Firebirds Drop Preseason Opener at Windsor, 5-3
WINDSOR, Ont. – The Flint Firebirds jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period but the Windsor Spitfires responded with four unanswered goals and went on to defeat the Firebirds, 5-3, in the preseason opener on Friday night at the WFCU Centre.
Despite an early flurry of chances for Windsor, it was the Firebirds who struck first. With just over six minutes gone in the opening period, Flint cycled the puck through the attacking zone and Marko Stojkov lofted a wrist shot from the left point that sailed through traffic and beat a screened Carter Froggett, giving the Firebirds a 1-0 lead.
Just past the halfway point of the first, Alex Bradshaw put a shot on net that Froggett stopped but the rebound popped back to the trailing Owen Pitters. Pitters flung a shot on net but Froggett lunged to make the save and cover. However, Flint won the ensuing faceoff back to Pitters who skated the puck to the edge of the left circle. He and snapped a wrist shot high past Froggett to make it 2-0.
Windsor cut into that lead late in the first period with a power play goal. Colton Smith carried the puck along the right wing boards and fed Carson Woodall at the blue line. He lofted a wrist shot that navigated the screen in front of the net and got past Nathan Day, cutting the Firebirds lead to 2-1.
One minute later, Flint coughed the puck up in the neutral zone and the Spitfires sprung Aidan Castle for an odd-man rush down the right wing. He snapped a shot low on the short side and the game was tied at two.
Windsor grabbed its first lead of the game in the second with another strike on the power play. Kyler Morgan controlled the puck below the goal line and fed Smith in front of the net, who slid a pass to the back door where Jack Nesbitt guided it past Day to make the score 3-2.
The Spits struck again minutes later as Castle burned down the left wing and got the edge on the Flint defense. He extended his stick and hit the trailing Ryan Abraham for a one-timer that pushed the Windsor lead to 4-2.
But the Birds answered in the waning moments of the second period when Rylan Fellinger blasted a shot wide from the point. It bounced off the end boards and Zacharie Giroux grabbed it and tucked it into the net to bring Flint back within one.
Windsor extended the lead back to two in the third. Nesbitt took the puck along the right wing boards and hit Morgan loose in the slot. He slung a snap shot top shelf past Day and the Spitfires pushed the score to its 5-3 final.
Giroux, Stokjov and Pitters each scored and Day made 23 saves on 28 shots faced in net. The Firebirds outshot the Spitfires, 39-28, in the losing effort.
Flint and Windsor will meet again on Sunday afternoon for the Firebirds lone home game of the preseason. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. at Flint Iceland Arena. Admission is free for season membership holders and general admission tickets will be on sale at the door for $10, cash only.
2023-24 Season Memberships remain on sale! Memberships start as low as $408 for the full season. Benefits for full-season membership holders include FREE parking ($340 value), $102 of ticket savings for all of the 2023-24 season, (4) complimentary tickets to regular-season games in Saginaw, (2) buddy vouchers to bring a friend to any Firebirds’ game, any game unused ticket redemption and an exclusive invitation to team and player events.
Single-game Tickets are on sale NOW! on Etix.com and at the Dort Financial Center Box Office. The box office is back to its regular scheduled business hours from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Continue to follow @FlintFirebirds on all social media channels to learn more about team movement, ticket sales, promotions, giveaways, and MORE ahead of the 2023-24 season.