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The Flint Firebirds came up short in a 4-2 loss despite out-shooting the Ottawa 67's Saturday night at Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center.

Posted on 11-17-2019


CCN Executive Editor

Flint FIrebirds lose 4-2 decision despite out-shooting Ottawa 67's in battle between teams with two of top early season OHL records

    FLINT (CCN) — The Flint FIrebirds out-shot the visiting Ottawa 67's and controlled the faceoffs but lost a tough 4-2 decision Saturday night on home ice at Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center.

   In one of the best, most fast-paced hockey games this season between two of the top teams so far in the Ontario Hockey League, the Firebirds outshot the 67’s by a 39-33 margin but they were unable to solve the OHL’s second-best goaltender. Cedrick Andree stopped 37 shots to lower his goals against average to 2.57 on the season as the 67's improved their record to 15-6 on the season atop the Eastern Conference standings. Flint (13-7) fell into a second-place tie in the Western Conference — a single point behind the Windsor Spitfires who pulled ahead when losing a 3-2 overtime decision Saturday night in Niagara to the Ice Dogs.

   Next up for Flint will be a road trip to Sarnia in a mid-week game. They face the Sting in a 7 pm faceoff on Wednesday. The game can be heard live on the radio broadcast via US 103.1 FM or you can watch the action on the OHL Live app available on the Flint Firebirds Web SiteThe Sarnia Sting have a 10-10 record and are next-to-last in the five-team Western Division of the Western Conference where Flint is now tied for second place with its arch rival Saginaw Spirit.

   Evgeniy Oksentyuk and Vladislav Kolyachonok got Flint's goals Saturday night and Jake Durham picked up an assist to extend his point-streak to five games. He has six points in the streak, including a pair of goals. Anthony Popovich made 29 saves on 32 shots between the pipes, surrendering three goals before an empty net tally sealed it for the 67's.

   Joseph Gareffa recorded a three-goal hat trick to lead Ottawa's offense.

   Ottawa netted the lone goal of the first period with 13.6 seconds remaining as Gareffa broke free at the offensive blue line and launched a wrister from the inner edge of the right circle. The puck deflected off a Flint defenseman and past Popovich’s blocker for Gareffa's eighth goal of the season. Marco Rossi drew an assist.

   Flint outshot the 67’s by a 15–12 count in the opening 20 minutes,and won the majority of the faceoffs with an 11–5 advantage.

   Oksentyuk lit the lamp to tie the contest at 8:14 of the second period during four-on-four play. Dennis Busby joined the attack from the right point, carrying the puck to the half-boards. He made the centering pass to the slot, where Oksentyuk one-timed the puck past Andree for his team-leading 11th goal of the season. Busby and Durham combined for the helpers.

   Second-period shots favored the visitors by a slim 14–13 edge to leave Flint with the slight 40-minute edge at 28–26. In the faceoff circle, the Firebirds continued their winning pace with a decisive 13–3 advantage in the second period and a two-period upper-hand of 24–8.

   Ottawa scored two quick goals to start the third period. First, Kevin Bahl scored his third of season at 4:16. He cycled around the right-wing circle with the puck and sniped a quick shot over Popovich’s right shoulder. Gareffa was credited with the solo assist. Next, Gareffa netted his second of the night at 6:56. Noel Hoefenmayer made a slick between-the-legs move around a Flint defender and then backhanded a short-range pass to Gareffa in the slot for the one-timer past Popovich.

   Kolyachonok cut the deficit to one with his fifth of the campaign with 7:48 remaining. Connor Roberts made the set-up pass from the left-wing half-boards as Kolyachonok jumped in on the play. The Belarusian defender skated between the circles and lifted a backhand shot over Andree’s left pad.

   With just under three minutes left to play, the Firebirds called Popovich to the bench for the extra attacker. Flint had possession in the offensive zone, but a Firebirds’ shot from the right point resulted in a broken stick and an empty net goal for Gareffa’s third of the night to complete the hat trick. It was his tenth of the season recorded at 17:30, unassisted.

   Flint pulled Popovich one more time in the final minute, but to no avail. Ottawa held on to win.

   While Flint had a 39-33 edge in shots, the Firebirds had a whopping final margin of 34-18 in faceoffs.

​​​​Steve Schmidt has his Mott Bears off to a 2-0 start and the pollsters gave them a No. 5 national ranking in the first regular season rankings of the top junior college basketball teams in America.

Posted on November 13, 2019


CCN Executive Editor

Steve Schmidt's Mott Bears get No. 5 national ranking in initial regular season junior college poll

​   FLINT (CCN) — Flint's Mott Bears are No. 5 in the initial regular season national poll for Division II junior college basketball teams. The Mott Community College club, which is led by 28th-year Head Coach Steve Schmidt, is off to a 2-0 start.

  The Bears beat Kellogg Community College 96-71 last week after opening with an 81-63 romp over Jackson CC. Both games were in front of big crowds at Steve Schmidt Gymnasium inside Mott's Ballenger Field House. They will be back in action on Friday night at 7 o'clock against Glen Oaks Community College. Glen Oaks is 3-0 on the year.

   Mott is one of three teams from the Michigan Community College Athletic Association to crack the top 20 in the first regular season national poll. Mott's fellow Eastern Conference rival Schoolcraft College (3-0) is No. 6 while Ancilla College of the Western Conference is 2-0 and ranked No. 12.

   Schmidt's 2019-20 ballclub is led by sophomore Carrington Wiggins and transfer Taylor Currie. Wiggins is a play-making point guard who played a big role in last year's success when the Bears were 25-5 overall. Currie is a 6-foot-9 transfer from who sat out last season as a red-shirted freshman with the Big 10 Conference's Wisconsin Badgers. He was an all-stater who helped lead Clarkston's Wolves to back-to-back Class A state titles before picking Wisconsin among several Division I offers.

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Mott Bears show power in 101-63 romp over Glenn Oaks CC behind strong 1-2 punch of Wiggins with 27 points, Currie with 26 points

​   FLINT (CCN) — Flint's Mott Bears rolled to their third consecutive victory Friday night with a 101-63 romp over Glenn Oaks Community College.

   Sophomore Carrington Wiggins scored 27 points and transfer Taylor Currie added 26 points to lead Mott's home-court dominance over visiting Glenn Oaks at Steve Schmidt Gymnasium inside Ballenger Field House on Flint's Mott Community College campus.

   The Bears were fresh off getting the No. 5 national ranking two days earlier in the initial regular season national poll for Division II junior college basketball teams. Mott beat Kellogg Community College 96-71 last week after opening with an 81-63 romp over Jackson CC. Both games were in front of big crowds at Ballenger Field House.

   Freshman J.D. Rawls of Mt. Morris added 11 points off the bench to support the strong 1-2 scoring punch of Wiggins and Currie. Wiggins became a starter after mid-season a year ago during a fantastic freshman campaign by the Goodrich product who played his senior season at a prep school in Arizona. Currie spent last season as a red-shirted freshman with Big 10 Conference power Wisconsin, playing daily in practice against one of the best big men in college basketball. Currie won back-to-back Class A state titles his two previous years at Clarkston High School.

​   Terrence Williams, Mott's sophomore guard from Detroit's Wayne Memorial High School, had a strong start with eight points to go with three assists, three steals and three defensive rebounds.

​   Armonee Felder, Coach Schmid't freshman recruit from Detroit's Osborrn Evergreen High School, had a solid effort, too. He scored six points and passed out six assists in a starting role. Another Detroit area freshman contributed big off the bench as Tyland Tate of Chandler Park Academy scored eight points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

​​Risks of cheating on your wife range from embarrassing your family to maybe catching disease or maybe catching a 'crazy'  

    "Regret is not rape," Frank Manley told jurors during Thursday's opening statement in the unjust rape and kidnapping charge against Mateen Cleaves.

   The above "unjust" description is putting it mildly about the case against the former all-state basketball star from the old Flint Northern High School who went on to become an All-American at Michigan State before playing on four NBA teams and then playing professionally overseas. Cleaves, who led MSU to its last national championship in 2000, was a national TV analyst for NCAA basketball at the time of his arrest as March Madness began in 2015. He was arrested for an incident that took place in September of 2015.

   "She wanted a celebrity hook-up," Manley insisted about a beautiful woman in her mid-20's who got drunk at a Grand Blanc Township bar after a charity golf outing and got into a vehicle four years ago with Cleaves, now 41. The ride ended at a motel in Mundy Township. Video evidence will show this so-called victim fixing her hair in the mirror on the passenger side visor as Cleaves went inside to pay for a room. He left the car engine running, which kinda makes kidnapping go out the window in my book. 

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Click above to hear Thursday's episode of The Daily Gazette Sports Night Show with The Daily Gazette's Mike Killbreath. He's an award-winning sports columnist with a long history of championship ways in the local Flint area coaching ranks of baseball, ice hockey, roller hockey and basketball, including with Team USA in roller hockey.

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