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 ‘Erie Otters’ category
Posted: April 22nd, 2014

TONIGHT’S LINEUPS
(starters in bold italics)

 

ERIE OTTERS
Forwards
Fox-McDavid-Brown
Curtis-Strome-Burakovsky
Wood-Gaunce-Wigle
Evans-Pettit-Murphy

Defense
Genovese-Pelech
MacDermid-Abraham
Dermott-Donnay

Goaltenders
Williams
Dansk

Scratches: Felker, Raddysh, Maksimovich, Betz

GUELPH STORM
Forwards
Rychel-Fabbri-Mitchell
Bertuzzi-Dickinson-Kosmachuk
McGinn-Horvat-Auger
Bauman-Suter-Pierog

Defense
Finn-Trojanovic
Leslie-Ebert
Baltisberger-Harpur

Goaltenders
Nichols
Mancina

 Scratches: Craievich, Stevens, McFadden
 

Posted: April 22nd, 2014

OHL playoffs at a glance
Western Conference finals, Game 3
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 1 Guelph Storm
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WJET-AM/1400, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Series update: Guelph leads 3-0 (5-4 win in Game 1, 7-2 win in Game 2, 7-1 win in Game 3)
Players to watch

Connor Brown

Erie – G Devin Williams (8-2-1 record, 2.55 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, 2 shutouts), LW Dane Fox (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points), C Connor McDavid (4-13-17), C Brendan Gaunce (6-9-15), RW Connor Brown (6-9-15), LW Andre Burakovsky (10-3-13), D Adam Pelech (2-4-6, plus-5 rating), C Dylan Strome (2-6-8); Guelph – RW Scott Kosmachuk (9-11-20), RW Zack Mitchell (7-13-20), LW Kerby Rychel (6-13-19), LW Jason Dickinson (5-13-18), G Justin Nichols

Justin Nichols

(11-2-0, 2.66, .919, 1 SHO), C Robby Fabbri (9-7-16), LW Tyler Bertuzzi (8-6-14), D Matt Finn(2-6-8, +10)
Fast facts: The Otters face playoff elimination and the end of their season tonight. … Only four teams in league playoff history have overcome a 3-0 deficit in games to win a series. Peterborough (1st round vs. Kingston this season) was the most recent. Windsor was the last team to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win in the conference finals (2010 vs. Kitchener). … The Otters have faced 3-0 series deficits five times in franchise history. They have been swept twice and lost in five games three other times, including in five games to Guelph in the opening round of the 1999 playoffs. Erie rallied to tie London in the first round in 1998 before losing Game 7. … The Otters’ loss in Game 3 was only their only fifth defeat at home this season (34-4-1). They had won the first four playoff games on home ice. … Guelph has outscored the Otters 14-3 in the last two games and 19-7 in the series. … Williams will start in net tonight. … Guelph’s top six forwards (16 goals, 33 points) have outscored Erie’s top two lines (5 goals and 11 points) in the series. … The Otters are 2-for-13 on the power play with two short-handed goals against in the series. The Storm are 4-for-21 with no short-handed goals against.
Outlook: Either win or the season is over for the Otters – and OHL careers end for overagers Fox, Spencer Abraham and Michael Curtis 

- Victor Fernandes

Series schedule
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 1 Guelph
Storm lead series 3-0
Game 1 – Guelph 5, Erie 4
Game 2 – Guelph 7, Erie 2
Game 3 – Guelph 7, Erie 1
Game 4 – Today at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – Saturday at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – Monday at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary

 

Posted: April 21st, 2014

My colleague, John Dudley, describes the Erie Otters’ troubles well in his column today – “The question isn’t who will be in net for the Erie Otters” for Game 4 Tuesday. “The question is whether it matters.”
Devin Williams and Oscar Dansk had another tough night in goal against Guelph.
The tandem in net allowed seven goals on 41 shots, and have surrendered 19 goals on 97 shots in the first three games of the series. But as the Otters face a 3-0 series deficit, they face face more glaring issues.

Here’s just a few thoughts on that…

* The No. 1 line of Connor Brown, Dane Fox and Connor McDavid have been nearly non-existent in the series. The Storm have given McDavid (0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points) no time and space by taking away time and space and using a physical style. Without McDavid at his playmaking best, Brown (2-0-2) hasn’t enjoyed as many quality scoring chances as he did all season long. Fox (0-1-1) hasn’t played an active role on the offensive end throughout the series. Meanwhile, his frustration level has grown with each passing game – to the tune of 10 penalty minutes and a 10-minute misconduct that ended his evening early in Game 1.

* Puck possession was a huge key to success in the regular season, and in the first two series against Saginaw and Sault Ste. Marie. But aside from the start of Games 1 and 2, the Otters haven’t consistently sustained pressure in the offensive end. The more they have the puck, the less opportunity the Storm have to score.

* The Otters haven’t been mentally tough — letdowns after strong starts, allowing goals moments after scoring goals of their own, one bad penalty after another (13 short-handed situations overall in Game 3 tonight). And the Storm seemingly have taken advantage of every mistake.

* The Otters haven’t been aggressive on defense, which have given the Storm plenty of time and space. You can’t give that team any time and space and expect to win. But in the first three games, it seems like the Otters showed too much respect to the Storm from a defensive perspective. That has made life difficult for Williams (who will start Game 4 Tuesday) and Dansk. Perfect example – the Otters allowed only seven quality chances in the first two periods of Game 2 on Friday. The Storm scored on five of them.
 

Here’s what head coach Kris Knoblauch and D Adam Pelech had to say in the post-game news conference… 

Posted: April 20th, 2014

OHL playoffs at a glance
Western Conference finals, Game 3
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 1 Guelph Storm
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WJET-AM/1400, www.ottershockey.com (live stream), Image Sports Network
Series update: Guelph leads 2-0 (5-4 win in Game 1, 7-2 win in Game 2)
Players to watch
Erie – G Devin Williams (8-1-1 record, 2.11 goals-against average, .922 save percentage, 2 shutouts), LW Dane Fox (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points), C Connor McDavid (4-12-16), C Brendan Gaunce (6-9-15), RW Connor Brown (5-9-14), LW Andre Burakovsky (10-3-13), D Adam Pelech (2-3-5, plus-7 rating), C Dylan Strome (2-6-8); Guelph – RW Zack Mitchell (7-12-19), LW Jason Dickinson (5-12-17), G Justin Nichols (10-2-0, 2.81, .916, 1 SHO), LW Kerby Rychel (5-12-17), RW Scott Kosmachuk (8-9-17), LW Brock McGinn (2-1-3 in 4 games), LW Tyler Bertuzzi (7-6-13), D Matt Finn(2-4-6, +8)
Fast facts: The Otters play the next two games at home, where they are 34-3-1 this season – including 4-0 in the playoffs. … They were 2-1 against the Storm at home in the regular season. … Nichols shut out the Otters 1-0 at EIA on Jan. 18. … Guelph has outscored the Otters 12-6 despite being outshot 63-56 in the series. … Williams could get the start tonight after Oscar Dansk allowed seven goals on 30 shots in Game 2 Friday night. Williams allowed five goals on 26 shots in the Game 1 loss. … Gaunce had an eight-game playoff scoring streak snapped in the Game 2 loss. … The Otters’ No. 1 line of Brown, Fox and McDavid, who finished among the league’s top four scorers in the regular season, has been held to a combined one goal and three assists in the series. … Mitchell leads the league in playoff scoring. Fox, Kosmachuk, Dickinson and Rychel are tied for second. … The Otters, which lead the league on the power play this season, are 1-for-7 with the man advantage and have alllowed a short-handed goal.
Outlook: The Otters have said they won’t be in trouble in this series until they play at home. Now they’re at home, and they have to win.

- Victor Fernandes

Check out the latest edition of Knoblauch Korner here
Western Conference finals and check out what D Kurtis MacDermid has to say about moving forward in this series.

Series schedule
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 – Today at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – Saturday at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 28 at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary

Posted: April 18th, 2014
Oscar Dansk

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

Series schedule
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

 

Posted: April 18th, 2014

GUELPH, Ontario – The turning point in the Western Conference finals will occur tonight in Game 2.
Erie Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch is starting Oscar Dansk in net, a night after Devin Williams allowed 5 goals on 26 shots in a 5-4 Game 1 loss – but more importantly, after Williams played so well through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Knoblauch has gone down this road once before this postseason – Game 3 against Saginaw in the first round. Dansk allowed five goals on 25 shots and was replaced by Williams in what became a 7-6 OT loss. That momentarily gave the Spirit life in the series after they lost the first two games in Erie. And that move could have changed the overall series.
I’m not 100 percent surprised by the move. Williams wasn’t bad – average but not bad – in Game 1. But it seemed like the time Knoblauch would consider making the switch. Williams also hasn’t enjoyed a ton of success against the Storm this season – 21 goals against on 182 shots (.884 save percentage) in 5 games this season.
If this move produces a win tonight, the Otters will gain more than home-ice advantage. They will gain added confidence and mometum as they head back to Erie for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Tuesday. If it doesn’t work, the Otters are in trouble.

- Victor Fernandes
 

 

Posted: April 18th, 2014

Western Conference finals, Game 1
Erie Otters vs. Guelph Storm

TONIGHT’S LINEUPS
Starters in bold italics

ERIE OTTERS
Forwards
Burakovsky
-Gaunce-Wigle
Fox-McDavid-Brown
Curtis-Strome-Evans
Murphy-Pettit-Betz

Defense
Genovese-Pelech
MacDermid-Abraham
Dermott-Donnay

Goaltenders
Dansk
Williams

Scratches: Felker (healthy), Raddysh (healthy), Maksimovich (healthy), Wood (healthy)

GUELPH STORM
Forwards
Rychel-Fabbri-Mitchell
Bertuzzi-Dickinson-Kosmachuk
McGinn-Horvat-Auger
Bauman-Suter-Pierog

Defense
Finn-Trojanovic
Leslie-Ebert
Baltisberger-Harpur

Goaltenders
Nichols
Mancina

Scratches: Craievich, Stevens, McFadden

Posted: April 18th, 2014

Western Conference finals, Game 2 (best-of-7 series)
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 1 Guelph Storm
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Sleeman Centre – Guelph, Ontario
On the air: WJET-AM/1400, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Series update: Guelph leads 1-0 (5-4 win in Game 1 Thursday)
Players to watch

Brendan Gaunce

Erie – G Devin Williams (8-1-1 record, 2.11 goals-against average, .922 save percentage, 2 shutouts), LW Dane Fox (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points), C Brendan Gaunce (6-9-15), C Connor McDavid (4-11-15), RW Connor Brown (5-9-14), LW Andre Burakovsky (9-3-12), D Adam Pelech (2-3-5, plus-9 rating), C Dylan Strome (2-6-8); Guelph – LW Jason

Brock McGinn

Dickinson (4-10-14), RW Zack Mitchell (5-10-15), G Justin Nichols (9-2-0, 2.89, .914, 1 SHO), LW Kerby Rychel (2-11-13), RW Scott Kosmachuk (6-7-13), LW Brock McGinn (2-1-3 in 3 games), LW Tyler Bertuzzi (7-4-11), D Matt Finn(2-4-6, +9)
Fast facts: The Game 1 loss was the Otters’ second defeat in their last 18 games dating back to the final eight games of the regular season. … They are 0-4 in Guelph this season. … The Otters allowed more than three goals in a game for only the second time in 10 playoff games. He had allowed eight goals in their previous six games. … Williams allowed five goals on 26 shots in the Game 1 loss after surrendering three goals on 122 shots in the four-game sweep of Sault Ste. Marie in the conference semifinals. … McGinn (43-42-85 in the regular season) makes his series debut after completing an eight-game suspension Thursday. … Bertuzzi scored twice in Game 1. … Gaunce has points in eight straight games – tied for the second-longest streak in the playoffs – and in nine of 10 postseason games overall.
Outlook: The Otters began the series wanting to split the first two games in Guelph. Game 1 slipped away. They have one more chance tonight.

- Victor Fernandes

Series schedule
Storm lead series 1-0 
Game 1 – Guelph 5, Erie 4
Game 2 – Today at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – April 25 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
 

 

Posted: April 17th, 2014

GUELPH, Ontario – Even in a game with nine goals, five lead changes and four ties, Dane Fox – the OHL’s leading goal scorer in the regular season – was seemingly non-existent offensively in the Erie Otters’ Game 1 loss to Guelph tonight.
Fox never found his rhythm offensively, because he wasn’t his usual aggressive self. When Fox is at his best, he works relentlessly to get into open ice, puts constant pressure on defenses and utilizes on one of the league’s quickest shots.
But on this night, he seemed stagnant. He didn’t move his feet as well as he ordinarily does. At one point, Fox seemed hurt, as he skated to the bench hunched over with what appeared to be a grimace on his face.
He certainly was frustrated as the game progressed. That frustration boiled over in a big way late in the third period, as he vehemently argued a tripping penalty – his third minor penalty of the game – which led to an early trip to the dressing room with a 10-minute misconduct after being given a good bit of leeway from the officials. That left the Otters short-handed for two minutes, and then during a 6-on-4 power play in the closing seconds that included a final faceoff with 4 seconds left.
Fox joins Brendan Gaunce (who took that draw) as the team’s top faceoff guys.
Fox didn’t speak with the media after the game. Instead, he boarded the team bus early. Yet when asked to assess Fox’s late-game outburst, head coach Kris Knoblauch said, “I’m disappointed when anybody on my team loses it like that.”
“Certainly we could have them at the end of the game for that last shift and that last faceoff,” Knoblauch added. “But certainly we have to stay much more composed and focused, because certainly that’s not who we are. This time of the year, obviously emotions run hot. But certainly we have to look forward to our next shift.”
On the bright side, Fox is too good not to bounce back. Expect a much better effort from him in Game 2 Friday night.

*** Knoblauch didn’t want to comment on the controversial tripping penalty against Fox. Then he ended up commenting anyway. “I didn’t think that was tripping at the end,” he said. “Fox was trying to lift his stick. (Fox) was on his hands, and (the Storm player) falls down.”
The officiating was consistent for the most part. But that was a tough spot to call a penalty that was borderline at best.

*** Defenses didn’t struggle as much as the 5-4 score would indicate. Both offenses were simply in top form.
There wasn’t a bad goal all night. Instead, there were deflections and redirects, strong finishes on odd-man rushes, 2 or 3 wicked wrist shots (including Connor Brown‘s power-play goal in the first period) and a slap shot from Tyler Bertuzzi that sailed through D Travis Dermott‘s legs and past G Devin Williams.

*** However, the Otters’ D has to step up Friday, because a Storm club that scored 5 goals on 26 shots in Game 1 gets suspended 40-goal scorer Brock McGinn back in the lineup.

*** Speaking of the Storm’s attack, this game showed how dangerous they are. They have more quality scorers beyond frontline guys like McGinn, Scott Kosmachuk, Zack Mitchell and Kerby Rychel. Bertuzzi had 2 goals tonight, while Ryan Horvat scored the GW goal 6 minutes into the third period.
“The other lines have to be able to chip in and take some of the pressure off the guys,” head coach Scott Walker said.

- Victor Fernandes
 

 

 

 

Posted: April 17th, 2014

Western Conference finals, Game 1
Erie Otters vs. Guelph Storm

TONIGHT’S LINEUPS
Starters in bold italics (starting lines/D pairings coming soon)

ERIE OTTERS
Forwards
Fox-McDavid-Brown
Burakovsky-Gaunce-Wigle
Curtis-Strome-Evans
Murphy-Pettit-Betz

Defense
Genovese-Pelech
MacDermid-Abraham
Dermott-Donnay

Goaltenders
Williams
Dansk

Scratches: Felker (healthy), Raddysh (healthy), Maksimovich (healthy), Wood (healthy)

GUELPH STORM
Forwards
Mitchell-Dickinson-Kosmachuk
Rychel-Horvat-Auger
Bertuzzi-Fabbri-Pierog
Bauman-Suter-Stevens

Defense
Finn-Trojanovic
Leslie-Ebert
Baltisberger-Harpur

Goaltenders
Nichols
Mancina

Scratches: Craievich, McGinn (suspension), McFadden
 

Switch to our mobile site