Windsor, Ont. – The Firebirds split Games 1 & 2 on the road in the Western Conference Finals, and then returned to home ice and split Games 3 & 4. Now the series swings back to Windsor for a pivotal Game 5 Sunday. Fans are encouraged to travel with the Firebirds on the 81-mile drive from arena to arena. Puck drop is set for 7:05 (ET) on the eve of Memorial Day in the United States. Tickets for Game 5 in Windsor are available HERE. Be sure to know the requirements when crossing the border by checking HERE.
On Friday, the Firebirds came close to another come-from-behind victory in Game 4 in front of a sold-out Dort Financial Center in Flint. They trailed 3-0 for the third time in as many games before scoring two power-play tallies. Luke Cavallin shut out the Spits for 40 minutes after that, but an empty-netter sealed the deal for Windsor in the final minute. Gavin Hayes and Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs) scored for the Firebirds. Mathias Onuska logged his tenth playoff victory with 28 saves on 30 shots, while Luke Cavallin turned aside 34 of 37 shots against.
Flint entered the 2022 playoffs ranked third in the Western Conference and second in the West Division with a regular-season record of 42-21-1-4. The Spitfires made a huge push in the final 15 games, winning 13 in a row and winning both the West Division and the Western Conference titles. Windsor finished the regular season with a 44-17-4-3 record. On the road this year, Flint posted the OHL’s best record of 24-7-1-2. The Spits’ final home record was 25-7-1-1, which was the second-best in the league. All-time, the Firebirds carry a regular-season record of 13-22-1-1 versus Windsor with a road record of 4-13-1-1.
In the four games between these clubs in the Western Conference Finals so far, Amadeus Lombardi and Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs) each have four points to lead the way for Flint. Matthew Maggio sits atop the stat sheet for the Spits with four goals and two assists. Wyatt Johnston (Dallas Stars) has five points (2 G, 3 A) and both Will Cuylle (New York Rangers) and Michael Renwick have four. Cuylle has three tallies and one helper and Renwick has a goal and three assists. Mathias Onuska and Luke Cavallin each have a pair of victories head-to-head this postseason.
On special teams, the Firebirds rank third of the four teams who advanced to the Conference Semifinals with a 19.1% conversion rate on the power play. The Spitfires rank fourth at 14.7%. Flint had the league’s best penalty kill in the 68-game regular season, and now ranks second of the four semifinalists with an 82.7% kill rate. Windsor ranks third, killing penalties at a 79.7% clip.
Players to Watch
Flint Firebirds (42-21-1-4, 3rd Western Conference):
Through 16 playoff games to date, the Firebirds are led by Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers) with eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points. Othmann led his troops with 50 goals and 97 total points in the regular season. He currently ranks fifth in playoff assists and total points, and he leads the OHL in game-winning tallies (5) in the postseason. Amadeus Lombardi ranks second on the club with 14 points (6 G, 8 A) in 16 games. Lombardi also finished second in the regular season, with 59 points (18 G, 41 A) in 67 games. Rookie Gavin Hayes ranks third with 12 points (5 G, 7 A). Hayes has the most points of any rookie among the four teams that made the semifinals, and he’s second in goals and assists. His three power-play goals are the most in the freshman class, as well.
Behind Hayes is a defenseman Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg Jets) with 11 points, which are all assists. He ranks first in assists and points among defenders. Kuzmin’s six assists on the power play are second-most. Rookie Coulson Pitre (6 G, 3 A) and defenseman Tyler Deline (2 G, 7 A) are tied with nine points each. Pitre has more playoff goals than any rookie, and Deline’s point total is tied for fifth among blue-liners.
Between the pipes, Luke Cavallin has the second-best save percentage (SV%) of goaltenders still in the playoffs at a .926. He has 10 wins in 16 postseason appearances and sports the third-best goals-against average (GAA) of teams in Round 3 at 2.76. He earned the most wins in the league and the most in Flint history during the regular season, ending at 36 victories during the campaign. Nathaniel Day made a brief appearance at the end of Game 2 in Windsor, making five saves on seven shots.
NHL: The Firebirds have four players on their roster with NHL ties consisting of Ethan Keppen (Vancouver Canucks), Braeden Kressler (Toronto Maple Leafs), Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg Jets), and Brennan Othmann (New York Rangers). Also, Gavin Hayes and Amadeus Lombardi were named to the 2022 NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings.
Windsor Spitfires (44-17-4-3, 1st Western Conference):
The Spitfires are led by Wyatt Johnston (Dallas Stars), who recorded the most points in the regular season (124) in the OHL. Through 15 playoff games this year, he’s scored ten times and assisted on 18 tallies for 28 total points. He ranks first in the postseason for assists and points and sits tied for third in goals. New York Rangers’ prospect Will Cuylle is second on the club with 18 points (9 G, 9 A). He is one of only two players with two shorthanded goals in the postseason, and he tied for fifth in goals and ranks ninth in points.
Matthew Maggio (5 G, 6 A) and rearguard Louka Henault (3 G, 8 A) are tied for third in scoring. Henault’s 11 points are tied with Flint’s Kuzmin for the most among all defensemen in the postseason. Defender Andrew Perrott (5 G, 5 A) and rookie Ryan Abraham (4 G, 6 A) each have ten points. Perrott is first in defensive scoring, and his three power-play tallies are the most by a defenseman in the playoffs.
Goaltender Mathias Onuska started his season with the London Knights before joining the Spitfires. He appeared in 26 regular-season games for the Spits, earning 19 victories with a 3.34 goals-against average (GAA) and a save percentage (SV%) of .882. He’s played all 15 playoff games for the club to date, winning 10 while posting a SV% of .910, which is third-best of remaining starters. His GAA of 2.53 is the second-best of the league’s top four. Detroit, Mich. native Xavier Medina played in 30 regular-season contests for Windsor this season, picking up 18 wins for the team. He posted a 3.05 GAA and a .891 SV%.
NHL: Windsor’s roster features four players with NHL ties, consisting of Will Cuylle (New York Rangers), Wyatt Johnston (Dallas Stars), Pasquale Zito (Detroit Red Wings), and Daniil Sobolev (Montreal Canadiens). Additionally, Matthew Maggio was named to the NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings for 2022.
Notable Windsor alumni to play in the NHL include Ed Jovanovski, Matt Cooke, Cory Stillman, Jason Spezza, Steve Ott, Jason York, Josh Bailey, Tim Gleason, Mike Rupp, Cam Fowler, Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Kyle Wellwood, Eric Wellwood, Todd Warriner, Steve Downie, Jamie Allison, and Ryan Ellis.
Sunday’s contest against the Windsor Spitfires 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 here. Jack Sznewajs will call the play-by-play action on the Firebirds Hockey Network (FHN). Pregame coverage will begin prior to puck drop at 6:45 p.m. (ET) Sunday evening.
The game will also be televised live across the province of Ontario on the OHL Action Pak on channel 466 (4466 HD) for both Rogers TV and Cogeco TV cable subscribers. OHL fans with cable television in Ontario can add the OHL Action Pak to their television plan to catch the Firebirds in action, home or away all season long.
Also, all Flint Firebirds’ home and away playoff games can be watched anywhere in the world online on https://watch.chl.ca/ohl. CHL TV is the league’s new and improved video streaming platform that delivers high-quality live and on-demand coverage of all regular season and playoff games annually. The cost is $6.99 for 24-hour access, or $59.99 to watch all of the 2022 OHL playoffs.
Next Up: Game 6 will be back on home ice in Flint Tuesday, with puck drop set for 7:00 p.m. (ET). Tickets for Game 6 are on sale through ETIX HERE, in person at the Dort Financial Center Box Office, or by calling 1-800-514-3849.
Story: Brandon Mills / flintfirebirds.com
For more information, contact:
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club