Preview: the Flint Michigan Megabowl Is Saturday
Flint, Mich. - The Firebirds return home Saturday for their annual 'Flint Tropics Night," sponsored byÂ Diamond Resorts International. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. (ET) against theÂ Guelph Storm at the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center (capacity 4,400) in Flint.
Inspired by the movie "Semi-Pro" starring Will Ferrell, Flint Tropics Night is regularly one of the most attended games of the season and Saturday is expected to be no different.
The Firebirds set another club record last night with the most regular-season victories in team history (33), making this the winningest season in franchise history. Saturday night marks the fourth of four regular-season meetings betweenÂ the two clubs, and the second of two in Flint. The Firebirds hold a 3-0-0-0 record against Guelph this campaign. All-time, FlintÂ is 8-9-2-0 against the Storm. In home games, the Firebirds are 2-6-1-0.
The Firebirds enter Saturday's contestÂ in second place in the West Division and fourth in the Western Conference with a record of 33-17-1-1 (68 points). The 'Birds are currently the third-highest scoring team in the 20-team OHL, having found the back of the net 225 times. Flint is also riding a franchise-best winning streak, now at 11 consecutive victories. Guelph is currently on a three-game winning streak. In their last ten contests, Guelph has gone 5-4-1-0. The Storm are 27-19-2-4 on the season, ranking third in the Midwest Division and sixth in the Western Conference.
Of note,Â sevenÂ members betweenÂ the Firebirds and Storm have ties with the two cities.Â Three Flint Firebirds have ties to the Guelph region: Firebirds' defenseman Jack Harper is a native of Guelph. Additionally, Firebirds' defenseman Owen Lalonde and goaltender Anthony Popovich were part of the OHL Championship Guelph Storm squad a season ago. For Guelph, General Manager & Head Coach George Burnett was the General Manager of the Firebirds during the 2016-17 season and defenseman Michael Bianconi &Â Fedor Gordeev and forward Eric Uba were former Firebirds now playing with Guelph.
Last night, the Birds defeated the first-place Saginaw Spirit in Saginaw. Between the pipes, Luke CavallinÂ posted an impressive performance and is now tied with former Firebirds' goaltender Garrett Forrest for most career wins (25) by a Flint netminder, making 44 saves on 48 shots. Jack Wismer lit the lamp twice for his fourth multi-goal game in his last seven played, and picked up an assist to finish with three points and 'Second Star' honors. Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars), Braeden Kressler and Evgeniy Oksentyuk also scored for the Birds.
On special teams this season, the Firebirds hold the fourth-best overall penalty kill (PK) in the league at 82.0%. Flint remains the OHL's top PK on home ice with a success rate of 88.4%. Guelph's penalty-killers rank sixth at an 81.4% efficiency. With the man-advantage the Storm ranks 16th,Â scoring at a 19.4%Â rate. The 'Birds score at a rate of 19.2% on the power play, which ranks 17th.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (33-17-1-1, 2ndÂ West Division):
Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) holds the top spot on the stat sheet for Flint with 31 goals and 34 helpers in 42 games. He rides a four-game point streak (3G, 2A) into Saturday's tilt. Belarusian forward Evgeniy Oksentyuk sits second on the club with 26 goals and 37 assists for 63 points in 47 contests. He's on a current point-streak of nine games (5G, 10A). Earlier this season, Oksentyuk carried Flint's longest-ever point-streak at 17 games (13G, 16A).
Defenseman Riley McCourt holds the franchise record for most goals scored by a defenseman in a Firebirds' uniform, and just became the all-time leader in assists by a Flint rearguard in last night's victory over Saginaw. For this season, he's third in total offense with 16 goals and a team-high 36 assists for 52 total points in 52 games.
Cody Morgan rides an eight-game point streak into Saturday's contest, earning two goals and eight assists in that time. Jack Wismer his ten goals and three assists for 13 total points in his last nine games. Defenseman Tyler Tucker (St. Louis Blues) joined the Firebirds at the trade deadline this season. Since then, he has 13 points (5G, 8A) in 16 games.
Brennan Othmann leads the freshman class for the 'Birds with 27 total points (13G, 14A) through 44 games. Othmann sits tied with Dellandrea for the most-ever goals (13) by a rookie for Flint.
In net, Anthony Popovich has played in 36 games this season. He's earned 22 victories, which are the most by any Flint netminder in a single season and the sixth-most among OHL netminders this season. Popovich's goals-against average (GAA) is 3.64 and he he's tied for the ninth-best save-percentage (SAV%) in the league at .898. Luke Cavallin now has 11 wins in 20 appearances and carries a 3.68 GAA and a .895 SAV%. Cavallin recently became Flint's all-time leader in minutes-played (4,422) and saves (2,273) by a Firebirds' netminder. Last night, he tied former Firebirds' goalie Garrett Forrest for most career wins (25) by any Firebirds' netminder.
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.
Guelph Storm (27-19-2-4, 3rdÂ Midwest Division):
Pavel Gogolev leads the offense for Guelph with 80 points (37G, 43A) in 52 games. Cam Hillis (Montreal Canadians) ranks second with 19 tallies and 50 helpers through 51 games-played. Former Firebird Eric Uba sits third on the scoresheet with 45 points (22G, 23A) in 52 contests.
Guelph defenseman Daniil Chayka (8G, 17A) leads the blue-line troops for his club. First-year forward Andrei Bakanov has played 51 games and tops the freshman class with 23 total points (11G, 12A).
In goal, Nico Daws has appeared in 30 games this season. He's earned 18 victories including a league-high five shutouts. Daws carries the league's lowest goals-against average (GAA) of 2.28 and the highest save-percentage (SAV%) of .930. Freshman goaltender Owen Bennett has played in 23 games and posted a .887 SAV% with a 3.73 GAA. Bennett has been credited with nine victories in the campaign thus far.
NHL:Â Cam Hillis (Montreal Canadians) and Fedor Gordeev (Minnesota Wild) are the two players on the current Guelph roster with NHL ties. In addition, forwards Pavel Gogolev and Andrei Bakanov join defender Luke Profaca and both goaltenders on the NHL Central Scouting's Midterm Rankings for the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft. Nico Daws is ranked the top overall goaltender in North America and Owen Bennett is ranked 13thÂ across North America and second among draft-year netminders in the OHL.
12 notable Guelph Storm skaters to play in the NHL are Craig Anderson, Todd Bertuzzi, Tyler Bertuzzi, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan, Dan Cloutier, Drew Doughty, Aaron Downey, Robby Fabbri, Daniel Girardi, Manny Malhotra and Richard Panik.
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 contest will be aired across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channelÂ 468 for both Cogeco TV & 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.
Guelph Storm at Flint Firebirds
Date | Time Saturday, Feb. 15 | 7:00 p.m.
Location Flint, Mich.Â | Dort Federal Event Center (Directions)
Tickets Ticketmaster.comÂ | (810) 744-0580
Promotions - Flint Tropics Night
- 4 Night & 3 Night Stay Giveaway
- 500 Firebirds Branded Sunglasses (PFCU)
- Firebirds Tropical Themed Coozies (Dort Financial Credit Union)
TV - OHL Action Pak: Live Rogers ch. 467 & Cogeco ch. 467 (Ontario)
-Â Firebirds' Broadcast Coverage
Video Stream - FHN TV Pregame Show (6:30pm)
- 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)
Next Home Game Saturday,Â February 22nd: UAW / United Way Night
Social Media @FlintFirebirdsÂ Â |Â FacebookÂ Â |Â InstagramÂ
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Ontario Hockey League Stories from February 15, 2020
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- Game Preview: Guelph Storm vs. Flint Firebirds - Guelph Storm
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