Firebirds top Sarnia, bounce up to seventh place in West

FLINT – It’s been a back-and-fourth battle for the seventh spot in the Western Conference between the Flint Firebirds and Sarnia Sting, but at the Dort Federal Event Center on Saturday, Flint reclaimed the spot with a high-scoring 7-5 win in front of a Flint crowd of 3,715 on Flint Tropics Night.

Sarnia would be the first to capitalize after Jaden Lindo lit the lamp just 4:49 into the game. Flint drew even when a series of several excellent passes left Ryan Moore wide open at the right post for the equalizer. However, a Jordan Kyrou goal would give Sarnia the lead after the first period. The second frame would be highly controlled by the Firebirds.

Early in the frame, Ty Dellandrea skated in between the Sarnia defense and buried a wrist shot top shelf to tie it back up. A couple minutes later, CJ Clarke got a rebound near the crease and scooped it in for Flint’s first lead of the game. Later in the period, Clarke poked another rebound through to put Flint up 4-2 before Sarnia cut the lead back to one with a goal from Anthony Salinitri.

The third period would be just as exciting, as Nicholas Caamano skated past the Sarnia defenseman and used a very patient forehand-to-backhand move to put it over the goaltender and in. The Sting weren’t done yet, though, scoring with Kyrou and Adam Ruzicka to tie the game.

With just over a minute left, Kole Sherwood’s wrist shot put Flint back on top before Maurizio Colella converted the empty-net goal from center ice.

It was a much different story the night before in Saginaw with a 4-1 loss to the Spirit. DJ Busdeker scored just three minutes in to give Saginaw the lead before Moore’s pass into the slot set up a perfect one-timer goal for Sherwood to tie the game.

That would be it for the Flint offensive attack, as Filip Hronek and Kris Bennett added Spirit goals in the first period and Busdeker got his second of the night into the empty net late in the third.

The Firebirds were on a roll heading into last Wednesday night, having won five of their last six games and registering a point in each of the six. That streak was put on ice when Flint swallowed a 4-0 loss at the Owen Sound Attack.

The momentum could never quite turn Flint’s way due to several penalties and a lack of shots on goal. Owen Sound outshot the Firebirds 35-16. The Attack lived up to their name very early in the game, taking the lead with a Cordell James goal 4:51 into the contest. Nick Pryce buried one less than a minute later to double the advantage.

Owen Sound would end the first period with a 3-0 lead after James got his second of the night near the midway point of the frame. The game’s last goal came early in the second period on a power-play tally from Petrus Palmu.

Flint now moves up to seventh place in the Western Conference at 27-23-1-4 for 59 points, one point ahead of Sarnia. The Firebirds were at Guelph on Monday, following press deadline, and will host North Bay on Friday, Sarnia on Saturday and then travel to Saginaw on Sunday.

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