September 11, 2022 – Ontario Hockey League (OHL) – Flint Firebirds Press Release
Flint, Michigan — Flint kicked off the 2022 preseason with a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Spitfires on Friday night in Windsor. Now the stage is set for Game 2 in Flint. The puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. (ET) at Flint Iceland Arena on Sunday.
Newcomer Alex Bradshaw and returning forward Amadeus Lombardi (Detroit Red Wings) found the back of the net for the Birds on Friday. Will Cranley (St. Louis Blues) defended the net, making 32 saves on 37 shots from tilt. Flint went 1 for 3 on the power play and killed three of four successfully taken penalties. They also beat the Spits 30-23 but were outscored 37-31.
Players to watch:
Matthew Jenken, Flint’s first draft pick (17th overall) in the 2022 U-18 Draft was one of two defenders to make his debut in the navy blue and burnt orange jersey on Friday. He recorded a shot on net and two penalty minutes and was very active on both sides of the ice. Reed Gee, who was selected in the third round (46th overall) of the 2022 OHL Priority Draft, finished with a +1 rating and put on quality defensive plays throughout the game. Sophomore defenseman Luca D’Amato got an assist on his pass that released Lombardi for Flint’s second goal on Friday.
On Friday night, the Firebirds’ young forward squad included four rookies in Alex Bradshaw, Daks Klinkhammer, Kaden Pitre and Nathan Aspinall. Bradshaw generated a breakaway chance Friday and scored his own rebound to record Flint’s first goal of the 2022 preseason. Kaden Pitre recorded two shots on goal Friday and is the younger brother of returning winger Coulson , originally drafted by Windsor. Although Klinkhammer and Aspinall didn’t appear on the scoresheet, they both seemed comfortable playing at the OHL level.
The list of returning sophomores includes two guards, Ian Michelone and Nathaniel Day. Day dressed up as a replacement for Cranley on Friday but saw no ice time in the competition. Flint acquired another goalie by trading first-round pick (20th overall, 2021 OHL U18 Draft) Boe Piroski from the Niagara IceDogs on Thursday.
James Petrovski, Tristan Bertucci and Luca D’Amato are all returning sophomore guards who contributed to Flint’s most successful season in franchise history and are back to patrol the D-Zone. Up front, Samuel Assinewai, Ethan Hay, Ty Petrou and Owen Pitters made their season two debuts on Friday and all showed flashes of mid-season form a year ago.
NHL: The Firebirds now have six players on their roster with NHL ties consisting of Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs), Gavin Hayes (Chicago Blackhawks), Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers), Amadeus Lombardi (Detroit Red Wings), Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg Jets) and Will Cranley (St. Louis Blues).
Although Flint has only played six seasons in the OHL so far, Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina Hurricanes/Detroit Red Wings), Kole Sherwood (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ty Dellandrea (Dallas Stars) and Vladislav Kolyachonok (Arizona Coyotes) are four former Firebirds to play regular season games in the NHL. Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) and Firebirds alumnus Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks), Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit Red Wings) and Jalen Smereck (Arizona Coyotes) all played in NHL preseason competition. In total, the team has produced 24 players signed or drafted into the NHL.
Next up: The Firebirds return to Windsor for another exhibition against the Spitfires on Tuesday, September 20 at 7:05 p.m. Next, they will play a pair of games against the Saginaw Spirit to wrap up the 2022 pre-season. The first of two contests will be played at Saginaw on Friday, September 23 at 7:05 a.m. Flint’s final preseason tournament will return to Flint Iceland Arena on Saturday, September 24. General admission tickets are only $10 each and parking is free. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on the 24th.
The Flint Firebirds open the 2022-23 season at home Saturday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m. against the Niagara IceDogs. Season passes are on sale NOW starting at $12 per game or $408 for the full season. More information on how to become a member for the 2022-23 season can be found HERE. Additionally, single-match tickets will go on sale starting next week.
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