It’s an all West Division Championship Series in the Western Conference this year as the top-seeded Windsor Spitfires face the Flint Firebirds starting Saturday night at the WFCU Centre.
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(1) Windsor Spitfires (44-17-4-3) vs. (3) Flint Firebirds (42-21-1-4) – #WSRvsFLNT
The Windsor Spitfires and Flint Firebirds each come off Game 5 triumphs as the West Division rivals prepare to battle it out for the Wayne Gretzky trophy, with Windsor launching the round three series at home on Saturday night.
After eliminating the Sarnia Sting in six first round matchups, the Spitfires come off a 4-1 series win against the Kitchener Rangers to reach the Western Conference Championship Series for the first time since 2011. Windsor took the series in five, but trailed several times against Kitchener, coming from behind to win Games 2, 4 and 5.
The Spits had a big second half in the regular season, clinching the West Division title with a 44-17-4-3 record. The OHL’s regular season scoring leader Wyatt Johnston continues his dominance into the postseason, leading the OHL Playoffs in scoring with 23 points (8-15–23). Johnston racked up 18 points (6-12–18) in his eight games against Flint this season.
Acquired from the London Knights mid-season, netminder Matt Onuska has proven reliable for the Spits, going 19-3-1-1 with them during the season before playing in all 11 games and recording a 2.26 goals-against average in the playoffs.
The Spits were without Detroit Red Wings prospect Pasquale Zito in the final two games of the second round. His sandpaper would be a key addition to their lineup should he come back to start Round 3.
The Spitfires and Firebirds faced each other eight times during the regular season, with Windsor winning seven of those meetings. Seven of those eight meetings featured the winning team scoring at least five goals.
Besting the Owen Sound Attack in seven games before eliminating the Soo Greyhounds in five second round meetings, the Flint Firebirds locked their spot in the Western Conference Championship Series for the first time in franchise history. New York Rangers prospect Brennan Othmann remains hot for the Firebirds recording eight goals and nine assists (8-9-17) in the playoffs while rookie forwards Gavin Hayes (4-6-10) and former Spitfires draftee Coulson Pitre (6-2-8) have also had their moments. Goaltender Luke Cavallin has been arguably the best goaltender of the OHL Playoffs thus far, playing in all 12 games while recording a 2.40 goals-against average and a playoff-leading .934 save percentage.
It’s been a great season to be a Firebirds fan, seeing the club set records across the board and now, making their first-ever appearance in the Western Conference Championship Series. A powerful Windsor squad awaits them, one that is looking to make the most of a long overdue deep run into the playoffs.
Windsor wins 7-1-0-0
Nov. 3 – WSR 6 at FLNT 2
Nov. 20 – WSR 7 at FLNT 0
Nov. 21 – FLNT 6 at WSR 7 (SO)
Jan. 16 – FLNT 3 at WSR 6
Feb. 18 – FLNT 4 at WSR 5 (OT)
Feb. 19 – WSR 2 at FLNT 3 (SO)
Mar. 19 – WSR 6 at FLNT 3
Mar. 20 – FLNT 4 at WSR 7
This marks the first time the Spitfires and Firebirds have met in the OHL Playoffs.
Game 1, Sat., May 21 at Windsor, 7:05pm
Game 2, Mon., May 23 at Windsor, 7:05pm
Game 3, Wed., May 25 at Flint, 7:00pm
Game 4, Fri., May 27 at Flint, 7:00pm
Game 5, Sun., May 29 at Windsor, 7:05pm*
Game 6, Tues., May 31 at Flint, 7:00pm*
Game 7, Wed., June 1 at Windsor, 7:05pm*