PREVIEW: Firebirds Visit Otters in Erie on Saturday Night
ERIE, Pa. – The Firebirds arrive in northwest Pennsylvania on the heels of back-to-back losses, a skid that follows a hot stretch and a six-game point streak. Up next is a Saturday night road battle with the Erie Otters as they try and get back into the win column. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Erie Insurance Arena.
LAST TIME OUT: The Firebirds jumped out to the early 1-0 lead in Guelph last night when Matthew Wang ripped a rebound past one of the league’s top goaltenders, Brayden Gillespie, for his second OHL goal. The Storm charged back with two early markers in the second period before Nolan Dann collected his 100th career point and fifth tally of the season. Then the Storm scored one power-play goal that came in the midst of four consecutive Flint penalties and held on for the 3-2 win. Tristan Bertucci assisted on both of the Birds goals and Nathan Day stopped 26 of 29 shots faced in another impressive outing.
SERIES HISTORY: Saturday is the second meeting of the season between Flint and Erie. They previously faced one another on November 3 at the Dort Financial Center, when the Otters took the 4-3 victory in a shootout. The Firebirds all-time mark versus Erie stands at 19-10-2-3, including a 10-4-0-2 mark in away contests. Last season the Birds won three of four meetings.
NOTEWORTHY TIDBITS: Four of the five longest point streaks in the OHL this season belong to players on these two teams, although none of the streaks remain active. Flint’s Hayes strung together the second-longest point streak among any player in the league this season with 12 games (10 G, 7 A). Erie’s Carey Terrance (9 G, 8 A) and Firebirds captain Zacharie Giroux (8 G, 9 A) each made it to 11 contests. Finally, Malcolm Spence from the Otters scored twice and chipped in 11 helpers across a ten-game streak.
SCOUTING THE OTTERS: (8-7-2-0, 4th Midwest Division) –
Terrance paces the field in scoring for Erie, leading the club in goals (11) and total points (20) through 16 games played. He’s tied for the seventh-most goals scored this season. Martin Misiak ranks second with a balanced nine goals and nine assists through 17 tilts, and is tied with the fourth-most power-play tallies with five on the season. Three players sit tied for third on the club with 15 points apiece, consisting of Pano Fimis (6 G, 9 A), Ondrej Molnar (5 G, 10 A), and Spence (2 G, 13 A).
Between the pipes, Ben Gaudreau has appeared in 13 games this season, earning 9 victories and posting a 3.39 goals-against average (GAA) with a .892 save percentage (SV%). His nine wins have him in a three-way tie for the most in the league. Rookie Jacob Gibbons has five appearances to date and carries a 7.32 GAA with a .742 SV%.
The Otters rank 20th on the penalty kill, finding success at a 69.1% clip. Their power play, however, is third-best in the OHL scoring on 28.6% of their chances.
SCOUTING THE FIREBIRDS: (7-8-1-1, 3rd West Division) –
Toronto Maple Leafs prospect and overager Braeden Kressler remains atop the leaderboard for Flint. He’s scored nine times and assisted on another ten markers for 19 points in 13 games. Giroux now ranks second with 18 points (8 G, 10 A) through 16 games played. Hayes, a Chicago Blackhawks prospect, is third with 17 points (10 G, 7 A) in 14 contests. He’s tied for the ninth-most tallies in the OHL and his +14 plus/minus rating is tied for fifth.
In net, Nathan Day has six wins through 15 appearances. His goals against average now stands at 4.13 and he carries a save percentage of .862. Rookie Jacob Brown has one win in four appearances and sports a 4.90 GAA and an .830 SV%.
The Firebirds power play ranks 19th in the OHL, scoring on 11.1% of their chances. The penalty kill is 13th at 79.1% overall and tenth in road games at 82.1%.
BROADCAST COVERAGE: This evening’s game against the Erie Otters 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 6:45 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’s road trip ends with a final stop in London Friday before returning to home ice on Saturday, November 18 when the Owen Sound Attack comes to town for the first time this season. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Dort Financial Center, and tickets are available online from ETIX.com.
Story: Brandon Mills // flintfirebirds.com