November 11, 2022 – Ontario Hockey League (OHL) – Flint Firebirds Press Release
Flint, Mich. – The Firebirds saw a two-goal lead slip away before Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs) broke the late tie with the winning count, earning “First Star” honors for his two runs (1 G, 1A) exertion. Three defensemen scored for Flint, including Tristan Bertucci who was named the game’s “second star” with two points (1 G, 1 A) of his own. The Greyhounds were led by Bryce McConnell-Barker’s two-goal performance. Will Cranley (St. Louis Blues) got the start in net for the Firebirds, and it was Samuel Ivanov who made his eighth appearance between the posts for the Hounds. Cranley earned his sixth win with a 29-save performance, while Ivanov turned aside 37 shots.
A pair of Flint defenders gave the Firebirds a 2-0 lead. First it was Tyler Deline throwing a shot into traffic from the right spot, then crashing into the net to chase his own rebound. Between the hash marks, he buried the puck-blocking side for his second of the season at 2:34. Simon Slavicek and Alex Bradshaw combined for assists on the count.
Less than two minutes later, Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg Jets) foiled a Greyhounds punt attempt at the blue line and sent the puck through the area to Deline on the right side. Deline fed Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs) on the right wing half boards as Kuzmin insisted on the play. goalkeeper before lifting a backhand under the crossbar for his second of the year at 4:17.
Sault Ste. Marie got on the power play two minutes after Kuzmin’s goal, and New York Rangers prospect Bryce McConnell-Barker scored on a wrist shot from the top of the left circle at 6:35. It was his eighth goal of the campaign, assisted by Kirill Kudryavtsev (Vancouver Canucks) and Kalvyn Watson.
With less than a minute left in the first half and both teams in the middle of a line change, Marko Stojkov saw Tristan Bertucci all alone on the left wing boards and hit him with a pass in stride. Bertucci touched the bottom of the left circle before firing a wide-angle wrist that hit the string on the other side just under Ivanov’s glove. Bertucci’s second of the season was taped at 7:10 p.m. Riley Piercey added the secondary assist and in doing so collected his 100th career point in a Firebirds uniform, becoming the ninth bird in history to do so.
Flint led 3-1 after 20 minutes and held the shot clock advantage 17-11. The Birds also beat the Hounds 12-7. In power, Sault Ste. Marie went 1-on-1 as the Firebirds were scoreless on their only chance.
The Greyhounds were given another power-play opportunity beyond the five-minute mark from the middle frame, and this time they were able to put a flurry of shots on Cranley. The Flint goalie made several great saves during the two-minute minor to help the shorthanded get the job done and hold on to the two-goal lead.
The Soo pulled back in just one goal at 14:01 on an even-strength goal from Tyler Savard. Mark Duarte completed the set-up pass behind Flint’s net to Savard low in the left circle. He lifted a shot just over Cranley’s right shoulder for his third of the season, with assists from Duarte and Justin Cloutier.
Neither team converted on their only chance for a power play midway through the period. The shots even ended at 14 per team. Face-offs favored Flint 18-7.
The Firebirds started the third period with a carried power play and capitalized for a 4-2 lead at 1:22. Tristan Bertucci crossed the offensive zone for Amadeus Lombardi (Detroit Red Wings) at the top of the left circle. Lombardi carried to the center of the circle before raising a wrist just above Ivanov’s blocker for his seventh of the campaign, assisted by Bertucci and Coulson Pitre.
Then the Greyhounds scored two goals over the next five and a half minutes. First, Daylen Moses carried past the penalty boxes and across the blue line before dropping the puck for a serial winger. Jordan D’Intino picked up the puck and cut in the middle of the zone before putting it to the low wrist on the side of the glove for his third of the season at 4:49. Moses and Caeden Carlisle combined for the assists. Then Bryce McConnell-Barker scored his second of the night in a 4-on-4 game at 6:39. The assists were credited to Carlisle and Watson.
The score remained level and bad blood resurfaced as several players had to be separated after whistles late in the game. When the Birds were about to go on another power play in the final four minutes of the game, head coach Ted Dent opted to use his timeout. Shortly after play resumed, Kuzmin faked a slapper from the right point and instead opted to pass to Kressler inside the left circle. Kressler’s pinpoint shot lit the lamp at 16:59 for his ninth of the season, assisted by Kuzmin and Lombardi.
The Greyhounds would use their timeout moments later, then pull Ivanov off the bench for the extra forward for the final 2:15 of the game. Flint’s defense held off the attack with more help from Cranley, holding on for the 5-4 win. The final shots ended at 42-33 and the face-offs went 39-26, both in favor of the Birds. On special teams, Flint scored two power-play goals on five chances while limiting the Greyhounds to one goal on two chances with the man advantage.
Next up: The Firebirds return to home ice on Saturday as they host the Peterborough Petes for Military Appreciation Night, sponsored by Dort Financial Credit Union, DM Burr Group and The View Newspaper Group. All United States military veterans and active duty members will receive a FREE ticket to the game, courtesy of the event sponsors. A valid ID or credentials are required to receive your FREE ticket. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (ET) at the Dort Financial Center on Saturday night.
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