Firebirds Earn Point vs. Saginaw Wednesday, Clinch Spot in OHL PlayoffsFlint, Mich. – The Flint Firebirds erased two, two-goal deficits to the Saginaw Spirit Wednesday night, forcing a shootout to earn a point in the Western Conference standings. The one point clinched the Firebirds’ first-ever berth in the OHL Playoffs in just Flint’s second season in the Ontario Hockey League.
Three-Game Playoff Package and individual game tickets are on sale now! To secure your seat for the Firebirds’ playoff run call Kevin Mays at (810) 744.0580 ext. 223, email email@example.com, or visit the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office. Don’t miss out on watching the Firebirds make their first run for the J. Ross Robertson Cup! Season ticket holders receive free parking in addition to a limited edition playoff T-shirt when purchasing a three-game package.
Matthew Kreis opened the scoring for the Spirit when he scored his 11th goal of the season after he centered a pass that caromed off a Firebirds’ skate and into the net at 12:20 of the first period. Flint trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes of play.
Saginaw doubled their lead 4:43 into the second period when Kris Bennett buried his 23rd goal of the season, knocking the puck out of mid-air past Connor Hicks in the slot.
Everett Clark put the Firebirds on the board less than three minutes later after he fired in a rebound from the slot. C.J. Clarke cranked a one-timer from the right-circle that was saved by the right-pad of Evan Cormier (New Jersey Devils), but the rebound kicked-out to Clark in the slot who backhanded the puck past a diving Cormier for his 14th goal of the season.
The Spirit regained their two-goal lead again when Marcus Crawford netted his fourth goal of the season on the power-play. Crawford cranked a slap-shot from the point that beat Connor Hicks glove-side at 12:15.
Ty Dellandrea cut the deficit to one-goal after he redirected a shot from Hakon Nilsen at the right-point. Dellandrea beat Cormier glove-side for his 13th tally of the season as a rookie.
Flint scored 50 seconds later when Nicholas Caamano (Dallas Stars) scored his 30th goal of the season on the power-play. In similar fashion to Flint’s first goal, Mathieu Henderson rifled a one-timer from the right-point that was saved by Cormier, but Caamano corralled the rebound and tapped the into the net. After assisting on the play, Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets) has racked-up 47 points (20G, 28A) in his past 25 games. The two clubs were tied 3-3 after two periods of play.
Ryan Moore earned the Firebirds their first lead of the game when he scored his 39th goal of the season after Alex Peters fed him a pass backdoor. Moore fired a shot that beat Cormier five-hole at 14:28. Moore’s goal earned him 20 goals in the last 25 games
Saginaw knotted-up the game 1:39 later when Bennett buried his second goal of the night after he tipped-in Crawford’s shot from the slot.
The game was tied 4-4 after 60 minutes of play and needed extra time to determine a winner. After trading chances in overtime, the Firebirds and Spirit remained tied forcing a shootout for the sixth time in 16 games between the two clubs. Gilmour scored the first goal in the shootout after he fired a shot glove-side from the slot. Caamano tied the shootout 1-1 after he went backhand-forehand to beat a diving Cormier. Crawford scored the eventual game-winning goal by firing a wrist-shot from the left-circle, over the left-shoulder of Hicks to earn the Spirit a 5-4 victory.
Saginaw outshot the Firebirds 43-41. Flint was one-for-seven on the power-play and were three-for-four on the penalty kill. Sherwood earned second star honors after tallying two assists. Hicks made 39 saves on 43 shots.
After the game, the Firebirds were awarded the I-75 Divide Cup, presented by Coors Light for the second consecutive season.
Upcoming Home Games:
The Flint Firebirds return to the Dort Federal Event Center this Saturday, Mar. 11 against the Kitchener Rangers. Saturday is “Overager Night” where Firebirds’ Everett Clark, Mathieu Henderson and Alex Peters will be recognized prior to the game. Additionally, Saturday is “Faith Night,” featuring performances by the Ebeneezer Ministries Choir and Lydia Seal as well as an uplifting message from Pastor JD Wiegand from the Freedom Center following the game.
Single game tickets for the Flint Firebirds 2016-17 season are $12 for Bronze, $15 for Silver, $19 for Gold and $25 for VIP seating. All seats are reserved / assigned seating. Parking has been reduced to $5 dollars which is new this season. Fans can purchase tickets at the Dort Federal Event Center Box Office or online by clicking ticketmaster.com.