Buffalo, New York – The Flint Firebirds third period charge led the way to a come from behind 4-3 victory over the Erie Otters Saturday night in day two of the OHL Pre-Season Showcase at Harborcenter in Buffalo, New York.
Recently signed free agent goaltender Noah Battaglia shined in the early going as the 18-year-old held the Firebirds off the scoreboard in the first period with 10 saves. The Otters were the first to strike as Kyle Maksimovich stole the puck at the Erie blue line and dashed towards the Flint zone. Although his personal scoring chance was thwarted by the lone defender, Maksimovich was able to center the puck to Hayden Fowler to bury the games opening goal with just 11 seconds left in the period.
The Otters found their jump in the second frame and were able to generate more offensive chances. However, it would be the Firebirds scoring next to tie the game at one after a point shot was deflected in the Erie net by Jake Durham. Erie wasn’t fazed as they reclaimed the lead on their next shift when Chad Yetman finished off a Max Golod pass to put the Otters back ahead, taking a 2-1 lead into the intermission.
The third would start off in favor of the Otters as they extended the lead to two with an Alex Gritz rebound goal following a Luke Beamish point shot. The game would turn following a five-minute major checking from behind call delivered to Fedor Gordeev. Unfortunately for Erie it was the shorthanded Firebirds who used the time to rally. Flint would net two shorthanded goals in a matter of 2:12 to tie the game at three. It didn’t get any better for Erie as Flint rushed into the Otters zone two-on-one. Connor Roberts would elect to keep the puck and fire home the game winning goal with 1:35 left to play.
Erie’s Noah Battaglia would stop 30 of Flint’s 34 shots. Fourth overall pick Jamie Drysdale made his Otters preseason debut Saturday night. Erie will close out the OHL Pre-Season Showcase Sunday afternoon with a 3:15 tilt against the reigning OHL Champion Hamilton Bulldogs.