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Firebirds Visit Petes on Thursday Night

November 30, 2023 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - Flint Firebirds News Release


PETERBOROUGH, Ont. - The Firebirds visit the Eastern Conference's top team to kick off a three-game road stint on Thursday night. It's the first of two meetings between these clubs this season and the only contest to be played in Peterborough. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.

LAST TIME OUT: The Birds came up short at home on Sunday afternoon when they hosted the OHL's first-place Kitchener Rangers and fell, 3-1. Nathan Day turned aside 20 of 22 shots faced and Zacharie Giroux lit the lamp in the final two minutes to pull the Flint within a goal, but an empty-netter by the Rangers sealed Kitchener victory.

SERIES HISTORY: Flint holds an all-time record of 4-7-0-1 versus Peterborough and a 1-5-0-0 mark in road games. Last year the Birds picked up points in both meetings, as they won the road game and lost in a shootout on home ice.

SCOUTING THE PETES: (13-5-3-1, 1st East Division) -

The Petes are led by a trio of forwards who've each played in 20 of the team's 22 contests. Third-year winger Jonathan Melee has 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points. Owen Beck, the lone forward with NHL ties (Montreal Canadians) sits two points back but leads Peterborough in goals with 13. Overager Jax Dubois has found twine seven times and pitched in 14 helpers for 21 points to rank third on the squad.

Samuel Mayer leads all Petes defensemen with 19 points (8 G, 11 A) through 22 games played. He's created the second-most shots on goal (114) in the OHL to date. Peterborough's leading rookie is Braydon McCallum with four goals and ten assists.

Liam Sztuska is in his third season with the Petes and has appeared in 14 contests. He's credited with seven wins and carries a 3.55 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. Sophomore netminder Zach Bowen has six victories across ten appearances. Bowen's GAA sits at 2.73 and he has a .921 SV%.

Peterborough sits in the middle of the pack on special teams. Their power play is converting at 19.0%, which ranks 12th in the league. The penalty-kill unit is finding success at a 78.4% clip, good for 13th.

SCOUTING THE FIREBIRDS: (11-11-1-1, 3rd West Division) -

Chicago Blackhawks prospect Gavin Hayes leads the Firebirds in goals with 17, which are currently tied for the fifth-most in the OHL. His 29 total points are tied for the most on the team with Giroux, who has twelve goals and 17 assists. Both Hayes (5 G, 3 A) and Giroux (4 G, 4 A) have points in four straight games, and Hayes' four game-winning goals are tied for the second-most in the league. Braeden Kressler, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, has 27 total points (11 G, 16 A) to rank third on the club.

Flint's defense is topped on the scoresheet by Dallas Stars prospect Tristan Bertucci with two goals and 14 assists on the season. Rookie Jeremy Martin leads the team's freshman class and is tied for the fifth-most goals by a rookie with six. He also has one helper for seven points.

Between the pipes, Edmonton Oilers prospect Nathan Day has nine wins through 20 appearances. His goals-against average is 3.89 and his save percentage sits at .866. Rookie Jacob Brown has two wins in six appearances and his GAA sits at 4.32 with an .855 SV%.

The Birds rank 16th on the power play with a 13.9% success rate. The penalty kill is clicking at an 80.5% pace, which is the OHL's tenth-best.

ODDS AND ENDS: Tonight's match is the first game Flint will play versus an opponent in the East Division. Last season the Birds went 6-2-1-1 in the East...Peterborough has points in seven of their last ten games (5-3-1-1) compared to the Firebirds with points in five of ten (5-5-0-0)...despite being atop the Eastern Conference standings, the Petes have a -2 goal differential for the year and have scored the 17th-most goals (73) in the league. Flint has a goal differential of -9 and the Birds are tied for the sixth-most total goals scored (90) this season.

BROADCAST COVERAGE: This evening's game against the Peterborough Petes can be heard live on the radio throughout Flint & Mid Michigan on US 103.1 FM, online at www.us103.com, or by downloading the US 103 app. Brian Gardner will call the play-by-play action on the Firebirds Hockey Network starting with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.

All of the Flint Firebirds home and away games throughout the 2023-24 season can be watched anywhere in the world online at https://watch.chl.ca/ohl.

COMING UP: The Birds continue the three-game road trip with stops in Ottawa on Saturday and Kingston on Sunday. Flint will then return home Saturday, December 9 to host the Saginaw Spirit for another installment of the I-75 Divide Cup, presented by Coors Light. Saginaw holds a 3-1 advantage in the eight-game series. Tickets for the December 9 rivalry tilt are available now from ETIX.COM.


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