Firebirds Win Third Straight on Home-Ice in Flint, Top #4 Sarnia 3-2 Friday
Flint, Mich. - Maurizio Colella's overtime-winning goal 23 seconds into the extra frame lifted the Firebirds to their third-straight victory, all on home-ice at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint. Both Colella and Ty Dellandrea recorded two-point nights. Flint now holds a 3-3 record against the Sting this season and are 13-9 all-time against Sarnia.
On special teams, the Firebirds went 1-for-5 on the man-advantage, now scoring a power-play goal in 13 of their last 16 games and held Sarnia, who has the OHL's number-one power-play, scoreless on four tries. Flint also was able to end Jordan Kyrou's current league-high 11-game point-streak.
The first period featured strong play by the home team. Through the first 16 minutes of the opening frame, Flint held the lead in shots-on-goal 10 - 3. They had already killed off the first power play by the Sting. After 20 minutes of play, game remained a scoreless tie and the shots favored the home team 11 - 6.
Near the midpoint of the second period, Sarnia scored the game's first goal when Jonathan Ang (Florida Panthers) snuck the puck under netminder Luke Cavallin's right pad from the left-side of the net on a wrap-around play. It was Ang's 19th of the season, scored at the 9:33 mark. The lone assist was credited to Hugo Leufvenius.
The Firebirds tied the game on the power-play with 37 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Maurizio Colella controlled the puck deep in the offensive zone, behind the goal line to the left of netminder Aidan Hughes. He found Ty Dellandrea at the top of the right-wing circle. Dellandrea sent the puck to defenseman Jalen Smereck just inside the blue line. Smereck fired a rising slapshot on net and Connor Roberts was able to redirect it past Hughes. For Roberts, the tally was his 14th of the season and third point in three games. With the assists, Smereck extended his point-streak to three games.
With 40 minutes in the books, shots on goal were tied at 19. The game was tied at one. Flint had successfully killed all three penalties against the league's best power-play unit. With the man-advantage the home team was one-for-three.
The Sting lit-the-lamp again to reclaim the lead on an even-strength goal involving three players with NHL ties at the 6:16 mark of the third period. Anthony Salinitri (Philadelphia Flyers) scored his 21st of the season, assisted by Jonathan Ang (Florida Panthers) and Drake Rymsha (Los Angeles Kings).
Ty Dellandrea made an incredible play with just over three minutes to play in regulation. He picked up the puck behind the Sarnia goal. Without an open man to pass to, he kept the puck and skated from the left-wing wall to the right circle in an 'around the world' type play. He made a move to get past the defender and fired a high wrist shot that found twine shortside over Hughes' left shoulder. It was Dellandrea's 21st of the season scored at the 16:59 mark of the third period, assisted by Jake Durham.
Flint only needed 19 seconds of overtime to seal their third consecutive victory. Ty Dellandrea created space in the left-wing corner, then found Maurizio Colella open in the slot. Dellandrea made the tape-to-tape pass, and Colella one-timed it home to bring the crowd to their feet. For the third time this season, the Firebirds found a way to beat the high-powered Sting. Final shots on goal favored Flint by a 34 - 25 margin.
Next up for Flint, the Firebirds head to Saginaw Saturday night for another installment of the Coors Light I-75 Divide Cup battle. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Mich.
Images from this story
Flint Firebirds vs. Sarnia Sting
(Darren Williams Photography)
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