OHL 3rd Round Preview: 1. Windsor Spitfires vs 3. Flint Firebirds

It took 11 long years, but the Windsor Spitfires have finally made it back to the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Western Conference Final. They come in as the top seed and will face their rivals from Michigan, the third-seed Flint Firebirds, for a chance at the title. This will be one for the ages.

The last time the Spitfires were in the Conference Final, they lost to the Owen Sound Attack in five games in 2011. Since then, they hadn’t won a single playoff round until this season. What a season it’s been, too. They’ve battled roster turnover, injuries, and COVID-19 uncertainty. While they were able to grab first place in the conference by season’s end, the Firebirds gave them a serious battle. In the playoffs, both teams have shown they’re the real deal. With a chance at the J. Ross Robertson Cup (OHL Championship) on the line, not to mention a possible trip to Saint John, NB, for the 2022 Memorial Cup, neither team is going to be happy with anything less than four wins.

Let’s get into it all…

The Vitals


Windsor Spitfires – 44-17-4-3 – 95 points – 1st Western Conference

Flint Firebirds – 42-21-1-4 – 89 points – 3rd Western Conference

Home and Away Records:

Spitfires – 25-7-1-1 (Home); 19-10-3-2 (Road)

Firebirds – 18-14-0-2 (home); 24-7-1-2 (road)

The WFCU Centre in Windsor, ON in Feb. 2018 before a game between the Windsor Spitfires and Flint Firebirds. (Dave Jewell/THW )

Goals-For and Goals-Against:

Spitfires – 305 – 248

Firebirds – 286 – 238

Head-to-Head Records:

Spitfires – 7-0-0-1

Firebirds – 1-5-1-1

  • Spitfires outscored Firebirds 46 – 25

Leading Producers and Goaltending Stats

Top 3 Producers:


  • 1. Wyatt Johnston – 68 games, 46 goals, 78 points, 124 points (led OHL)
  • 2. Matthew Maggio – 66 games, 38 goals, 47 assists, 85 points
  • 3. Will Cuylle – 59 games, 43 goals, 37 assists, 80 points


  • 1. Brennan Othmann – 66 games, 50 goals, 47 assists, 97 points
  • 2. Amadeus Lombardi – 67 games, 18 goals, 41 assists, 59 points
  • 3. Riley Piercey – 59 games, 27 goals, 31 assists, 58 points



  • Xavier Medina 30 games, 18-8-1-2, .891 save percentage (SV%), 3.05 goals-against-average (GAA)
  • Mathias Onuska 29 games, 19-5-1-1, .884 SV%, 3.31 GAA
Matt Onuska Windsor Spitfires
Windsor Spitfires’ goaltender Mathias Onuska has been a rock in the playoffs. (David Jewell / The Hockey Writers)


  • Luke Cavallin – 56 games, 36-14-1-3, .910 SV%, 3.16 GAA
  • Nathaniel Day – 8 games, 2-3-0-1, .883 SV%, 3.63 GAA
  • Ian Michelone – 10 games, 4-4-0-0, .884 SV%, 4.37 GAA

Playoff Stats and Clubs Journey So Far

Top 3 Producers:


  • 1. Wyatt Johnston – 11 games, 8 goals, 15 assists, 23 points
  • 2. Will Cuylle – 11 games, 6 goals, 8 assists, 14 points
  • 3. Alex Christopoulos – 11 games, 6 goals, 2 assists, 8 points


  • 1. Brennan Othmann 12 games, 8 goals, 9 assists, 17 points
  • 2. Gavin Hayes – 12 games, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points
  • 3. Amadeus Lombardi – 12 games, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points
Brennan Othmann Flint Firebirds
Brennan Othmann of the Flint Firebirds. (Terry Wilson / OHL Images)



  • Mathias Onuska – 11 games, 8-2-1, .910 SV%, 2.26 GAA


  • Luke Cavallin – 12 games, 8-4-0, .934 SV%, 2.40 GAA

Clubs Playoff Roads So Far:


Goals For – Goals Against: 41 – 27


  • Round 1 – def. #6 Owen Sound Attack 4-3
  • Round 2 – def. #4 Soo Greyhounds 4-1

Goals For – Goals Against: 44 – 32

Playoff History Between Clubs

The clubs have not faced each other in the playoffs, dating back to when Flint relocated from Plymouth, MI. However, the Whalers and Spitfires have had numerous series over the years:

2010 – #1 Spitfires defeat #4 Whalers 4-0 in the second round.

2009 – #1 Spitfires defeat #4 Whalers 4-2 in the second round.

2006 – #2 Whalers defeat #7 Spitfires 4-3 in the first round

Related: Saying Goodbye to an OHL Original: Windsor Arena

2001 – #2 Whalers defeat #3 Spitfires 4-0 in the second round.

2000 – #1 Whalers defeat #5 Spitfires 4-1 in the second round

1999 – #1 Whalers defeat #8 Spitfires 4-0 in the first round

What the Spitfires Bring to the Conference Championship

There’s just something intriguing about this Spitfires club. While they can score at will some nights and play hard-checking, defensive hockey on others, there’s a cohesion that hasn’t been seen since the 2009 and 2010 Memorial Cup championships. From top-to-bottom, they play for each other, and every line can hurt you on any given shift. While their offence struggled a bit in the opening round, they found their game against the Rangers and are at full throttle. This is a confident team, no matter what the score.

Wyatt Johnston Windsor Spitfires
Wyatt Johnston has had a dynamic playoff for the Windsor Spitfires. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

At the start of the season, few would have believed that the Spitfires would be in the Western Conference championship. It’s reality, though, and they’re soaking it all in. All season, the team has shown that they can deal with adversity, and when the chips are down, they fight back with everything.

What the Firebirds Bring to the Conference Championship

In their first trip to the conference championship, the Firebirds are a club built to win. They went toe-to-toe with the Spitfires in the standings all season, only getting the third seed after the Spitfires won 13 straight near the end of the season. Want to play an offensive game of pond hockey? They can do that with Dallas Stars’ prospect Brennan Othmann, veteran Ethan Keppen, and a very deep forward group. They also have outstanding goaltending in 21-year-old Luke Cavallin, who would love to wrap up his career at the top.

Ethan Keppen Flint Firebirds
Flint Firebirds’ veteran Ethan Keppen is looking for a long playoff run to end his OHL career. (Natalie Shaver/OHL Images)

The Firebirds did a number on an excellent Greyhounds team in the second round and have no intentions of stopping now. Their fans have been through a lot over the last few years with various off-ice issues, and this is the club’s chance to thank them for their continued support. Management has put together a dominant team, and they’ll give the favourites everything they have.


When you have two powerhouse teams entering a critical stage of the playoffs for the first time (or the first time in over a decade), the hockey will be exciting. Both clubs bring high-octane offence, strong defence, and the drive to make history. While the Spitfires have home ice, the Firebirds were the best road team in the league this season. It could all come down to that mental game, and with a dominating head-to-head record this season, that might give the Spitfires the edge. Prediction: Spitfires in 6.

Matthew Maggio Windsor Spitfires
The Windsor Spitfires’ top line celebrates a goal earlier in 2021-22. (David Jewell / The Hockey Writers)


Game 1 – Sat., May 21 at Windsor – 7:05 p.m.
Game 2 – Mon., May 23 at Windsor – 7:05 p.m.
Game 3 – Wed., May 25 at Flint – 7:00 p.m.
Game 4 – Fri., May 27 at Flint – 7:00 p.m.
Game 5 – Sun., May 29 at Windsor – 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Game 6 – Tues., May 31 at Flint – 7:00 p.m. (if necessary)
Game 7 – Wed., June 1 at Windsor -7:05 p.m. (if necessary)

Ticket Information

Tickets for games at the WFCU Centre in Windsor range from $23.90 to $47.90 (plus fees) and are available on the Spitfires’ website.

Tickets for games at the Dort Financial Centre in Flint range from US $16 – US $28 and are available on the Firebirds’ website.

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