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 Flint Firebirds

Series Shifts to Flint for Game 3 on Tuesday

April 2, 2024 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Flint Firebirds News Release

FLINT, Mich. - The Firebirds entered the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference, matching them against the top-seeded London Knights. Despite entering Tuesday's matchup trailing 2-0 in the best-of-seven series with the OHL's best team during the regular season, Flint remained within striking distance through all 60 minutes of the first couple of games at Budweiser Gardens. Now, with the home crowd on their side, the Birds look to get into the win column and extend the series on Tuesday. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the Dort Financial Center.

SERIES SUMMARY: On Friday, Michael Simpson posted 23 saves in his first postseason shutout, and Kaleb Lawrence scored his first two playoff goals before an empty-netter sealed a 3-0 win for the Knights. On Easter Sunday, the Firebirds erased a London lead twice and remained tied 4-4 until the final three minutes of play. Oliver Bonk capitalized on a late power play, and the Knights found the empty net late again, which resulted in an eventual 6-4 win.

The Knights are led on the playoff scoresheet with a four-way tie between Kaleb Lawrence (2 G, 1 A), Denver Barkey (1 G, 2 A), Easton Cowan (1 G, 2 A), and Max McCue (1 G, 2 A). Oliver Peer leads the Firebirds with two goals and an assist, followed by Tristan Bertucci with two points (2 A). Nathan Day has combined for 50 saves on 57 shots across both contests, while overager and London native Michael Simpson has stopped 41 of 45 shots in the Knights net.

NHL TALENT ROSTER: London's roster features ten players, seven forwards, and three defensemen, who have been drafted or signed by NHL teams. Two players were taken in the first round of the NHL Draft; Easton Cowan (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Oliver Bonk (Philadelphia Flyers) were each drafted in the first round in 2023. Flint has three NHL drafted players on its roster; Coulson Pitre (Anaheim Ducks), Tristan Bertucci (Dallas Stars) and Nathan Day (Edmonton Oilers).

POWERED UP: Both Flint and London relied on the power play during Game 2 on Sunday afternoon as each unit went 3-for-5 with a man advantage. Flint had been 0-for-4 in Game 1 while London went 0-for-2. The Knights had the league's best power play in the regular season at 32.6%. Flint's power play ranked 17th at 16.6%.

PLAYOFF HISTORY: The Firebirds have made the playoffs three straight seasons and four total times. They made it to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals in 2022 before falling to the Saginaw Spirit in the seventh game of the opening round in 2023. This is only the second time across six total playoff series that Flint has dropped both of the first two road games. They've won at least one of the first two home games five out of six times. London won the J. Ross Robertson Cup as the OHL Champions in 2005, 2012, 2013, and 2016 and went on to win the Memorial Cup in both 2005 and 2016.

REGULAR SEASON CHAMPS: London won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy this year by finishing with the OHL's best regular season record, the seventh time in franchise history they have done so. Goaltenders Michael Simpson and Owen Willmore also received the Dave Pinkney Trophy for allowing the lowest number of goals against.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Knights had the second-highest goals for (4.74) and lowest goals against (2.90) per game in the OHL in the regular season...

Nathan Aspinall scored on the power play in Game 2 to tie the game at four. It was his first career OHL playoff goal... The OHL announced the finalists the Red Tilson Trophy, which is awarded to the league's Most Outstanding Player, on Monday. Coulson Pitre was the Flint nominee while Easton Cowan was nominated for London... With his three-point performance in London on Sunday, Oliver Peer joined a short list of Firebirds to tie for the second-most points in a single playoff game in franchise history...

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

All of the Flint Firebirds home and away games throughout the postseason can be watched anywhere in the world online at

UP NEXT: The Firebirds are back in action on home ice Thursday for Game 4. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m., and tickets are available from ETIX.COM.

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