Coming off a tough 8-1 loss to the Sarnia Sting last night, the Steelheads continued their three-game road trip, travelling south of the border to take on the Flint Firebirds Saturday night. Emanuel Vella got the nod in goal for the Steelheads while Garrett Forrest started between the pipes for the Firebirds.
Flint’s Ty Dellandrea got things going for the home team, capitalizing on a power play opportunity to open the scoring just past the halfway mark of the first period. Hunter Holmes and Jake Durham assisted on Dellandrea’s fifth of the season. Late in the frame, the Firebirds extended their lead 2-0 as Max Kislinger netted his fourth of the season from Durham and Jack Phibbs. Moments after scoring, Kislinger would head to the box for roughing. Shots on goal were 9-8 in favour of Flint and the Firebirds held a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission. The Steelheads would start the second on the power play.
The Steelheads were unable to capitalize on their man-advantage and things returned to even strength. Emanuel Vella came up with some huge back-to-back saves before Maurizio Colella was able to find the back of the net and add to Flint’s lead. Fedor Gordeev and Nicolas Mattinen assisted on Colella’s fourth of the season as the Firebirds held a comfortable 3-0 lead at the halfway mark of the game. At 12:40, the Steelheads were able to solve Forrest as Trent Fox buried his third of the season to get the Steelheads on the board. Albert Michnac and Cole Schwindt assisted on the goal. The Firebirds outshot the Steelheads 14-13 in the second, and held a 3-1 lead on the scoreboard heading into the final frame.
Looking to cut the deficit, the Steelheads came out strong in the third, and were rewarded at 4:06 as Ryan McLeod lifted a backhand over Forrest to bring the Steelheads within one. Jacob Cascagnette assisted on McLeod’s fifth of the season. Late in the frame, Ryan Moore jumped out on a partial breakaway and beat Vella down low to restore the Firebirds’ two-goal lead. The Steelheads were not about to give up, as Jacob Cascagnette brought the Steelheads back within one at 16:34. Ryan McLeod assisted on the power play goal and Cascagnette’s first of the season. With Vella pulled in favour of an extra attacker, the Steelheads were looking to send the game into overtime. Unfortunately a turnover would send Flint towards the empty net where Hunter Holmes buried his fourth of the season to seal a 5-3 victory for the home team.
The Steelheads will head to Saginaw tomorrow looking to get back in the win column. Puck drops at 5:30 PM.