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Firebirds Return to Saginaw for Pre-Season Tilt Tonight

September 23, 2022 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - Flint Firebirds News Release

Saginaw, Mich. - The Firebirds, currently ranked 7th in the 60-team CHL, completed a three-game exhibition round versus the Windsor Spitfires this week, winning one of the three contests. Now they set their sights on a familiar foe from the state of Michigan. The first of two back-to-back games versus the Spirit will be tonight at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. (ET).

A pair of sophomores sit atop the stats for the Firebirds, each with four points in three games. Defenseman Tristan Bertucci has a goal and three assists and forward Coulson Pitre has four helpers. Rookie Nathan Aspinall and sophomore rearguard James Petrovski lead the team in scoring with a pair of tallies each. Both also have an assist for a point-per-game pace three games into the preseason. Returning defenseman Luca D'Amato also has three points, including one goal and two assists. Newcomers Alex Bradshaw (1 G, 1 A), Daks Klinkhammer (1 G), and Caden Pitre (1 G) have all found their way onto the scoresheet early in the year, as well.

Three netminders have seen action in exhibition play, led by second-year goaltender Nathaniel Day with two appearances. Day carries a 5.25 goals-against average (GAA) and a save percentage (SV%) of .868. He also has the lone win for the Birds thus far. Veteran Will Cranley (St. Louis Blues) has one appearance and a .865 SV%. Boe Piroski was acquired via trade from Niagara recently and has also appeared in one contest. Piroski currently holds a 3.07 GAA with a .923 SV%.

On special teams, the Firebirds have scored on 23.1% of their power-play chances to date. That ranks them 7th among the 20 OHL clubs in this year's exhibition play. They rank 11th on the penalty kill, shutting down the opposition 78.6% of the time. The Spirit are killing penalties at the league's second-best rate of 91.7%. Their power play ranks 12th, converting on 15.8% of their chances with the man-advantage.

NHL: The Firebirds now have six players on their roster with NHL ties consisting of Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs), Gavin Hayes (Chicago Blackhawks), Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers), Amadeus Lombardi (Detroit Red Wings), Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg Jets), and Will Cranley (St. Louis Blues). Riley Piercey (Detroit Red Wings) and Sahil Panwar (Florida Panthers) have also participated in prospect camps and tournaments with NHL clubs recently.

Despite Flint playing in just six OHL seasons thus far, Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes / Detroit Red Wings), Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars), and Vladislav Kolyachonok (Arizona Coyotes) are four former Firebirds to play regular-season games in the NHL. Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) and Firebirds' alumni Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks), Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit Red Wings) and Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) have all played in NHL preseason contests. In total, the team has produced 24 signed or drafted players into the NHL.

Next Up: The Firebirds will conclude the 2022 Pre-Season at Flint Iceland Arena on Saturday, September 24. Season membership holders get in for free and General Admission tickets are only $10 each. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET) on the 24th.

The Flint Firebirds open the 2022-23 season on home ice Saturday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m. against the Niagara IceDogs. Season Memberships are on sale NOW starting as low as $12 per game or $408 for the full season. More information on becoming a 2022-23 season membership holder can be found HERE. Additionally, single-game tickets are on sale NOW. Tickets can be purchased at in person at the Dort Financial Center Box Office during regularly scheduled hours, or over the phone by calling 1-800-514-3849.

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