The shootout already had ventured into the ninth round. Yet Erie Otters goaltender Oscar Dansk wanted it to last longer.
After eight failed attempts, Dansk hoped to give his teammates another chance against London Saturday night at Erie Insurance Arena. But Knights rookie Kyle Platzer scored the only goal of the nine-round marathon to hand the Otters a 4-3 loss in front of 2,667 fans.
The Otters (2-3-1-1) settled for one point and three out of four during their two-game weekend homestand. Meanwhile, the Knights (4-2-0-0) earned their second straight win despite squandering a two-goal, second-period lead. Dansk finished with 19 saves on 22 shots in regulation and overtime before his stellar effort in the shootout. His counterpart, Kevin Bailie, had 26 saves on 29 shots through 65 minutes of action and several more quality saves in the shootout.
No. 1 pick Connor McDavid, Connor Brown and Stephen Harper scored for the Otters. Brown added an assist for a two-point outing.
Seth Griffith and Bo Horvat had a goal and assist apiece for the Knights, while Max Domi added a goal.
McDavid continued his impressive start to his rookie season by scoring 1 minute, 55 seconds into the opening period – his third goal in two nights and fourth goal in seven games. He slid past the Knights’ defense and slipped a shot past Bailie to hand the Otters a 1-0 lead. But that lead didn’t last long, as Domi tied the score at 1 at the 6:23 mark with his fourth goal of the season.
Domi escaped a crowd of defenders behind the Otters’ net and squeezed a shot between the right post and Dansk’s left pad. Then Griffith, who burned the Otters for three goals in an 8-2 Knights’ win in London Sept. 21, scored his seventh goal in six games to snap the 1-1 tie with 8:28 left in the period. Griffth tied Oshawa’s Boone Jenner for the OHL lead in goals.
The Otters dominated at the start of the second. They held the Knights without a shot on goal for nearly eight minutes. Meanwhile, the Otters’ offense generated several quality scoring opportunities. Yet while Bailie stymied the Otters, including key saves in close on Johnny McGuire and Luke Cairns, Bo Horvat scored on the Knights’ first shot of the period to build a 3-1 lead at the 7:56 mark.
But the Otters converted their first power play of the game, as Brown turned a fortunate bounce off a defender in front of the net into his fourth goal of the season. His rebound to Bailie’s left with 2:48 left in the period sent the Otters into the third trailing 3-2.
Then the Otters capitalized on their second power play of the game 9:27 into the third to complete the comeback. After Nick Betz stole the puck from a Knights defender, linemate Jake Evans found Harper in front for his fourth goal of the season.
Harper appeared to give the Otters a 4-3 lead on a power play late in regulation. But the officials whistled the play dead for offsides, a call Harper disagreed with but Otters coach Robbie Ftorek defended. Scott Harrington nearly sealed the Knights’ win in overtime, but his shot from the point glanced off the post and into the ground. Then the Otters killed off a power play in the final 1:32 of the extra period, sending the game into the shootout. But the Otters couldn’t beat Bailie, while Platzer slipped a shot through Dansk’s pads
* News and notes: Head coach Dan Bylsma and former forward Bill Guerin headlined a group of Pittsburgh Penguins officials at the game. Knights defensemen Harrington and Olli Maatta are Penguins prospects. … Scott Howson, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ executive vice president of hockey operations and general manager, attended both games this weekend to watch Dansk, the NHL club’s second-round draft pick this past June. … The Otters scratched Anthony Cortellessa (flu) and Dane Fox (broken foot). Liam Maaskant, Justin Felker and Mitch Eisenberg were healthy scratches. Maaskant and Eisenberg haven’t dressed for a game this season.
- Victor Fernandes