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
Archive for the ‘AHL’ category
Posted: April 15th, 2014

WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS

No. 1C Colorado Avalanche vs. WC1 Minnesota Wild
Season records: Colorado 52-22-8, Minnesota 43-27-12
Season series: Colorado won 4-0-1
Players to watch
Colorado – G Semyon Varlamov (41-14-6 record, 2.41 goals-against average, .927 save percentage, 2 shutouts), C Matt Duchene (23 goals, 47 assists, 70 points), LW Gabriel Landeskog (26-39-65), C Ryan O’Reilly (28-36-64), C Nathan MacKinnon (24-39-63), D Tyson Barrie (13-25-38, plus-17); Minnesota – RW Jason Pominville (30-30-60), LW Zach Parise (29-27-56), C Mikko Koivu (11-43-54), D Ryan Suter (8-35-43, +15), LW Matt Moulson (23-28-51), G Darcy Kuemper (12-8-4, 2.43, .915, 2 SHO)
Fast facts: Duchene reportedly could miss the first two games with a knee injury. … O’Reilly, a former Erie Otter, set career highs with 28 goals and 64 points, and nearly was the first NHL player to finish a season without any penalty minutes (2 PIMs). … Moulson had six goals and 13 points in 20 games since being acquired from the New York Islanders.
Outlook: The Avalanche are having a dream season after struggling the past few years. They will most one step closer to their dream of capturing the Stanley Cup.
Prediction: Avalanche in 6 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Thursday at Colorado, 9:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Saturday at Colorado, 9:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Minnesota, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – April 24 at Minnesota, 9:30 p.m.
Game 5 – April 26 at Colorado, TBD*
Game 6 – April 28 at Minnesota, TBD*
Game 7 – April 30 at Colorado, TBD*
* If necessary

No. 2C St. Louis Blues vs. No. 3C Chicago Blackhawks
Season records: St. Louis 52-23-7, Chicago 46-21-15
Season series: St. Louis won 3-2
Players to watch
St. Louis – G Ryan Miller (25-30-4, 2.64, .918, 1 SHO), LW Alexander Steen (33-29-62), RW T.J. Oshie (21-39-60), C David Backes (27-30-57), LW Jaden Schwartz (25-31-56), D Alex Pietrangelo (8-43-51, +20), D Kevin Shattenkirk (10-35-45, +1); Chicago – LW Patrick Sharp (34-44-78), RW Patrick Kane (29-40-69), C Jonathan Toews (28-40-68), D Duncan Keith (6-55-61, +22), RW Marian Hossa (30-30-60), G Corey Crawford (32-16-10, 2.26, .917, 2 SHO)
Fast facts: Miller had a 10-8-1 record, 2.47 GAA, .903 save pct. and one shutout in 19 games since being acquired from Buffalo. … Kane and Toews reportedly said they are ready to play after missing the last 12 games with injuries. … Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2013. … St. Louis won the first three regular-season meetings, while the Blackhawks won the last two.
Outlook: The Blues have been touted as a Cup contender all season long. But the Blackhawks are the defending champion. So they know how win at this time of year.
Prediction: Blackhawks in 6 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Thursday at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday at St. Louis, 3 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
Game 4 – April 23 at Chicago, 9:30 p.m.
Game 5 – April 25 at St. Louis, 8 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 27 at Chicago, 3 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 29 at St. Louis, TBD*
* If necessary

No. 1P Anaheim Ducks vs. WC2 Dallas Stars
Season records: Anaheim 54-20-8, Dallas 40-31-11
Season series: Dallas won 2-1
Players to watch
Anaheim – C Ryan Getzlaf (31-56-87), RW Corey Perry (43-39-82), C Nick Bonino (22-27-49), C Andrew Cogliano (21-21-42), D Cam Fowler (6-30-36), G Jonas Hiller (29-13-7, 2.48, .911, 5 SHO); Dallas – C Tyler Seguin (37-47-84), G Kari Lehtonen (33-20-10, 2.41, .919, 5 SHO), LW Jamie Benn (34-45-79), D Alex Goligoski (6-36-42, +9), RW Alex Chiasson (13-22-35), C Cody Eakin (16-19-35)
Fast facts: Getzlaf finished second to the Penguins’ Crosby in the league’s scoring race. … Seguin set career highs in goals, assists and points in his first season with the Stars. … Goligoski, the former Penguin, set career highs in assists and points. … Dallas snapped a six-year streak of missing the playoffs under former Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff.
Outlook: The secret to the Ducks’ success isn’t a secret at all. Hiller has to be strong in net, while Getzlaf and Perry have to spark the best forward line on the ice.
Prediction: Ducks in 5 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Today at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
Game 2 – Friday at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Dallas, 9:30 p.m.
Game 4 – April 23 at Dallas, 8 p.m.
Game 5 – April 25 at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 27 at Dallas, TBD*
Game 7 – April 29 at Anaheim, TBD*
* If necessary

No. 2P San Jose Sharks vs. No. 3P Los Angeles Kings
Season records: San Jose 51-22-9, Los Angeles 46-28-8
Season series: Los Angeles won 3-1-1
Players to watch
Anaheim – C Joe Pavelski (41-38-79), C Joe Thornton (11-65-76), LW Patrick Marleau (33-37-70), G Antti Niemi (39-17-7, 2.39, .913, 4 SHO), C Logan Couture (23-31-54), D Dan Boyle (12-24-36); Los Angeles – G Jonathan Quick (27-17-4, 2.07, .915, 6 SHO), D Drew Doughty (10-27-37, +18), C Anze Kopitar (29-41-70), C Jeff Carter (27-23-50), RW Justin Williams (19-24-43), C Mike Richards (11-30-41)
Fast facts: The Kings eliminated San Jose in the conference semifinals a season ago, with five games being decided by one goal. … The Kings had identical 23-14-4 records at home and on the road. … Former Otter Jordan Nolan set career highs with six goals and 10 points in 64 games in his first full season with the Kings.
Outlook: The Sharks score goals, but the Kings shut down teams that score goals. Defense is more important at playoff time.
Prediction: Kings in 6 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Thursday at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday at San Jose, 10 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at Los Angeles, 10 p.m.
Game 4 – April 24 at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.
Game 5 – April 26 at San Jose, TBD*
Game 6 – April 28 at Los Angeles, TBD*
Game 7 – April 30 at San Jose, TBD*
* If necessary

Posted: April 15th, 2014

Five former Erie Otters are set to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which begin tonight…
(includes position, age, current NHL club, total NHL games played and years played) 

Michael Blunden

RW Mike Blunden (27), Montreal – 102 games (2006-08, 2009-14)
* Spent most of the season with Hamilton (AHL), where he scored a career-high 18 goals and had 36 points, one shy of his career high (37 with Rockford, 2007-08) … had no points and five penalty minutes in seven games with the Canadiens … hasn’t recorded a point in the NHL since the 2011-12 season (two goals, four points in a career-high 39 games)

D Carlo Colaiacovo (31), St. Louis – 401 games

Carlo Colaiacovo

(2002-04, 2005-14)
* Played in 25 games, and was a healthy scratch numerous times … has one goal, four points, a minus-4 rating and 18 penalty minutes this season … has played in 31 games the past two seasons after topping the 60-game mark every year from 2008-12 … has 20 games of playoff experience, including nine with Detroit a season ago

Jordan Nolan

C Jordan Nolan (24), Los Angeles – 134 games (2011-14)
* Set career highs with six goals, 10 points, 54 penalty minutes and 64 games in his first full season with the Kings … made his playoff debut a season ago (no points, no penalty minutes in seven games) … played in his 100th career game Dec. 21 against Colorado … son of Buffalo Sabres head coach Ted Nolan

F Ryan O’Reilly (23), Colorado – 345 games

Ryan O'Reilly

(2009-14)
* Led the Avalanche with 28 goals, third with 64 points and fourth with 36 assists … set career highs in goals and points, and was one assist shy of matching his season best (37 in 2011-12) … nearly became the first player in NHL history to finish a season without any penalty minutes … had two PIMs this season and eight in the past three seasons

Michael Rupp

LW Mike Rupp (34), Minnesota – 610 games (2002-04, 2005-14)
* Played in only 13 games this season, partly because he was recovering from offseason knee injury … has to serve the final three games of a four-game suspension for a hit to St. Louis center T.J. Oshie’s head last week … has played in 58 NHL games the past two seasons after playing in 60 or more every year from 2006-12
Note: Detroit C Riley Sheahan, 22, was the Otters’ fourth-round pick in the 2007 OHL Priority Selection, but never signed with the club. 
Posted: April 1st, 2014

Western Conference semifinals (best-of-7 series)

No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Season records: Erie 52-14-2-0, Sault Ste. Marie 44-17-2-5
Season series: Tied 1-1
First-round recap: Erie def. No. 6 Saginaw, 4 games to 1; Sault Ste. Marie def. No. 7 Owen Sound, 4-1
Players to watch: Erie – LW Dane Fox (6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points), C Brendan Gaunce (4-4-8), RW Connor Brown (2-6-8), C Connor McDavid (2-6-8), LW Andre Burakovsky (6-1-7), G Devin Williams (4-0-1 record, 2.97 goals-against average, .893 save percentage); Sault Ste. Marie – G Matt Murray (4-0-1, 2.38, .918, 1

Matt Murray

shutout) D Darnell Nurse (2-5-7, plus-4), C Tyler Gaudet (2-6-8), LW Michael Bunting (5-1-6), C Jared McCann (2-3-5), LW Sergey Tolchinsky (1-3-4)
Fast facts: Fox leads the league in playoff scoring, and is tied with Burakovsky for the lead in goals. … Murray earned the league’s player of the week award for totaling a 3-0-0 record, 1.33 goals-against average, .957 save percentage and one shutout in the final three games against Owen Sound. … The Otters won three of four one-goal games, including two of three in overtime, against Saginaw. … The Greyhounds won four straight games after losing the series opener to the Attack. … D Kurtis MacDermid (flu) will play tonight. … C Kyle Pettit (gash across left calf) is listed as day-to-day. … McDavid (28-71-99) and Tolchinsky (31-60-91) ranked among the league’s top 10 scorers in the regular season after finishing among the top three rookie scorers a season ago. … WJET-AM/1400 will broadcast Games 2 through 4 and, if necessary, Games 5 through 7.
Outlook: The Greyhounds have home-ice advantage, but the Otters are a better team when they’re playing at their best – especially in net.
Prediction: Otters in 6 games

Series schedule
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie

Game 1 – Today at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.
Game 2 – Friday at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – April 10 at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 12 at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 14 at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.*
* If necessary

______________________________________________________________________________

No. 1 Guelph Storm vs. No. 4 London Knights
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Sleeman Centre – Guelph, Ontario
Season series: Tied 3-3
First-round recap: Guelph def. No. 8 Plymouth, 4 games to 1; London def. No. 5 Windsor, 4-0
Players to watch

Zack Mitchell

Guelph – RW Zack Mitchell (2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points), G Justin Nichols (4-1-0 record, 1.81 goals-against average, .941 save percentage, 1 shutout), LW Jason Dickinson (3-4-7), LW Kerby Rychel (1-6-7), D Zac Leslie (0-6-6, +5 rating), D Nick Ebert (4-1-5, +6)
London - C Chris Tierney (3-6-9), C Bo Horvat (4-4-8), C Ryan Rupert (1-7-8), LW Max Domi (2-4-6), D Nikita Zadorov (3-2-5, +4), G Jake Patterson (1-0-0, 3.00, .919)

Jake Patterson


Fast facts: Knights No. 1 G Anthony Stolarz (3-0-0, 2.00, .933) still has to serve the final 7 games of an 8-game suspension for striking Windsor RW Josh Ho-Sang in the back of the head with a stick in Game 3 of their first-round series. … Knights D Zach Bell will miss the rest of the season with a broken leg suffered in Game 4 against the Spitfires. … Storm C Robby Fabbri (45-42-87 in the regular season) missed the final four games of the first-round series reportedly because of a hit to the head from Plymouth D Yannick Rathgeb, who received a 10-game suspension. … LW Brock McGinn (43-42-85 in the regular season) still has to serve the final six games of an eight-game suspension for a hit to the head of Whalers RW Connor Sills in Game 3.
Outlook: Both teams head into the series short-handed, so I’ll stick with my original prediction
Prediction: Knights in 7 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday at Guelph, 7 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at London, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – April 10 at London, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – April 11 at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 13 at London, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 15 at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary

Posted: April 1st, 2014

Ds Nick Jones and Randy Cure, who recently completed their hockey careers at Mercyhurst, have joined the professional ranks. Jones has signed a contract with the AHL’s Worcester Sharks, while Cure has played 3 games with the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals.

Posted: March 20th, 2014
 

Posted: March 4th, 2014

In other trade news, the Phoenix Coyotes announced they traded forward prospect Chris Brown, 23, whose family has ties to Millcreek Township, to Washington on Tuesday in a deal that also sent defenseman Rostislav Klesla and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft to the Capitals for forwards Martin Erat and John Mitchell.
Brown, the Coyotes’ second-round pick in the 2009 draft, had no points and 19 penalty minutes in 11 games with the Coyotes the past two seasons. He had 41 goals, 82 points and 166 penalty minutes in two seasons with the AHL’s Portland Pirates, including 14 goals, 35 points and 68 penalty minutes in 51 games this year. The Flower Mound, Texas, native played at the University of Michigan from 2009-12 after two years with the United States National Development Team Program’s Under-18 team.

Posted: February 27th, 2014

Erie native Justin Mercier has signed a professional tryout agreement with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders. Read more by clicking here

Posted: January 30th, 2014

Check out this story on former Erie Otters D David Shields‘ return to his hometown of Rochester, N.Y., for an AHL game…

Posted: January 29th, 2014

Take another look at former Erie Otters C Phil Varone‘s first NHL goal for the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night…

Posted: January 27th, 2014

Brendan Gaunce

Erie Otters (36-9-2-0) at Belleville Bulls (13-29-2-2)
When: Today, 7:05 p.m.
Where: Yardmen Arena – Belleville, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Up next: at Niagara (Thursday, 7 p.m.), at Owen Sound (Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters face the Bulls in a game that was postponed Saturday because of inclement weather and bad travel conditions. … The Otters’ magic number to clinch their first OHL playoff spot since the 2010-11 season stands at 3 points. … C Connor McDavid (lower body) has missed the past two games. No word yet if will play tonight. … The Otters can complete a two-game sweep of the Bulls. Erie won 4-3 at home Oct. 18. … LW Dane Fox (51 goals, 31 assists, 82 points) has no goals in his past four games. He still needs three goals to break Cory Pecker‘s franchise record of 53 goals set in the 2001-02 season. … RW Connor Brown (35-63-98) has set a new single-season franchise record for assists. …

Stephen Harper

Brown has 98 points this season, which stands two shy of breaking Pecker’s single-season record of 99 points in 2001-02 and becoming the Otters’ first 100-point scorer. Brown has a 14-point lead over Fox in the race for the league’s scoring title. … The Bulls are last in the Eastern Conference, but only 10 points out of the final playoff spot. … They have lost three straight and seven of their last 11 games. … The Otters face former teammate Stephen Harper for the first time since the LW was traded to Belleville in late November in the deal for C Brendan Gaunce. Harper has four goals, 13 points and 14 penalty minutes in 20 games with the Bulls. … Gaunce (12-14-26 in 22 games with the Otters) faces his former team for the first time, while C/LW Michael Curtis (18-18-36) plays in Belleville for the first time since traded to Erie this past August. … LW Remi Elie (18-25-43) leads the Bulls in scoring, while D Jordan Subban – brother of Montreal Canadiens D P.K. Subban and Boston Bruins G prospect Malcolm Subban – has 32 points and a plus-4 rating in 45 games.

- Victor Fernandes