The Erie Otters hadn’t enjoyed a game like this for a long time.
“It feels good,” veteran winger J.P. Labardo said after a 7-1 win against Saginaw in front of 2,083 at Erie Insurance Arena Wednesday night. Since the rebuilding process began a season ago, the Otters (4-7-1-1) have found themselves on the wrong end of blowouts.
And for the most part, Erie has encountered tightly contested games this season. Yet after a slow opening few minutes against the Spirit (4-7-2-0), the Otters exploded offensively, especially on special teams, while clamping down on Saginaw’s dangerous offense.
The Otters scored three times apiece in the first and second periods, headlined by two power-play goals and a pair of short-handed scores, on the way to the franchise’s largest margin of victory since a 10-3 win in Kingston Feb. 13, 2011. The Otters also scored their most goals in a game since an 8-7 shootout loss to the Spirit March 2, 2012. They entered the game averaging 2.9 goals per game.
Luke Cairns led the way with a goal and two assists. Labardo scored twice while Connor Crisp (goal, assist), Jimmy McDowell (goal, assist) and Adam Pelech (two assists) had two points apiece. Meanwhile, Oscar Dansk stopped 34-of-35 shots, and was headed to his first OHL shutout until Jimmy Lodge’s power-play goal with 1 minute, 32 seconds left in the game.
- Victor Fernandes