of the left circle, past Forrest for the early lead. Hayden Verbeek and Rasmus Sandin were credited with the assists.
Leading 1-0 after 20 minutes, the Greyhounds also led in shots 14-12.
Ty Dellandrea scored his first-of-two on the night and 16th of the season also short-handed. In similar form to the first goal of the game, Dellandrea broke up a passing-play and sped up the left-wing wall into the Greyhounds' zone. What looked to be a 2-on-1, Dellandrea created a breakaway around the defenseman and scored on a 'backhand-forehand' type goal past Matthew Villalta.
After assisting on Dellandrea's goal, Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) earned Flint the lead. At 9:01 of the second period, Gordeev skated up the right-wing into the Greyhounds' zone before finding an opening short-side past Villalta. Then, while on the power-play, Dellandrea scored his second of the night from the top of the right-circle on a slapshot, shortside. Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) and Riley McCourt picked up the man-advantage assists with 1:19 remaining in the middle-frame.
Flint outshot Sault Ste. Marie 14-2 in the second period and was leading 3-1 after 40 minutes.
The Greyhounds' Boris Katchouk (Tampa Bay Lightning) brought the game within one at 1:36 of the third period, scoring from the right-side of the crease past a diving Forrest. However, Connor Roberts sealed the deal with an empty-net goal with 1:10 remaining in the contest.
The Firebirds finished with a three-period shot-total of 33-28 over the Greyhounds on the night. Despite it being the fifth victory for the Flint over the Greyhounds since 2015, it was the first time the Firebirds earned a victory over Sault Ste. Marie while in Flint.
The Firebirds will return home to face the Kitchener Rangers this Saturday, Jan. 27.
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