Flint, Mich. - For the second time this season, the Flint Firebirds have knocked-off the CHL's number-one ranked team. On Nov. 15, Flint posted a 5-3 victory over then top-ranked, Sarnia Sting. Tonight, the Firebirds earned a 4-2 triumph over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, a team that came to Flint with a 29-1-0-1 record in the last 31 games.
The Firebirds scored an even-strength goal, a power-play goal, a short-handed goal and an empty-net goal en-route to victory Saturday night. Ty Dellandrea scored two goals to earn first star honors. Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) also earned a goal and an assist, earning second star.’ Between-the-pipes, Garrett Forrest stopped 26 of 28 shots from the high-powered Soo offense. Jalen Smereck and Maurizio Colella each extended their point-streaks to six games. Riley McCourt also earned a two-point night. The Firebirds have now scored at least one power-play goal in ten of their past 11 games. On the penalty kill, the ‘Birds kept the league’s number one ranked power-play off the board, successfully stopping them on all four of the man-advantage situations.
Tim Gettinger (New York Rangers) started the scoring for the Greyhounds six minutes into the first period. While shorthanded, Gettinger was able to find a loose puck and break up the left-wing wall. In the midst of a 2-on-1, Gettinger scored short-side, from the top of the left circle, past Forrest for the early lead. Hayden Verbeek and Rasmus Sandin were credited with the assists.
Leading 1-0 after 20 minutes, the Greyhounds also led in shots 14-12.
Ty Dellandrea scored his first-of-two on the night and 16th of the season also short-handed. In similar form to the first goal of the game, Dellandrea broke up a passing-play and sped up the left-wing wall into the Greyhounds' zone. What looked to be a 2-on-1, Dellandrea created a breakaway around the defenseman and scored on a 'backhand-forehand' type goal past Matthew Villalta.
After assisting on Dellandrea's goal, Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs) earned Flint the lead. At 9:01 of the second period, Gordeev skated up the right-wing into the Greyhounds' zone before finding an opening short-side past Villalta. Then, while on the power-play, Dellandrea scored his second of the night from the top of the right-circle on a slapshot, shortside. Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) and Riley McCourt picked up the man-advantage assists with 1:19 remaining in the middle-frame.
Flint outshot Sault Ste. Marie 14-2 in the second period and was leading 3-1 after 40 minutes.
The Greyhounds' Boris Katchouk (Tampa Bay Lightning) brought the game within one at 1:36 of the third period, scoring from the right-side of the crease past a diving Forrest. However, Connor Roberts sealed the deal with an empty-net goal with 1:10 remaining in the contest.
The Firebirds finished with a three-period shot-total of 33-28 over the Greyhounds on the night. Despite it being the fifth victory for the Flint over the Greyhounds since 2015, it was the first time the Firebirds earned a victory over Sault Ste. Marie while in Flint.
Next up for Flint, the Firebirds will face-off against the Windsor Spitfires Sunday afternoon. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m. at the WFCU Centre in Windsor. The game can be heard live on US 103.1 FM in Flint & Mid-Michigan with pre-game coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon's game will also be televised live in Windsor on YourTV channel 11 / 700 (HD) for Cogeco TV cable subscribers and across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 440 for Rogers TV cable subscribers and channel 481 for Cogeco TV cable subscribers.
The Firebirds will return home to face the Kitchener Rangers this Saturday, Jan. 27.
(story courtesy of Dominic Hennig)
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