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Spitfires 3rd Period the Difference, Knock off Firebirds 6-3

January 16, 2022 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - Flint Firebirds News Release

Windsor, Ont. - The Firebirds and Spitfires came into this afternoon's matchup deadlocked in the standings at 36 points, despite the Spitfires being 3-0 against the Firebirds this season. With plenty on the line, both teams lived up to the billing and provided an exciting back-and-forth affair in front of a fanless WFCU Centre before Windsor ultimately prevailed with a three-goal 3rd Period. Luke Cavallin got the start in net for Flint and it was Detroit, Mich native Xavier Medina between the pipes for Windsor.

The Firebirds started things off. Brennan Othmann (NY Rangers) found Zacharie Giroux who skated through neutral ice, spun Spitfires defenseman, Louka Henault, into submission, found an open lane to the net from the slot and he buried it behind Medina 3:19 into the game to make it 1-0 Flint.

The Firebirds weren't done there. Brennan Othmann stole the puck from fellow Rangers prospect Will Cuylle at neutral ice to start a 3-on-2 the other way. Both Amadeus Lombardi and Coulson Pitre got touches on the odd-man rush before finding Othmann in the high slot who wired one upstairs to make it 2-0 Flint with just under eight minutes remaining in the opening frame.

The Spitfires were ready with the answer. Just 41 seconds later a turnover in the defensive end resulted in an easy cross-ice pass from Ethan Miedema to Alex Christopoulos who finished it off for his 4th goal of the year to make it 2-1. Then just over two minutes later Matthew Maggio picked up garbage duty in front of the net to tie things up with a powerplay goal assisted by Cuylle and Wyatt Johnston (Dallas Stars) to tie things up at 2. It remained tied at two after one with Windsor outshooting Flint 13-7 and the Birds outdrawing the Spits 13-8.

The 2nd Period started with the perfect response from Flint. Riley Piercey was tied up at the blue line but was able to send one in along the wall. Tyler Deline picked up the puck with a burst of speed and sent it cross-ice on the backhand where Brennan Othmann buried his 2nd of the game just 16 seconds into the frame to give Flint the lead back 3-2.

After a back and forth next 10 minutes of play, the Spitfires picked up their fourth man-advantage of the game. With seconds remaining on the powerplay, some nifty passing from Cuylle and Johnston resulted in a wide-open Pasquale Zito (Detroit Red Wings) in the near-side circle who roofed one behind Cavallin to things up at three with 9:14 remaining in the 2nd. A back-and-forth affair remained deadlocked after two periods of play. Flint outshot Windsor 11-10 and outdrew them 11-8 in the face-off circle in the middle stanza.

The final period got off to a less than ideal start. After Othmann blocked three consecutive shots on the opening shift, the Spitfires took advantage of zone time and Pasquale Zito found paydirt high to the glove side of Cavallin to give Windsor their first lead of the game with 18:06 remaining. Andrew Perrott picked up the lone assist on the 4-3 goal.

Windsor wasn't done there. The top line did damage once again as Will Cuylle cycled the zone to find an oncoming Matt Maggio in the high slot who ripped one home giving the Spitfires a 5-3 lead with 14:20 left in the game. The Firebirds wouldn't lay down as they swarmed in the Spitfires end in the six minutes to follow, but were unable to solve Medina. The Spitfires put the nail in the coffin with just over three minutes left as Christopher O'Flaherty picked up the loose puck off a Perrott shot with 3:07 remaining and put it into an open net to make it 6-3 with 3:07 left.

Next Up: The Firebirds road trip continues as they take on another one of the Western Conference bests teams. Puck drop vs. the Guelph Storm is set for Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. (ET) at the Sleeman Centre.

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