The Erie Otters had plenty of jump against the OHL-leading London Knights Friday night.
The Otters built an early 2-0 lead and then held on for a 4-3 win in front of 3,060 fans at Erie Insurance Arena. Dane Fox had two goals and an assist against his former team while Connor Brown added three assists for the Otters (17-31-3-5). Oscar Dansk made 30 saves for the Otters.
Matt Rupert, Ryan Rupert and Bo Horvat score while Max Domi had two assists for the Knights (39-12-2-2), which played without injured leading scorer Seth Griffith. Anthony Stolarz took the loss despite stopping 29-of-31 shots in relief of starter Jake Patterson.
Surprisingly, the Otters jumped on the Knights early on the way to taking a 2-0 lead and chasing Patterson from the net after only five minutes and five shots on goal. Luke Cairns opened the scoring by slipping a shot past Patterson for his 10th goal of the season 3:13 into the game. Then linemate Fox, who assisted on Cairns’ goal, flicked a backhand past Patterson at the 5:12 mark.
That goal sent Patterson to the bench in favor of Stolarz. He immediately was tested by Otters rookie Connor McDavid, the first of Stolarz’s 10 saves on 10 shots in the first period. He robbed Cairns of another goal with a right pad save in the final seconds of the period.
But the Otters, which ranked near the bottom of the OHL with 169 goals scored entering the game, continued to pressure one of the league’s stingiest defenses in the second. Erie gained momentum during a trio of 5-on-3 opportunities in a span of four minutes early in the period.
The Otters also regained a two-goal lead at 3-1 on Fox’s second goal of the night 5:51 into the period. Brown earned his third assist of the game on the goal. The Knights pulled within a goal at 3-2 on Horvat’s goal off a rebound 4:22 into the third period.
A great individual effort from McDavid led to his 24th goal of the season and a 4-2 lead with 6:27 left. McDavid slipped from behind the net, and then appeared to mesmerize two Knights’ defenders with his stickhandling, before sliding a shot past Stolarz.
The Knights once again sliced Erie’s lead to a goal at 4-3 with 5:01 left, as Ryan Rupert‘s scored a power-play goal with Stolarz on the bench for an extra attacker. Yet the Otters held on to even the season season with the Midwest Division rival Knights at two games apiece.
- Victor Fernandes
Otters 4, Knights 3
London 1 0 2 — 3
Erie 2 1 1 — 4
1st Period — 1. Erie, Luke Cairns 10 (Fox, Brown), 3:13. 2. Erie, Dane Fox 11 (Brown, Kuzmyk), 5:12. 3. London, Matt Rupert 24 (Domi, Stolarz), 9:19. Penalties — Fox (E) high sticking, 9:31.
2nd Period — 4. Erie, Fox 12 (Brown, Pelech), 5:51 (pp). Penalties — Maatta (L) high sticking, 3:58; M. Rupert (L) delay of game, 5:18; Hughes (L) delay of game, 6:43; Fox (E) roughing, 7:17; Horvat (L) roughing, 7:17; R. Rupert (L) interference, 7:44; Pelech (E) roughing, 13:09.
3rd Period — 5. London, Bo Horvat 25 (Domi, Broadhurst), 4:22. 6. Erie, Connor McDavid 24 (Labardo, Donnay), 13:33. 7. London, Ryan Rupert 9 (Domi, Maatta), 14:59 (pp). Penalties — Betz (E) 14:06.
Shots on goal — London, 10-7-16—33; Erie, 15-13-8—36.
Goaltenders — London, Jake Patterson (5 shots, 3 saves), Anthony Stolarz 4-2-1-0 (31 shots, 29 saves); Erie, Oscar Dansk 9-16-2-3 (33 shots, 30 saves).
Power plays — London (1-3), Erie (1-4).
Referees — Jason Goldenberg, Bob Langdon. Linesmen — Ryan Holmstead, Drew Jackson.
Attendance — 3,060.
* Dane Fox, Otters (2 goals, assist) ** Connor Brown, Otters (3 assists) *** Max Domi, Knights (2 assists)