ST. CATHARINES, Ontario – As expected, the Erie Otters are a work in progress.
Highly touted No. 1 pick Connor McDavid will fill the stat sheet in the 2012-13 season. New goaltender Oscar Dansk will make enough key saves in net. And the Otters will produce more consistent efforts. But a defeat on opening night still hurts.
“Losing is something that doesn’t sit well for me,” said McDavid, who had opportunities for several assists but settled for a scoreless outing in his OHL debut – a 4-2 loss to Niagara in front of 3,145 at Gatorade Garden City Complex Thursday night.
Dansk produced a respectable effort – 26 saves on 30 shots – in his first OHL game.
Dansk and the Otters withstood an early offensive flurry from the IceDogs (1-0-0-0). But after former Otters goaltender Chris Festarini fired the puck over the boards for a delay of game penalty, the Otters capitalized on a two-man advantage to take a 1-0 lead 8:02 into the first period. Connor Crisp, who missed nearly all of the 2011-12 season following shoulder surgery, scored off a deflection in front for his first goal since March 17, 2011.
Dansk wasn’t able to stop Steven Shipley‘s shot in close, which tied the score at 1 on the power play with 6:03 left in the period. But the Otters regained the lead at 2-1 just 1:06 later, as Nick Betz pushed a rebound past Festarini. The IceDogs recorded the first nine shots, including rookie David Sysala‘s first career goal off 6:44 into the period that tied the score at 2.
Anthony DiFruscia‘s first OHL goal handed the IceDogs their first lead at 3-2 at the 4:34 mark. Then Joel Wigle‘s bad-angle shot slipped between Dansk and the right post for a 4-2 IceDogs lead with 9:32 left.
- Victor Fernandes