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 Flint Firebirds

First-Place Firebirds Begin Three-Game Series with Rival Sting on Family Day Monday

February 21, 2022 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Flint Firebirds News Release


Sarnia, Ont. - The first-place Flint Firebirds visit Sarnia for an afternoon game on Family Day in Canada. Puck drop is set for 2:05 p.m. (ET) at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena.

Earlier this week the 60-team Canadian Hockey League (CHL) announced their Kia CHL Top 10 list, and Flint was just outside looking in with 'Honorable Mention.' Netminder Luke Cavallin has been stellar in his senior season, having earned the second-most wins of any OHL netminder. Captain Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) was the first player in the league to score 30 goals, and Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks) has put up 22 points in 20 games since rejoining his club mid-season. Coulson Pitre, the leading rookie on the squad, recently surpassed the rookie numbers of former Flint captain Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and current captain Brennan Othmann to become the all-time points leader among first-year players in Firebirds' history. Pitre is also tied for the most goals by a rookie in franchise history.

Flint enters Friday's tilt atop the West Division and first in the 10-team Western Conference with a 28-14-1-3 record. They're 7-1-1-1 in their past ten and have picked up points in eight-straight tilts. The Sting carry an overall record of 19-18-3-1 and rank fourth in the West Division. They've won three consecutive games and are 5-5-0-0 in their past 10. On home ice this season the Sting carry a 6-11-2-1 record and the Firebirds have the best road record in the OHL at 17-5-1-2.

Friday marks the fourth of eight meetings between these clubs this season, and the third of four to be played in Sarnia. All-time, Flint is 21-19-1-0 against the Sting and are 8-13-0-0 at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena. Sarnia has won two of three meetings so far this season, and these clubs have won one each in Sarnia.

The last time these teams met was January 8 at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena. That night, the Firebirds saw an early two-goal lead slip away quickly in a 5-3 defeat. For Flint, Amadeus Lombardi, Tag Bertuzzi and Coulson Pitre were the goal scorers for the visitors. Nolan Burke's two goals and Ty Voit's (Toronto Maple Leafs) two-point game (1 G, 1 A) propelled the home team past the Firebirds. Alexis Daviault scored his first OHL goal, and Ryan Mast also found twine for the Bees. Luke Cavallin made 30 saves on 35 shots, but on the other end of the ice, Benjamin Gaudreau (San Jose Sharks) earned the victory with 35 saves.

On special teams this season Flint's penalty-kill ranks third in the league, finding success at a rate of 83.7%. Sarnia's penalty-killers are ranked 18th at 74.0%. With the man-advantage, the Sting rank 18th in the league, converting at a rate of 15.5%, and the Firebirds are 14th scoring at an 18.8% clip.

Players to Watch:

Flint Firebirds (28-14-1-3, 1st West Division):

Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) ranks first on the team and ranks second in the league with 33 goals. Othmann also has 31 assists for 64 total points in 44 games. He's tied for third in shorthanded goals (3) and tied for the seventh-most points. Veteran forward Riley Piercey sits second in scoring and now has 21 goals and 26 helpers through 41 games. He is tied for the sixth-most game-winning tallies this season with five and has 12 multi-point games this season. Amadeus Lombardi is third in scoring with 16 tallies and 25 helpers through 45 contests.

Flint's top rookie on the scoresheet is Coulson Pitre with 17 goals and 17 assists through 36 games. Pitre ranks second among all OHL rookies with a 0.94 points-per-game average, and he's scored the third-most goals of all first-year players in the OHL. He's also fifth in total points in the freshman class.

The Birds' top-scoring rearguard is Tyler Deline, with 29 points (4 G, 25 A) in 45 contests. His 16 power-play assists are tied for fourth-most among OHL defenders. Rookie defender Tristan Bertucci is tied for sixth among OHL defensemen and second among OHL rookies with a plus/minus rating of '+19.'

In net, Luke Cavallin has appeared in 37 games this season, which is tied for second-most by any netminder in the OHL. He has 21 wins and two shutouts, which are tied for the second-most victories and the fourth-most shutouts in the league to date. He carries a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.29 and his save percentage (SV%) .907. His save percentage is tied for fifth-best in the league. Rookie netminder Ian Michelone has appeared in eight games and picked up four victories. He carries a GAA of 4.03 and a SV% of .889. To date, Michelone is the only active OHL rookie goaltender with a shutout this season. Nathaniel Day has two victories in four games with a 2.28 GAA and a .915 SV%.

NHL: The Firebirds have four players on their roster with NHL ties consisting of Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks), Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs), Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg Jets), and Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers). Also, Gavin Hayes and Simon Slavicek were named to the 2022 NHL Central Scouting Midterm Draft Rankings.

Despite Flint playing in just five OHL seasons thus far, Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes / Detroit Red Wings), Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets), and Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) are three former Firebirds to play 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 pre-season contests. In total, the team has produced 21 signed or drafted players into the NHL.

Sarnia Sting (19-18-3-1, 4th West Division):

Ty Voit (Toronto Maple Leafs) tops the Sting in scoring with 52 points (13 G, 39 A) through 40 games played this season. He ranks eighth in the OHL in total assists. Nolan Burke ranks second overall in points with 46, comprised of 26 goals and 20 helpers in 41 contests. Nolan Dann sits third with 20 tallies and 18 helpers in 39 games.

Bloomfield, Mich. Native Ryan Mast (Boston Bruins) leads the group of defenders for the Sting with 17 points (7 G, 17 A) on the season. His three game-winning goals are tied for the most of any blue-liner in the league. Max Namestnikov tops the freshman class with seven goals and 17 assists, and he rides a four-game point streak (2 G, 2 A) into Monday afternoon's game.

Sarnia is backstopped by two netminders with NHL ties. Benjamin Gaudreau (San Jose Sharks) has 14 wins in 26 appearances. He carries a 3.22 goals-against average (GAA) along with a .907 save-percentage (SV%), which is tied for fifth-best in the OHL. Anson Thornton (Arizona Coyotes) has five wins in 14 appearances, along with a 3.99 GAA and a SV% of .884.

NHL: Sarnia's roster features eight players with NHL ties, consisting of forwards Ryan McGregor (Arizona Coyotes), Jamieson Rees (Carolina Hurricanes), Jacob Perrault (Anaheim Ducks), and Ty Voit (Toronto Maple Leafs), defensemen Ryan Mast (Boston Bruins) and Eric Hjorth (Columbus Blue Jackets). Additionally, goaltenders Benjamin Gaudreau (San Jose Sharks) and Anson Thornton (Arizona Coyotes) have NHL ties. Max Namestnikov and Nolan Dann were also named to the NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings.

13 notable Sting alumni to play in the NHL are Steven Stamkos, Reid Boucher, Eric Boulton, Daniel Carcillo, Jakob Chychrun, Alex Galchenyuk, Matt Martin, Connor Murphy, Dalton Prout, Brett Ritchie, Ryan Spooner, Nail Yakupov and Pavel Zacha.

Broadcast Coverage:

Monday afternoon's contest against the Sarnia Sting is a Freeview on CHL TV in honor of Family Day in Canada. All 17 games across the CHL will be streaming free on CHL TV today. The Flint broadcast 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 here. Jack Sznewajs will call the play-by-play action on the Firebirds Hockey Network (FHN). Pregame coverage will begin prior to puck drop at 1:45 p.m. (ET) Monday afternoon.

The game will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 469 (4469 HD) for both Rogers TV and Cogeco TV cable subscribers. OHL fans with cable television in Ontario can add the OHL Action Pak to their television plan to catch the Firebirds in action, home or away all season long.

Also, all Flint Firebirds' home and away games throughout the 2021-22 regular season can be watched anywhere in the world online on https://watch.chl.ca/ohl. CHL TV is the league's new and improved video streaming platform that delivers high-quality live and on-demand coverage of all regular season and playoff games annually. The cost is $6.99 for 24-hour access, $24.99 for monthly access, $109.99 for all-access to the 2021-22 Firebirds and OHL season, or $159.99 for all-access to the entire 2021-22 CHL season.

Next Up: The Firebirds will travel to Sarnia again Friday evening at 7:05 p.m. ET before returning home next Saturday to host the Sting in game three of three consecutive meetings. It will be Flint Generals Night at the Dort Financial Center with more information coming out early this week. Tickets are on sale NOW here: ETIX.


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