Preview: Firebirds Host Kitchener Saturday in Flint
Flint, Mich. - The Flint Firebirds return home on a franchise-best 15 game winning-streak to host the Kitchener Rangers Saturday night. Flint will also look to extend their club-best home-ice winning streak to six-in-a-row. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET) at the Dort Federal Event Center (cap. 4,400) in Flint.
Saturday night marks the third of four regular-season meetings between these clubs this campaign, and the second of two in Flint. All-time, the Firebirds hold a record of 7-9-2-0 in games against the Rangers. The 'Birds are 2-6-1-0 at home in the series. Last season Flint finished with an overall record of 1-3-0-0 versus Kitchener. This season, Flint defeated the Rangers in Kitchener 4 - 3 in overtime on October 18, and then skated to a 5 - 3 victory on home ice on February 1.
Kitchener enters Friday's tilt with a season record of 35-14-5-2, and are 14-9-3-2 on the road this season. They rank second in the Midwest Division and third in the Western Conference, and have gone 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games. Flint carries a 15-game overall winning streak and a five-game home winning streak, and the 'Birds carry a season record of 37-17-1-1. They rank first in the West Division and second in the 10-team Western Conference. On home ice, the 'Birds are 18-8-1-0.
OnÂ special teamsÂ this season, the Firebirds are converting on the power play at a rate of 20.4%, which is 14thÂ in the league. The Rangers rank 12thÂ in the OHL, scoring at a 20.9% clip. Kitchener is killing penalties at a rate of 79.4%, which is tied for ninth-best in the OHL. Flint's penalty-killers rank thirdÂ at an 82.5% efficiency. The Firebirds have the top-ranked penalty-kill on home ice this season, shutting down the opposition at an impressive 88.6% of the time.
Saturday marks the Firebirds' 5th-annual United Auto Workers (UAW) / United Way Night! Fans can use promo code UAW onÂ ticketmaster.comÂ to have $5 from their tickets donated to the United Way of Genesee County. Also, take in two hockey games for the price of one as Team UAW will face-off vs. Team United Way in the annual 'Live United Game.' Doors open at 3:45 p.m., the game starts at 4 p.m. and fans mustÂ have a ticket to the following Firebirds' game at 7 p.m. to gain entrance into the 'Live United' game.Â Then, during the Firebirds' game, there will be a silent auction behind section 20 for both the UAW and United Way team jerseys and various other items.
Single game tickets for all Firebirds games are $12 Bronze, $16 Silver, $20 Gold and $26 VIP seating (Seating Chart). All seats are reserved / assigned seating. Fans can purchase tickets by callingÂ (810) 744-0580, in-person at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office or online atÂ ticketmaster.com here.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (37-17-1-1, 1stÂ West Division):
Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and Belarusian forward Evgeniy Oksentyuk are tied for the top spot on the stat sheet for Flint, each with 69 total points. Dellandrea has the most goals (31) and has played in 46 games. Oksentyuk has 30 tallies plus 39 assists in 51 games-played. Both players are tied for seventh in the league with six game-winning goals. Dellandrea has also won the fourth-most faceoffs in the OHL at 633. He also has the third-highest faceoff win-percentage (59.1%) among players who've taken more than 1,000 draws this season.
Defenseman Riley McCourt ranks third in total offense with 18 goals and 40 assists for 58 total points in 56 games. He ranks fourth among OHL blue-liners in points, is tied for third in goals and fourth in assists, and is tied for sixth with a 1.04 points-per-game average.
Tyler Tucker (St. Louis Blues) joined the Firebirds at the trade deadline this season. Since then, he has 23 points (8G, 15A) in 20 games. For the season, he has 16 tallies and 36 helpers for 52 points in 48 games. He sits fourthÂ among OHL rearguards with a 1.08 points-per-game average. He's also in the top-10 for points (T-7th), goals (7th) and assists (7th).
A couple of 'Birds have shown increased production of late. Jack Wismer has six multi-goal games since January 10. He's potted 13 goals and seven assists for 20 total points in his last 13 games.Â Cody Morgan now has points in ten of his last 12 contests, totaling three markers and 11 helpers.
Brennan Othmann continues to lead Flint's freshman class with a new franchise-high 31 points, including a record 15 goals. Ty Dellandrea held the previous record for rookie-scoring with 13 tallies his freshman year in the league. Among all OHL rookies, Othmann is currently sixth in goals (15) and tied for seventh in total points (31).
In net, Anthony Popovich has earned back-to-back victories the last two nights, including his first shutout of the season over the IceDogs in Niagara Thursday. He's now been credited with a franchise-best 26 victories in 40 appearances this season. He's tied for fourth in total wins and eighth with a save-percentage (SAV%) of .897. Popovich's goals-against average (GAA) is now 3.59. Luke Cavallin is recovering from a lower-body injury and won't be expected to play Friday. The Firebirds have recalled netminder Evan Morrison from the Listowel Cyclones of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL). Morrison is carrying a 2.75 GAA and a .905 SAV% through 24 contests with Listowel this season.
NHL:Â The Firebirds have five players with NHL ties consisting of Dennis Busby (Arizona Coyotes), Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars), Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks), Vladislav Kolyachonok (Florida Panthers) and Tyler Tucker (St. Louis Blues). Additionally, Evgeniy Oksentyuk was named to the NHL Central Scouting's Midterm Rankings for the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft.
Despite Flint beingÂ inÂ the midst of just theirÂ fifthÂ OHL season, three former Firebirds have already played in NHL regular-season games:Â Nick CaamanoÂ (Dallas Stars), Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes) and Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets). Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars), Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks), Vili Saarijarvi (Arizona Coyotes) and Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) have played in NHL pre-season contests. In total, the team has produced an impressive 18 drafted or signed NHL players in that short time.
Kitchener Rangers (35-14-5-2, 2ndÂ Midwest Division):
Riley Damiani (Dallas Stars) tops the Rangers with 25 goals and a team-high 47 assists for 72 points in 55 games-played. Liam Hawel sits second with 59 total points (18G, 41A) in 47 games. Greg Meireles (Florida Panthers) ranks third with 27 markers and 30 helpers for 57 points in 46 contests.
Swedish defenseman Axel Bergkvist (Arizona Coyotes) tops the blue-liners with eight goals and 34 assists through 55 games. He ranks ninth among rearguards for assists on the season. The freshman class is paced by Lake View, NY native Declan McDonnell. He has 19 goals and 18 assists for 37 points. He ranks third among rookies in total points, and fourth in goals-scored.
Veteran netminder Jacob Ingham (Los Angeles Kings) has appeared in 40 games and earned 28 victories, which are tied for the second-most in the OHL. He carries the league's fifth-best goals-against average (GAA) of 2.91 and is tied for the second-best save-percentage (SAV%) at .919. Lucas Pfeil has seven wins in 17 appearances, and has a 3.57 GAA and a SAV% of .879.
NHL: TheÂ RangersÂ have six players with NHL ties consisting of Riley Damiani (Dallas Stars), Serron Noel (Florida Panthers), Greg Meireles (Florida Panthers), Axel Bergkvist (Arizona Coyotes), Michael Vukojevic (New Jersey Devils) and Jacob Ingham (Los Angeles Kings). In addition, Donovan Sebrango, Ville Ottavainen and Reid Valade were named to the NHL Central Scouting's Midterm Rankings for the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft.
21 notable Kitchener Rangers' alumni to play in the NHL are Brian Bellows, Andre Benoit, Shawn Burr, David Clarkson, Paul Coffey, Boyd Devereaux, Steve Downie, John Gibson, Dale Hunter, Nazem Kadri, Jakub Kindl, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Lashoff, Al MacInnis, Don Maloney, Wayne Presley, Mike Richards, Larry Robinson, Derek Roy, Jeff Skinner and Scott Stevens.Â
SaturdayÂ evening's contest can be heardÂ live on the radio throughout Flint & Mid-Michigan on US 103.1 FM, online atÂ www.us103.comÂ or by downloading theÂ US 103 app here. Firebirds' broadcasterÂ Dominic HennigÂ will call the play-by-play action andÂ Jack Sznewajs will provide color commentary on the FirebirdsÂ Hockey Network.Â RadioÂ pre-game coverage beginsÂ 30 minutes prior to puck drop at 6:30 p.m.
The gameÂ will be televised in the Kitchener area on channel 20 / 510 (HD) for Rogers cable subscribers. It will also be broadcast live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channelÂ 467 for both Cogeco TV and Rogers 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. Along withÂ Saturday's game, 65 of the Firebirds' 68 games throughout the 2019-20 seasonÂ are also scheduled to be televised live across the province of OntarioÂ on the OHL Action Pak.
All Flint Firebirds home and away games throughout the 2019-20 season can be watched anywhere in the world online onÂ www.ohllive.comÂ or on theÂ OHL Live app.Â OHL Live is a league 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 per game, $69.99 for Flint Firebirds away games only, $179.99 for all 68 home and away Firebirds games and $279.99 for all 1,360 OHL games throughout the 2019-20 season.
Kitchener RangersÂ at Flint Firebirds
Date | Time Saturday, Feb. 22 | 7:00 p.m.
Location Flint, Mich.Â | Dort Federal Event Center (Directions)
Tickets Ticketmaster.comÂ | (810) 744-0580
Promotions -Â UAW / United Way Night
TV - OHL Action Pak: Live Cogeco ch. 467 & Rogers ch. 467 (Ontario)
-Â Firebirds' Broadcast Coverage
Video Stream -Â TV Pregame ShowÂ (6:30pm)
-Â OHL Live
Radio WQUSÂ 103.1 FMÂ (Flint & Mid-Michigan) | Pregame Show: 6:30p
Radio (Mobile) US 103 App:Â AndroidÂ |Â iPhone/iPad
NHL ScoutsÂ Packet Here (Coming Soon)
Social Media @FlintFirebirdsÂ Â |Â FacebookÂ Â |Â InstagramÂ
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Ontario Hockey League Stories from February 21, 2020
- Preview: Firebirds Host Kitchener Saturday in Flint - Flint Firebirds
- Spirit Reach Double-Digit Goals for Second Time this Season in Victory - Saginaw Spirit
- Steelheads Can't Slow Red Hot Firebirds - Mississauga Steelheads
- Otters a Goal Short in Comeback Bid, Rangers Hang on 4-3 - Erie Otters
- Wellwood Becomes Firebirds All-Time Winningest-Coach with 15th-Straight Victory Friday - Flint Firebirds
- Rangers Score Three in the Second to Beat the Otters 4-3 - Kitchener Rangers
- Garreffa's Hat-Trick Propels 67's to Big Bounce Back Win in the Soo - Ottawa 67's
- IceDogs to Host "Night School" Game on March 7th - Niagara IceDogs
- Preview: Firebirds Face-Off vs. Steelheads in Mississauga Friday - Flint Firebirds
- Win over Windsor Sends Knights to Playoffs - London Knights
- Game Day Preview: Spirit Face Byfield, Wolves Saturday in Sudbury - Saginaw Spirit
- Game Preview: Guelph Storm vs. London Knights - Guelph Storm
- Cooper Way Commits to the Generals - Oshawa Generals
- Cardwell Sinks His Former Team in Thrilling 6-5 Overtime Victory - Barrie Colts
- Petes Come up Short against Bulldogs - Peterborough Petes
- Spitfires Fall to Rival London 4-2 - Windsor Spitfires
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