Hockey roundup: Flint in OHL conference final for first time; Team USA third at worlds
For the first time in franchise history, the Flint Firebirds will begin an Ontario Hockey League conference final on Saturday against the Windsor Spitfires.
The Firebirds, who moved to Flint from Plymouth in 2015, had never won a postseason series until beating the Owen Sound Attack in the first round this season.
Flint advanced to the OHL Western Conference final with a 7-1 victory against the Soo Greyhounds in Game 5 on Saturday in front of 3,342 fans at the Dort Financial Center.
The Spitfires beat the Kitchener Rangers 3-2 on Saturday in Game 5 to clinch the second-round series 4-1.
The Firebirds feature four Michigan players: defenseman Marcus Gretz (Macomb) and forwards Owen Pitters (Chesterfield), Sahil Panwar (Troy) and Gavin Hayes (Westland), who is second in team playoff scoring with 10 points in 12 games.
Flint forward Tag Bertuzzi, who played for the Oakland Grizzlies from 2014-17, is the son of former Detroit Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi and the cousin of Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi.
The winner of the Flint-Windsor series receives the Wayne Gretzky Trophy named in honor of the Hockey Hall of Famer who played for the Greyhounds from 1977-78.
Western Conference Final
Firebirds vs. Spitfires
Game 1: @ Windsor, May 21, 7 p.m.
Game 2: @ Windsor, May 23, 7 p.m.
Game 3: @ Flint, May 25, 7 p.m.
Game 4: @ Flint, May 27, 7 p.m.
Game 5: @ Windsor, May 29, 7 p.m.*
Game 6: @ Flint, May 31, 7 p.m.*
Game 7: @ Windsor, June 1, 7 p.m.*
Finland tops U.S. at worlds
Tampere, Finland — Sakari Manninen scored and added two assists for host Finland to beat the United States 4-1 and keep a perfect record at the ice hockey world championship on Monday.
After Mikael Granlund gave Finland a 1-0 lead on a power play in the opening period, Ann Arbor's Austin Watson was given a major penalty early in the middle period for a high hit on Teemu Hartikainen.
Ex-Red Wing Valtteri Filppula and Manninen used the following five-minute power play to increase the lead to 3-0 and Mikko Lehtonen added the fourth later in the frame.
Alex Galchenyuk scored the consolation goal for the Americans in the third period.
Ex-Wolverines Strauss Mann stopped 21-of-25 shots and Luke Hughes had an assist.
Finland goaltender Jussi Olkinuora stopped 29 shots, 15 of them in the final period.
Finland leads Group B in Tampere with nine points from three games. The U.S. has five points in third.
Also Monday, Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice to spark defending champion Canada to 5-1 over Slovakia for a third straight victory.
Adam Lowry, Morgan Geekie and Cole Sillinger, celebrating his 19th birthday, also netted for Canada to top Group A in Helsinki with nine points from three games. Slovakia has three points.
Canada goaltender Logan Thompson made 34 saves as they outshot Slovakia 44-35.
In another Group A game, Germany defeated France 3-2 for a second win. Wings defenseman Moritz Seider was scoreless with six shots and a team-high 21:53 of ice time. Also, Latvia beat Norway 3-2 to record its first win in Group B.