Sarnia, Ont. – The first-place Flint Firebirds visit Sarnia for game two of a three-in-a-row series versus the Sting Friday evening. Puck drop is set for 7:05 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 ranked at number 10. Flint enters Friday’s tilt atop the West Division and first in the 10-team Western Conference with a 29-14-1-3 record. They’re 7-1-1-1 in their past ten and have picked up points in nine-straight tilts. The Sting carry an overall record of 19-19-3-1 and rank fourth in the West Division. They’re 5-5-0-0 in their past 10. On home ice this season the Sting carry a 6-12-2-1 record and the Firebirds have the best road record in the OHL at 18-5-1-2.
Friday marks the fifth of eight meetings between these clubs this season, and the third of four games to be played in Sarnia. All-time, Flint is 22-19-1-0 against the Sting, and are 9-13-0-0 at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena.
The last time these teams met was Monday for a Family Day afternoon tilt. Flint picked up their 19th victory of the season by a final score of 7-3. Flint Captain Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) skated in his 100th career OHL game, and recorded a goal and assist to hit 99 career points. Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks) had two goals, Amadeus Lombardi had three assists, and Simon Slavicek posted a goal and assist. Luke Cavallin made 26 saves on 29 shots for his 23rd win between the pipes. Nolan DeGurse led the Sting with a two-point night (1 G, 1 A).
On special teams this season Flint’s penalty-kill ranks third in the league, finding success at a rate of 84.4%. 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 14.8%, and the Firebirds are 14th scoring at a 19.0% clip.
Players to Watch:
Flint Firebirds (29-14-1-3, 1st West Division):
Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) ranks first on the team and ranks second in the league with 34 goals. Othmann also has 32 assists for 66 total points in 45 games. He’s tied for third in shorthanded goals (3) and tied for the sixth-most points. Veteran forward Riley Piercey sits second in scoring and now has 21 goals and 26 helpers through 42 games. Amadeus Lombardi ranks third with 16 tallies and 28 helpers through 46 contests. Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks) continues to pace ahead of a point-per-game, and now has 24 points (13 G, 11 A) in 21 games played.
Flint’s top rookie 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 second-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, 26 A) in 46 contests. His 16 power-play assists are tied for fifth-most among OHL defenders. Rookie defender Tristan Bertucci is tied for eighth among OHL defensemen and second among OHL rookies with a plus/minus rating of ‘+19.’
In net, Luke Cavallin has appeared in 38 games this season, which is the second-most by any netminder in the OHL. He has 23 wins and two shutouts, which are the second-most victories and tied for the fourth-most shutouts in the league to date. He carries a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.28 and his save percentage (SV%) .907. His save percentage is the eighth-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 (19-19-3-1, 4th West Division):
Ty Voit (Toronto Maple Leafs) tops the Sting in scoring with 53 points (13 G, 40 A) through 41 games played this season. He ranks eighth in the OHL in total assists. Nolan Burke ranks second overall in points with 45, comprised of 26 goals and 19 helpers in 42 contests. Nolan Dann sits third with 20 tallies and 19 helpers in 40 games.
Bloomfield, Mich. Native Ryan Mast (Boston Bruins) is tied atop the group of defenders for the Sting with Ethan Ritchie. Mast has six goals and 11 assists in 33 games, and Ritchie has seven tallies and 10 helpers through 39 contests. Ritchie enters Friday’s tilt on a five-game point streak (3 G, 5 A). Max Namestnikov tops the Stings freshman class with seven goals and 17 assists.
Sarnia is backstopped by two netminders with NHL ties. Benjamin Gaudreau (San Jose Sharks) has 14 wins in 27 appearances. He carries a 3.36 goals-against average (GAA) along with a .902 save-percentage (SV%), which is twelfth-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.
Friday evening’s contest against the Sarnia Sting 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 6:45 p.m. (ET) Friday evening.
The game will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 467 (4467 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 return to the friendly confines of the Dort Financial Center for a pair of exciting home games this weekend, beginning Saturday night when they host the Sting to complete the three-game series. Saturday’s tilt is themed Flint Generals Night, sponsored by Lewis Tree Service. The Firebirds will wear special throwback uniforms honoring the former team that used to call the Dort Financial Center (then Perani Arena and Event Center & IMA). There will be a postgame jersey auction to follow the conclusion of the game by Tim Narhi Auctioneer & Associates, LLC. Additionally, several Flint Generals Alumni will be in attendance for a pre-game Meet & Greet on the concourse. All tickets for Flint Generals Night can be purchased on ETIX HERE or at the Dort Financial Center Box Office.
Sunday, February 27th will be Family ‘FUN’day when the Firebirds host the Erie Otters. Additionally, it is our “Talk Today” game sponsored by Genesee Health Systems and there will be tables set up around the concourse from local agencies bringing awareness to Mental Health & the services offered. Also, face painters and balloon twisters will be available on the concourse during the game. All purchased adult tickets are eligible to have up to TWO FREE kids tickets. All tickets for Family ‘FUN’day can be purchased on ETIX HERE or at the Dort Financial Center Box Office.
Story: Brandon Mills / flintfirebirds.com
For more information, contact:
Jack SznewajsDirector of Broadcasting & CommunicationsFlint Firebirds Hockey Clubjack@flintfirebirds.com(810) 742-2004 ext. 223