GUELPH, Ontario – Oscar Dansk‘s struggles in net continued tonight, but he had plenty of help in allowing seven goals on 30 shots in a 7-2 loss to Guelph tonight in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
The OHL’s stingiest scoring defense in the regular season has been unable to handle wave after wave of attacks from the league’s highest-scoring offense this season. The Otters succumbed to a series of 2-on-1s and 3-on-2s, especially in the third period. The Storm deserve lots of credit, because they capitalized on scoring chances with their speed, pinpoint passing and even better shots. But the Otters need to slow down the Attack in a pair of must-win games in Erie on Monday and Tuesday.
“We’ve got to be better,” D Spencer Abraham said. “We know we can’t give them much. They have so much talent up front, much like us. Their top 6 is amongst the best in the league. … Everyone just has to tighten up. One mistake here and there, and it’s been ending up in the back of our net.”
That begins with better puck possession, which was a staple through the Otters’ success in the regular season and through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Otters started strong for the second straight game, to the tune of a 13-1 advantage in shots. “They capitalized on their opportunities. We didn’t,” head coach Kris Knoblauch said.
He needs more consistent play from the team’s top line of OHL goals leader Dane Fox, OHL scoring leader Connor Brown and second-year phenom Connor McDavid. They were held to one point in Game 2 – McDavid’s assist on D Cory Genovese‘s goal – and four points (including one goal) in the first two games. They were arguably the league’s best line in the regular season, and were on fire against Saginaw and Sault Ste. Marie. It’s time to raise their game again.
*** As expected, Knoblauch didn’t reveal whether Dansk or Devin Williams will start in goal for Game 3. Yet he did say he started Dansk tonight because Williams needed rest. Williams allowed five goals on 26 shots in a Game 1 loss. But before that, he and the Otters had nine days off after eliminating Sault Ste. Marie in a four-game sweep. So how was he tired?
*** The Otters deserved a better fate early in the game for the second straight night. Shots were 13-1 Otters at one point in the first period. Yet the Storm scored first on their 2nd shot. The Otters built a 16-9 shot advantage in the period, but were still down 3-0. It just shows strong how dangerous the Storm really are.
- Victor Fernandes
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 1 Guelph
Storm lead series 2-0
Game 1 – Guelph 5, Erie 4
Game 2 – Guelph 7, Erie 2
Game 3 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 26 at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 28 at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
No. 1 Oshawa vs. No. 2 North Bay
Battalion lead series 1-0
Game 1 – North Bay 1, Oshawa 0
Game 2 – Sunday at Oshawa, 6:05 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Wednesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 26 at North Bay, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 28 at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.*
* If necessary