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 Flint Firebirds

Firebirds Push But Fall to London in Game 4, 3-2

April 4, 2024 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Flint Firebirds News Release

FLINT, Mich. - Simon Slavicek and Matthew Wang scored and Nathan Day made 28 saves on 30 shots but the London Knights proved to be too much as they beat the Flint Firebirds, 3-2, in Game 4 on Thursday night at the Dort Financial Center. London won the best-of-seven series, 4-0 and the Firebirds season came to a close.

The Knights broke the scoreless tie near the nine-minute mark of the first period. Easton Cowan won a foot race to a loose puck behind the Flint net and quickly backhanded a pass for Landon Sim, who was trailing the play at the left circle. Sim one-timed the pass along the ice just inside the far post for his second goal of the series, giving London the early 1-0 lead.

Three minutes beyond the midway point of the contest, Slavicek entered London ice with the puck along the right-wing boards with a defender in front of him and Oliver Peer crashing toward the net on the back post. Slavicek hit the brakes and cut toward the slot while Peer established a screen in front of Michael Simpson. Slavicek wristed the puck back across his body and just inside the right post the even the score at one.

Early in the third period, Denver Barkey carried the puck to the goal line and passed from Day's left to Sam O'Reilly between the hash marks. O'Reilly stepped into a one-timer that beat Day low on the blocker side for his first of the playoffs, to again give the Knights a lead, 2-1.

With less than two minutes remaining in the period the Firebirds pulled Day for an extra attacker as they set up for an attacking zone draw. London quickly cleared the puck though and Sim was the first to find the loose puck in the neutral zone. He carried the puck to the net and left it back for Barkey, who slammed it into the net and pushed the London advantage to 3-1.

The Firebirds did not give up from there though. After dumping the puck into the right corner, Wang gathered it and backhanded it toward the net from the wide angle. It changed direction in front of the net and caromed behind Simpson with 1:08 remaining in regulation, and the Birds were again within a goal.

Day returned to the bench, but the six skaters could not solve London's defense, and time expired on the game, the series, and the season as London escaped with a 3-2 victory. Day made 28 saves on 30 shots and Wang's goal was the first playoff goal of his OHL career. The Firebirds season ended with the 4-0 series loss while London advanced to the second round.

Story: Brandon Mills /

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