Shootout
By Victor Fernandes Erie Times-News staff blogger
Staff writer Victor Fernandes has ice in his veins. Hockey – he plays it, coaches it and provides the region's best coverage of it.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1716
Posted: March 21st, 2014
OTTERS WRAP-UP: Thoughts from the Otters’ 4-3 win in Game 1

Now that I have a few moments to think about the back-and-forth affair that was Game 1 of the Erie Otters’ Western Conference quarterfinal series with Saginaw, here’s a few random thoughts…

* The Otters are set to stay in Erie through the 2018-19 season. It’s amazing how much has changed in the past 2 years, starting with the on-ice success and remodeled arena. It seemed like all the talk around this franchise was centered on the relocation rumors. There hasn’t been a word of that all season long. And perhaps, we won’t be talking about that for at least the next 5 years.
* Playoff jitters were obvious, but the players that seemed to overcome that really well were the rookies, namely Dylan Strome and Travis Dermott. They seemed to be comfortable in that electrified atmosphere. They also contributed three assists in the win.
Travis Wood isn’t a rookie, but he turned in a solid performance in his first postseason game. He used his speed and physicality to draw a penalty that led to a power-play goal.
* The Otters need to do a more consistent job of starting games faster. As G Devin Williams said, this team has been in that situation before, and they have overcome them multiple times. But that 2-0 first-period deficit will be much more difficult to overcome later in the postseason.
* It’s official (at least in my mind) – Andre

Andre Burakovsky

Burakovsky has the quickest shot in the OHL. As strong as Spirit G Jake Paterson was tonight (44 saves), he had no chance to stop Burakovsky’s quick release and accurate wrist shot on the tying goal early in the third period.
* Kudos to the Spirit, who have been throughout a difficult time off the ice but turned in an effort that was good enough to win, if not for the Otters’ potent power play, capped by Dane Fox‘s game-winner.
* Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch hinted at starting Williams in Game 2 Saturday night. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes with Oscar Dansk.
Knoblauch thinks things through, but he also seems to go off feel and hunches as well. I figured he would start Dansk in Game 1, since Knoblauch often said that Dansk is his No. 1 goaltender. But Dansk was pulled from two games late in the regular season, while Williams played well down the stretch. So Knoblauch went with Williams, and more importantly, stuck with him after the two early goals against.
* I’m not surprised that Knoblauch chose Cory Genovese over Darren Raddysh on defense. Raddysh is an up-and-coming player, but Genovese has past playoff experience. You want to have as much experience on the back end as possible at playoff time.

- Victor Fernandes

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