Firebirds suffer pair of close weekend losses

ERIE, Penn. – They came extremely close to completing the comeback, but the Flint Firebirds just couldn’t quite get it done on Saturday at the Erie Otters during a 4-3 shootout loss. The Firebirds overcame a 3-1 second period deficit to force overtime, and eventually, a shootout.

The Firebirds wasted no time getting on the board, scoring on just their first shot of the game 58 seconds in. Kole Sherwood sent an excellent pass to Ryan Moore, who carried it in all alone and put it into the top shelf. Erie didn’t sit back, though, tying the game on a Taylor Raddysh goal only 11 seconds later.

Less than a minute after that, the Otters had their first lead of the game on Jordan Sambrook’s tally, which would remain a 2-1 lead until Sambrook buried another one at 13:31 of the second period. Flint would finally answer with 10 seconds left in the second stanza when Sherwood scored on a slap shot from the faceoff circle after a feed from Jalen Smereck.

The only goal of the third period came on a miscue by Erie’s goalie, accidentally passing the puck right to Everett Clark who fired it home to tie the game. Overtime had its scoring chances, but the extra frame wouldn’t be enough. Flint couldn’t find a way to score in the shootout either as the only goal in the penalty shot contest was scored by Erie’s Dylan Strome.

Garrett Forrest was in net and made 27 saves.

On Friday at the Niagara IceDogs, Flint would have a one-goal edge in both the first and second periods but couldn’t hold on in a 5-2 loss. Later in the first period, Flint came in on a two-on-one and Moore passed it across the slot to Sherwood, who put it over the goalie’s glove for the early lead. Niagara responded less than a minute later with an Akil Thomas goal.

The Firebirds grabbed the lead back in the second period with a slap shot goal from Alex Peters, but Thomas answered for Niagara again a few minutes later. Late in the second, the IceDogs upped their lead to 4-2 with a pair of Johnny Corneil goals and Niagara’s Aaron Haydon added the only goal of the third period, an empty net tally.

It was a highly unexpected occurrence, but the Firebirds set a franchise record last Tuesday in Saginaw. It seemed as if they couldn’t miss, recording a team record 11 goals in an 11-2 win over the Saginaw Spirit. They also came close to another record as Sherwood’s five tallies fell just one goal short of the Ontario Hockey League single-game record.

It took just over a minute for the scoring barrage to begin when Mathieu Henderson blasted a slap shot from the blue line for the game’s first goal. Then the Firebirds began to pour it on. Sherwood sent a perfect pass to Moore on a two-onone and Moore put it in the net.

Then Sherwood got the first of his five goals by capitalizing on a rebound of a Moore shot. Saginaw finally got on the board late in the period with a Brady Gilmour goal before Sherwood registered a hat trick to end the first period. He got his second of the night on a breakaway that he converted with a backhand shot.

The hat trick was completed when Sherwood got a rebound at the top of the crease and put it through to give Flint a commanding 5-1 lead after the first period. To start the second period scoring, Jake Durham skated behind the net and sent the puck back to the blue line where Smereck fired a slap shot for his sixth goal of the season.

Then Durham got his own tally with a slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle. Adding even more to the lead, Nicholas Caamano’s backhand pass set Clark up perfectly for a one-timer goal at the 12:13 mark before Saginaw got the second of its only two goals on the night, a tally from Mike Davies at 16:02.

Sherwood’s fourth of the game came off of a slap shot from the far faceoff circle and then completed the five-goal performance by tapping in a rebound from a Peters shot to cap off the second period with a 10-2 lead. The only goal of the third period came just 15 seconds in as Maurizio Colella took a Moore pass and deked out the goaltender.

Flint is now 20-18-1-3 for 44 points, keeping them in fourth place in the West Division and eighth place in the Western Conference, just two points behind Sarnia. Flint was at Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday following VIEW deadlines, before hosting the Greyhounds on Friday and Erie on Saturday.

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