PREVIEW: Firebirds in Action on Friday in Oshawa
OSHAWA, Ont. — The Firebirds begin the final 20-game stretch of the regular season with a pair of games across the border this weekend. First up is a battle against the Oshawa Generals who sit atop the East Division rankings. Puck drop is set for 7:35 p.m. at the Tribute Communities Centre.
LAST TIME OUT: The first-place London Knights buried the Firebirds 9-2 in a highly physical affair at the Dort Financial Center on Wednesday. Nathan Aspinall and Nolan Dann each scored, but the Knights were powered by Ruslan Gazizov’s hat trick and a 23-save performance by Michael Simpson.
SERIES HISTORY: Friday’s game is the second of two games between these organizations this season and is the lone contest scheduled at the Tribute Communities Centre. The Generals won the first tilt 10-2 at the Dort Financial Center on January 6. Flint’s all-time record versus Oshawa stands at 5-7-0-0 and they’re 2-3-0-0 on the road in the series.
SCOUTING THE GENERALS: (26-17-4-2, 1st East Division) –
Colorado Avalanche prospect Calum Ritchie leads Oshawa in assists (38) and total points (56) through only 32 games played. He currently rides a nine-game point streak over which he’s accumulated seven goals and 14 assists. Overager Stuart Rolofs has the most goals with 27 and is at an even 49 points in 49 games. Dylan Roobroeck is third with 15 goals and 32 helpers across 49 contests.
Jacob Oster is tied for the second-most wins in goal (22) including two shutouts through 42 appearances this season. He carries the OHL’s second-lowest goals-against average at 2.92 and his save percentage is a .904. Rookie Noah Bender has four wins in nine appearances with a 2.98 GAA and a .901 SV%.
The Generals have the 11th-best power play with a 20.6% rate of success. The penalty kill is getting the job done 81.2% of the time, which is good for fifth.
SCOUTING THE FIREBIRDS: (19-25-3-1, 4th West Division) –
Overager Oliver Peer remains red-hot and now has 59 points (28 G, 31 A) through 47 games played. He’s scored the first goal of the game eight times this season, which leads the league. Anaheim Ducks prospect Coulson Pitre and overager Nolan Dann are tied for second with 45 points apiece. Pitre has 22 goals plus 23 assists and Dann’s at 19 tallies with 26 helpers.
Nathan Day has 17 wins through 41 appearances in net this season. His goals-against average is 3.93 he has a save percentage of .859. Rookie Jacob Brown has a 4.82 GAA and an .836 SV% with two wins in 10 games.
The Firebirds have the 17th-ranked power play in the OHL with a 16.7% success rate. Their penalty kill is 12th and operates at a 77.8% clip.
ODDS & ENDS: Of the final 20 regular-season games, the Firebirds will play 12 home and eight on the road. Four remaining contests are against Sarnia who currently sit one point ahead of Flint in the West Division and Western Conference standings, and another four are against Windsor who are nine points behind the Birds… The Firebirds are 3-1-2-0 this year when facing opponents from the East Division and 14-10-1-0 across all road games. Oshawa’s home record sits at 14-9-2-1.
BROADCAST COVERAGE: This evening’s game against the Oshawa Generals 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. Brian Gardner will call the play-by-play action on the Firebirds Hockey Network starting with the pregame show at 7:20 p.m.
All of the Flint Firebirds home and away games throughout the 2023-24 season can be watched anywhere in the world online at https://watch.chl.ca/ohl.
COMING UP: Flint finalizes the two-game road swing in Brantford with their first meeting with the Bulldogs since their relocation from Hamilton. The next home game is next Wednesday versus the Sarnia Sting for a special Valentine’s Day Buy One, Get One FREE game next Wednesday. More details are available on flintfirebirds.com and tickets are available from ETIX.COM HERE.
Story: Brandon Mills // flintfirebirds.com