The Owen Sound Attack fell 6-4 in Flint on Wednesday night.
After five years of Attack dominance – a head-to-head record of 15-1-1-2 over the past five years coming into the contest – the Firebirds have won the last two.
And in sports it’s often all about what you’ve done lately.
The loss means Owen Sound’s record falls to 28-29-4-2 on the year, still good enough for sixth place in the Western Conference.
But, the Attack now need two wins in their finals five games to reach their goal of 30 victories on the season – a mark they’ve reached every year since the 2009-10 season.
Furthermore, with just two wins in their last ten games, the Attack are losing some ground to the Sarnia Sting just below them in the standings, and Kitchener Rangers in the fifth spot.
The Firebirds started hot on Wednesday as Kyle Harris potted his seventh of the season just under five minutes into the contest. The Milton native banged a rebound past Attack goalie Andrew MacLean for the game’s opening tally.
The lone goal stood for the entire first period as Flint outshot the Attack 13-8.
The Bears barrelled into the middle frame. Maksim Sushko, who narrowly missed scoring on a cross-crease deke attempt, batted in a rebound moments later for the Belarusian’s 17th of the season. The Flyers pick, who missed two games with an illness recently, is on the mend and on the scoresheet.
Owen Sound then looked to take their first lead of the game on the power play, but it was the Firebirds to capitalize. Jacob Winterton took a Ty Dellandrea pass and floated up the ice before beating MacLean shorthanded.
The goal is the seventh shorthanded tally Owen Sound has allowed on the year. The Attack man-advantage unit is operating at 13.1 per cent on the road, the league’s second lowest mark.
Aidan Dudas gave Los Angeles Kings fans something to salivate over minutes later. The Kings fourth-round pick went inside-outside to beat the Firebirds defender before diving and poking the puck past Luke Cavallin to tie the game 2-2. The pretty individual rush gave Dudas 25 goals on the season.
Not to be outdone, Dallas Stars first-round prospect Ty Dellandrea made a power move to the net moments later and tucked the puck past MacLean with six-foot-seven Igor Chibrikov hanging all over him to restore the Firebirds lead headed into the final period of play.
Defence died in the third period.
Hunter Holmes netted an early goal to make it 4-2 for the Firebirds before Griffin Wilson’s fifth of the season brought the Attack back within a goal.
Wilson got a stick on the puck before it hit mesh, but Barret Kirwin’s hardworking assist setup the marker.
Big-bodied Emmet Pierce then knocked in his sixth of the season seconds before Brady Lyle hit double digits with his 10th. Three goals in under a minute-and-a-half had the Firebirds right back where they started from after an uneventful – by comparison – first period and leading by a goal 5-4.
The Attack mustered up a flurry in the final minutes after killing an untimely too-many-men penalty, but nothing doing. Flint added an empty-net goal, potted by former first-round pick Ethan Keppen, to seal the deal.
MacLean stopped 29 of 34 shots while Cavallin got in front of 31 of the 35 Attack shots on goal.
Owen Sound will now travel to Windsor for a shot at the Spits Thursday night. Puck drop inside the WFCU centre is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.