The Owen Sound Attack can clinch a spot in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs with a win over the visiting Flint Firebirds on Wednesday, Feb. 15.
Facing off against their Western Division rival at 7:00pm at the Harry Lumley Bayshore, a win for the Attack, who are at 74 points on the year and 4th in the Western Conference, would push them to 76 points, the maximum that the 9th place Saginaw Spirit can hit.
Riding a four game winning streak, the Attack have pulled ahead of the Windsor Spitfires for 4th place in the conference, despite both teams sitting at the same number of points.
The Attack, who have a 3-0 record against Windsor this year, have two games in hand over the Spits as the playoff race tightens up in the West.
But before Owen Sound can look to the post-season, they must dispatch of the Firebirds (26-21-1-4, 57 Pts, 3rd W) who shut out the Bears in the first of two meetings between the squads this year.
Both games between the sides have been played in Flint, with the Attack downing the Firebirds 5-2 in the last match up, which took place on Nov. 18.
Owen Sound enters the game powered by the offensive punch of Nick Suzuki, Kevin Hancock, and Jonah Gadjovich.
The team’s top line has combined for 181 points on the year, with Suzuki boasting a total of 29 goals and 36 assists for 65 points. Hancock is just behind him with 64 points while Jonah Gadjovich’s 52 points includes his team leading 31 goals.
After having just one player top the 50 point mark in 2015-16, the Attack now have five players that have hit the plateau as Petrus Palmu (67 points) and Santino Centorame (51 points) have also contributed to Owen Sound’s offensive success.
The Firebirds counter with a top scorer of their own in Ryan Moore who has 32 goals and 38 assists for 70 points in 52 games.
But it isn’t just the offence that has allowed the Attack to jump into contention in the Western Conference this year, and goaltender Michael McNiven will stand in the way of Moore and his attempts at filling the net.
Ranked 2nd in league goals against average with a mark of 2.21 and 3rd in save percentage at .919, the Attack’s most recent Huron Tractor Player of the Week has cemented himself as one of the elite goalies not just in the OHL, but across the entire CHL.
With a shutout against the Kingston Frontenacs on Sunday, McNiven tied former Attack netminder Jordan Binnington for the most shutouts in Attack franchise history with 10 (including post season).
His 65th career win, also achieved in that Sunday match up with Kingston, also tied him with Curtis Sanford for 2nd most victories in franchise history.
Tickets for Wednesday’s game are limited to standing room only and can be purchased at the MacVicar & McComb ReMax Attack Box Office at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
The Weekend Preview is presented by Joe Tomato’s, located next to the Galaxy Cinemas on the Sunset Strip. Fans can enjoy 50% off wings and appetizers at Joe Tomato’s following each Attack home game simply by bringing in their ticket stubs.