Niagara IceDogs (25-25-2-2) at Erie Otters (16-30-3-5)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Upcoming schedule: Friday vs. London, 7 p.m.; Saturday vs. Kitchener, 7 p.m.
What to expect: The Otters snapped a season-high, seven-game losing streak with a 7-4 win Friday at Oshawa. … They lost 4-1 to Belleville Saturday night to fall 18 points behind eighth-place Saginaw in the chase for the final playoff spot in the OHL’s Western Conference with 14 games left in the regular season. … Any combination of Otters losses and Spirit wins totaling 11 points officially will eliminate the Otters from playoff contention. … The Otters have the league’s second-worst record. Ottawa, which has the league’s worst mark (15-35-0-4), has the inside track to the No. 1 pick in the OHL Priority Selection. Peterborough (18-29-3-4) ranks third on the list. … The Otters scored a season-high seven goals in the win at Oshawa. In contrast, they scored 13 goals in their seven-game skid, and rank 15th in the league with 166 goals scored. … The Otters have lost four straight at home by a combined 20-7 score to fall to 9-11-1-5 overall. … F Connor Crisp serves the fourth game of a five-game suspension for a game misconduct incurred Feb. 2 against Sudbury. He was ejected for being the aggressor in a fight with D Charlie Dodero, who was unwilling to trade punches. Crisp is eligible to play Saturday against Kitchener. … G Oscar Dansk (concussion) said he hopes to play tonight. … C Jake Evans (arm) rejoined the lineup last weekend. … C Connor McDavid (22 goals, 30 assists, 52 points) has seen his lead in the league’s rookie scoring race shrink to two points over Sarnia RW Nikolay Goldobin (24-26-50). Brampton LW Blake Clarke (18-25-43) trails McDavid by nine points. … McDavid leads all rookies with 30 assists and trails Goldobin by two goals. … The Otters have lost four of five meetings in the six-game season series with the IceDogs. … Niagara snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 5-1 win in Erie Feb. 1. … The IceDogs have lost 10-of-15 games since losing frontline D Dougie Hamilton, who played for Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship during Christmas break and now plays for the NHL’s Boston Bruins. … C Ryan Strome (29-44-73) ranks seventh in the league’s scoring race (67 points) despite playing in only 43 of the IceDogs’ first 54 games. He also played at World Juniors before attending New York Islanders training camp. … Former Otters G Chris Festarini has a 20-18-2-2 record, 3.09 goals-against average, .903 save percentage and four shutouts in 44 games with the IceDogs. … RW Brett Ritchie is tied for eighth overall with 31 goals. … F Steven Shipley joins Strome and Ritchie on a top line that has totaled 85 goals and 184 points this season.
– Victor Fernandes