PREVIEW: Firebirds Seek Third-Straight Road Win on Sunday Afternoon in Kingston
KINGSTON, Ont. — The Firebirds roll into Kingston on Sunday afternoon having won back-to-back games against East Division opponents. They’ll try and make it three straight and a clean sweep of their road trip with the matinee puck drop against the Frontenacs. Game time is set for 2 p.m. at Leon’s Centre.
LAST TIME OUT: Marko Stojkov scored his first goal of the season in grand fashion, ending overtime with less than 30 seconds remaining and lifting the Firebirds to the 4-3 victory in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon. Kaden Pitre erased a 2-0 deficit for Flint with back-to-back goals, and Gavin Hayes secured the second spot on the Firebirds’ all-time scoring list with his team-leading 18th goal and an assist. Edmonton Oilers prospect Nathan Day made 26 saves on 29 shots for his 11th win of the campaign.
SERIES HISTORY: Flint holds an all-time record of 4-8-0-0 against the Frontenacs and a 3-3-0-0 mark in road games. Last year these clubs split the two-game series with a road win each. The Birds have won three consecutive away games at Leon’s Centre.
SCOUTING THE FRONTENACS: (11-13-1-0, 4th East Division) –
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Paul Ludwinski leads the Fronts on the scoresheet with 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points. Charleston, SC native Christopher Thibodeau ranks second with eight goals and 15 helpers. Tied for third are Matthew Soto (10 G, 11 A) and Linus Hemstrom (9 G, 12 A) with 21 points each.
Mason Vaccari has carried the majority of the workload in goal for Kingston, appearing in 23 games and earning 10 wins. His goals-against average is 3.66 and his save percentage is .888. JJ Salajko has one win through three appearances and rides a 5.19 GAA with a .810 SV%.
Kingston has the league’s sixth-best power play, scoring on 23.4% of their chances. When down a man they rank 14th with a 78.4% pace.
SCOUTING THE FIREBIRDS: (13-11-1-1, 3rd West Division) –
Hayes, a Chicago Blackhawks prospect, assumed the top spot on the scoresheet for the Birds with a two-point performance (1 G, 1 A) in Ottawa on Saturday. He’s scored a club-leading 18 times and contributed 15 helpers for 33 total points. Team captain Zacharie Giroux trails Hayes by one, now with 14 tallies and 18 assists. Braeden Kressler has 29 points (11 G, 18 A) in four fewer games played.
Day has appeared in 22 games for the Birds this year and is credited with 11 wins. He carries a 3.70 goals-against average with a .872 save percentage. Jacob Brown is credited with two wins in six appearances and his GAA sits at 4.32 with an .855 SV%.
The Birds rank 16th on the power play with a 14.6% success rate. The penalty kill is clicking at an 80.9% pace, which is good for eighth.
ODDS AND ENDS: Sunday’s contest is the third meeting with a foe from the East Division, where Flint has gone 2-0 this season… Kingston’s home record is 7-5-1-0 compared to Flint’s road mark of 10-5-0-0… The Fronts have a goal differential of -20 whereas the Birds are sitting at -5… Hayes now has 163 career points, the second-most by any player in franchise history… Day has wins in five of his last seven starts.
BROADCAST COVERAGE: This afternoon’s game against the Frontenacs 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 pre-game show at 1:45 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 returns home on Saturday, December 9 to host the Saginaw Spirit for another installment of the I-75 Divide Cup, presented by Coors Light. Saginaw holds a 3-1 advantage in the eight-game series. Tickets for the December 9 rivalry tilt are available now from ETIX.COM here.
Story: Brandon Mills // flintfirebirds.com