Firebirds Rally Back for Three Straight Goals to Tie, Fall 5-4 in Owen Sound Saturday
Owen Sound, Ont. - After trailing by three goals twice in the game, the Firebirds rallied back to light-the-lamp three times in the third period to tie the contest 4-4 but were eventually overcame by one goal in Owen Sound Saturday.
In rare fashion, the Firebirds were called for two penalties at the same time to spot the OHL's second-best power-play a full two minute 5-on-3 man-advantage at 5:07 of the first period.
Owen Sound's Maksim Sushko (Philadelphia Flyers) opened the scoring for his 16th of the season at the 5:37 mark. Assists were credited to Aidan Dudas and Sean Durzi. As a result of the goal, one player returned to the ice for Flint but Owen Sound remained on the power-play. The same three forwards struck again just 41 seconds later. This time it was Dudas recording his 15th of the season with assists to Sushko and Durzi. Daylon Groulx later scored an even strength goal, his fifth, assisted by Friend (Los Angeles Kings) and Nick Suzuki (Vegas Golden Knights).
The Firebirds would strike first in the second period when Colella collected his team-leading 10th of the season, unassisted, short-side, from the left-wing circle. Owen Sound would again extend the lead to three on the 15 of the season for Jonah Gadjovich (Vancouver Canucks).
With under two minutes remaining in the middle frame, goaltender Garrett Forrest made a momentum-changing save. As he clung to his right post, Suzuki circled along his left-wing boards and Brady Lyle approached the crease from the right-side circle. Suzuki slapped a fake-shot-turned-hard-pass through the slot, which Lyle was able to one-time on net. With rapid lateral right-to-left movement, Forrest dropped into the splits and robbed Lyle's shot with his outstretched catcher just above his left pad. The Firebirds trailed by three after forty minutes of play.
Third period scoring started with Jake Durham getting his second goal and third point in the past three games just 58 seconds in. Hunter Holmes, on a two-on-one breakaway, made a tape-to-tape backhand pass across the slot that allowed Durham to beat Attack netminder Mack Guzda on his blocker side. Colella picked up the second assist on the goal, earning him his second point of the contest.
The Attack's lead was cut to one when Jack Phibbs intentionally lost a face-off deep in the Owen Sound zone, but stayed with the puck and tied his man up along the boards over Guzda's right shoulder. The pin allowed Jacob Collins to pick up the loose puck in the corner and send it to the slot, where C.J. Clarke was poised and ready to find twine for his fifth of the year.
Collins would contribute again less than two minutes later when Phibbs set him up in front on the power play. It was Flint's 19th power-play goal of the year and Collins' second of the season. Nicolas Mattinen (Toronto Maple Leafs) picked up his team-leading 14th assist on the goal.
The game would only remain tied for less than three minutes before Matthew Struthers picked up his eighth of the season, assisted by Markus Phillips and Friend. For Friend, the Owen Sound captain, the assist was his fifth point in less than 24 hours. Flint would pull the netminder and put forth a valiant effort in the waning 90 seconds but the Attack would hold on to win the game in front of 3,034 fans at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
Flint was 1-for-2 on the power-play and Owen Sound scored on both of their man-advantages. The Attack outshot the Firebirds 34-25. Colella was awarded the game's second star.
Next up for Flint, the Firebirds travel to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. to complete their four-game road-swing. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. at the Essar Centre. Radio pre-game coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on US 103.1 FM in Flint & Mid-Michigan and worldwide online at www.us103.com.
Next Home Game:
Flint returns home to the Dort Federal Event Center on Friday, Dec. 15. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. against in-state rival, the Saginaw Spirit for game four of the I-75 Divide Cup, presented by Coors Light.
Single game tickets for all Firebirds games are $12 / Bronze, $16 / Silver, $20 / Gold and $26 for VIP seating. All seats are reserved / assigned seating. Fans can purchase tickets at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office and online at ticketmaster.com. For ticket information, flex tickets or group outings, contact Dominic Gutierrez at (810) 701-8536 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To book a private suite, please contact Karla Turner at (810) 744-0580 ext. 213 or email email@example.com.
Photo Credit: Danen Williams / Flint Firebirds
For more information:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
Member of the Ontario Hockey League
3501 Lapeer Road, Flint, Michigan 48503 www.flintfirebirds.com
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Ontario Hockey League Stories from December 12, 2017
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