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: April 15th, 2014

Posted: April 14th, 2014

Defense will be on display in the Eastern Conference championship series between Oshawa and North Bay.
The Generals (187 goals against) and Battalion (189) ranked second and third, respectively, in the regular season – behind the Erie Otters (170). They have been equally stingy in the playoffs, with the Generals allowing 13 goals in a pair of four-game sweeps over Mississauga and Peterborough, and the Battalion – one of the league’s top defensive teams every year under head coach Stan Butler – surrendering 28 goals in 13 games.
“It’s two tough teams with two defensive backgrounds,” Generals D Josh Brown said. “It should be a tough series.”
Yet the spotlight should be on Battalion G Jake Smith, who has been solid throughout the postseason but enters this series overshadowed by Oshawa G Daniel Altshuller, who has been arguably the best at this position in the playoffs.
“He’s made the big saves when we’ve needed him to,” Butler said of Smith.
The Generals had an easy road to this round, as they have won all eight games so far. North Bay needed to rally from a 3-1 series deficit against Niagara in the first round, and survive a six-game series with Barrie, to reach this point. Butler doesn’t believe neither the well-rested Generals or battle-tested Battalion has an advantage.

Eastern Conference finals (best-of-7 series)

No. 1 Oshawa Generals vs. No. 2 North Bay Battalion
Season records: Oshawa 42-20-0-6, North Bay 38-24-4-2
Season series: Tied 2-2
Playoff recap: Oshawa def. No. 8 Mississauga 4 games to 0 in quarterfinals, def. No. 6 Peterborough 4-0 in semifinals; North Bay def. No. 7 Niagara 4-3 in quarterfinals, def. No. 4 Barrie 4-2 in semifinals
Players to watch
Oshawa – LW Michael Dal Colle (5 goals, 11 assists, 16 points), G Daniel Altshuller (8-0-0 record, 1.50 goals-against average, .939 save percentage, 3 shutouts), C Cole Cassels (6-7-13), RW Hunter Smith (3-8-11), C Josh Sterk (5-4-9), C Scott Laughton (3-4-7); North Bay – G Jake Smith (8-5-0, 2.08, .916, 2 shutouts), RW Barclay Goodrow (6-6-12), C Nick Paul (7-2-9), RW Alan Henriksson (6-2-8), LW Ben Thomson (4-4-8), D Brenden Miller (1-6-7, plus-5)
Fast facts: The Generals are the only team without a loss in the playoffs. … Laughton rejoins Oshawa’s lineup after serving a three-game suspension stemming from a match penalty for butt-ending in Game 1 against Peterborough. … Altshuller leads the league in GAA, save percentage and shutouts, and is tied atop the wins list with Smith and Otters G Devin Williams. … The Battalion overcame a 3-1 series deficit against Niagara and squandering a two-game lead against Barrie. … Each team won at home and on the road in the season series. … Dal Colle (tied for second) and Cassels (tied for eighth) rank among the league’s top 10 in playoff scoring. … Goodrow (tied for 12th) is the Battalion’s only player among the top 20. … 
Outlook: The Battalion were one loss away from losing in the first round, and battled Barrie in a six-game series. They won’t have enough left for the Generals, who have cruised through the playoffs by outscoring opponents 32-13 in eight games.
Prediction: Generals in 5 games

Overall record - Oshawa 8-0-0, North Bay 8-5-0
Home record - Oshawa 4-0-0, North Bay 6-1-0
Road record - Oshawa 4-0-0, North Bay 2-4-0
Goals scored - Oshawa 32 (4 per game), North Bay 37 (2.8 per game)
Goals against - Oshawa 13 (1.6 per game), North Bay 28 (2.1 per game)
Power play - Oshawa 30.2 pct., North Bay 12.3 pct.
Penalty kill - Oshawa 83.8 pct., North Bay 91.5 pct.

Game 1 – Friday at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday at Oshawa, 6:05 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – April 23 at North Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – April 25 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 14th, 2014

Get ready for the Erie Otters’ Western Conference final series against Guelph with an hour-long edition of Otters Talk on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Share your questions and thoughts with Victor Fernandes by heading to the Shootout blog. Can’t join in at that time? Post your questions on Twitter at or send them by e-mail to, and then check out a recap of the chat on Shootout and Twitter.


Posted: April 14th, 2014


Western Conference 

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 1 Guelph

Game 1 – Thursday at Guelph, 7 p.m.

Game 2 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.

Game 3 – April 21 at Erie, 7 p.m.

Game 4 – April 22 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.*

Eastern Conference

Game 1 – Friday at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.

Game 2 – Sunday at Oshawa, 6:05 p.m.

Game 3 – April 22 at North Bay, 7 p.m.

Game 4 – April 23 at North Bay, 7 p.m.

Game 5 – April 25 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



Western Conference

No. 1 Guelph vs. No. 4 London
Game 1 – Guelph 6, London 4
Game 2 – London 7, Guelph 2
Game 3 – Guelph 4, London 2
Game 4 – Guelph 6, London 3
Game 5 – Guelph 5, London 4

Guelph wins series 4-1

No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie vs. No. 3 Erie
Game 1 – Erie 3, Sault Ste. Marie
Game 2 – Erie 4, Sault Ste. Marie 0
Game 3 – Erie 2, Sault Ste. Marie 0
Game 4 – Erie 3, Sault Ste. Marie 2, OT

Otters win series 4-0

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Oshawa vs. No. 7 Peterborough

Game 1 – Oshawa 3, Peterborough 0
Game 2 – Oshawa 2, Peterborough 0
Game 3 – Oshawa 3, Peterborough 1
Game 4 – Oshawa 5, Peterborough 2

Oshawa wins series 4-0

No. 2 North Bay vs. No. 4 Barrie
Game 1 – North Bay 1, Barrie 0
Game 2 – North Bay 4, Barrie 1
Game 3 – Barrie 2, North Bay 1
Game 4 – Barrie 7, North Bay 4
Game 5 – North Bay 4, Barrie 1
Game 6 – North Bay 3, Barrie 2

North Bay wins series 4-2



Western Conference
No. 1 Guelph vs. No. 8 Plymouth
Game 1 – Guelph 5, Plymouth 2
Game 2 – Guelph 3, Plymouth 0
Game 3 – Plymouth 2, Guelph 1
Game 4 – Guelph 7, Plymouth 2
Game 5 – Guelph 8, Plymouth 3
Guelph wins series 4-1

No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie vs. No. 7 Owen Sound
Game 1 – Owen Sound 5, Sault Ste. Marie 4, OT
Game 2 – Sault Ste. Marie 7, Owen Sound 3
Game 3 – Sault Ste. Marie 5, Owen Sound 3
Game 4 – Sault Ste. Marie 2, Owen Sound 0
Game 5 – Sault Ste. Marie 6, Owen Sound 1
Sault Ste. Marie wins 4-1

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Game 1 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3
Game 2 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3, OT
Game 3 – Saginaw 7, Erie 6, OT
Game 4 – Erie 7, Saginaw 3
Game 5 – Erie 3, Saginaw 2, OT
Erie wins series 4-1

No. 4 London vs. No. 5 Windsor
Game 1 – London 6, Windsor 1
Game 2 – London 6, Windsor 3
Game 3 – London 10, Windsor 2
Game 4 – London 4, Windsor 3
London wins series 4-0

No. 1 Oshawa vs. No. 8 Mississauga
Game 1 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 0
Game 2 – Oshawa 3, Mississauga 2, OT
Game 3 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 5, 2OT
Game 4 – Oshawa 4, Mississauga 3, OT
Oshawa wins series 4-0

No. 2 North Bay vs. No. 7 Niagara
Game 1 – North Bay 4, Niagara 0
Game 2 – Niagara 3, North Bay 2
Game 3 – Niagara 2, North Bay 0
Game 4 – Niagara 5, North Bay 3
Game 5 – North Bay 4, Niagara 3
Game 6 – North Bay 5, Niagara 1
Game 7 – North Bay 2, Niagara 1
North Bay wins series 4-3

No. 3 Kingston vs. No. 6 Peterborough
Game 1 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 1
Game 2 – Kingston 5, Peterborough 3, OT
Game 3 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 2
Game 4 – Peterborough 3, Kingston 1
Game 5 – Peterborough 6, Kingston 5, OT
Game 6 – Peterborough 5, Kingston 4
Game 7 – Peterborough 2, Kingston 1, OT
Peterborough wins series 4-3

No. 4 Barrie vs. No. 5 Sudbury
Game 1 – Barrie 3, Sudbury 2
Game 2 – Barrie 4, Sudbury 3, OT
Game 3 – Barrie 6, Sudbury 4
Game 4 – Sudbury 2, Barrie 1
Game 5 – Barrie 7, Sudbury 0
Barrie wins series 4-1

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 13th, 2014

The Pittsburgh Penguins open the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Check out schedules for the Penguins and the rest of the league here

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 11th, 2014

GUELPH, Ontario – The Erie Otters and Guelph Storm – the OHL’s top two teams in the regular season – will meet for a chance to play for a league championship.
The Storm edged Midwest Division rival London 5-4 in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals Friday night at Sleeman Centre to close out the series and clinch a matchup with the Otters in the best-of-seven conference finals, which begin Thursday at 7 p.m. in Guelph. The Storm (52-12-2-2) and Otters (52-14-2-0) had the top two records in the league.
The top-seeded Storm also will host the third-seeded Otters in Game 2 Friday at 7:30 p.m. before the series heads to Erie Insurance Arena for Games 3 and 4 on April 21 and 22 at 7 p.m. If necessary, the Storm would play at home in Game 5 on April 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Game 7 on April 28 at 7 p.m. The Otters would host Game 6 on April 26 at 7 p.m.
The Storm won the regular-season series 4-2.

Series schedule
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 1 Guelph 
Game 1 - Thursday at Guelph, 7 p.m.
Game 2 - Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.
Game 3 - April 21 at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 4 - April 22 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 11th, 2014

Erie Otters C Kyle Pettit was back on the ice for a full practice for the first time since having his left calf slashed by a skate blade in Game 4 of the opening-round series against Saginaw. He’s expected to rejoin the lineup for the start of the Western Conference finals. For now, he will focus on regaining his game shape.
“It’s pretty exciting again. It’s been a slow process, but it’s getting a lot better, ” said Pettit, who skated on his own twice earlier in the week without pain. “That was really surprising to me,” he said. “Maybe I’m a little hesitant, but it’s going to take some time just to get back to normal. … It’s what the practice is for.”


Some players watched the webcast Game 4 in the Guelph-London series on their off night Thursday. Some enjoyed a second day away from hockey. But the coaching staff was hard at work, as they traveled to London, Ontario, to watch the Storm’s 6-3 win at Budweiser Gardens. They are familiar with the Storm and Knights, as the Otters faced their Midwest Division rivals six times apiece in the regular season. But the Otters have tinkered with their strategy from series to series, head coach Kris Knoblauch said. Those teams have done that as well.
“They’re always changing their game a little bit, and they’ll change their game when they play us,” Knoblauch said before Friday’s practice at Erie Insurance Arena, the team’s first time back on the ice since completing a four-game sweep of Sault Ste. Marie on Tuesday in the conference semifinals. “You can watch games on video, but you only see a third of the ice. (Watching games live) gives you a better idea of what’s going on. It gives you a little bit better perspective of what they’re doing.”


Looks like the Otters will have a full week of practice before starting the conference finals. Knoblauch said he expects the best-of-seven series to begin next Friday. So he will need to keep practice fresh to keep his players sharp.
“This time of year you can only practice so much,” he said. Pettit is happy about the long break, though. “I’m getting a lot of rest and working on (my leg),” he said. ”


Oscar Dansk

Oscar Dansk seems like a more confident goaltender these days. He’s still adjusting to what he called a “new experience” – life as a backup to Devin Williams. But Dansk has worked hard in practice to regain the form that made him one of the league’s top goaltenders in the regular season. He also has returned to the old pads he used in the regular season.
“I just have to learn how to handle this kind of situation myself,” he said. “A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to get my feel back, getting back in the groove. I’ve felt really good in practice.”
Posted: April 11th, 2014
Mercyhurst senior forward Daniel O’Donoghue signed a contract with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes today. (Contributed/Mercyhurst University)

Mercyhurst’s Daniel O’Donoghue turned the best season of his college hockey career into a NHL contract Friday.

The senior forward signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, and will join the club’s AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates in Portland, Maine, as early as this weekend. The Pirates play in Manchester, N.H., against the Monarchs tonight before returning home to face the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday.

“It’s a great feeling, and I’m very excited,” O’Donoghue said in a statement. “I have a lot of emotions running through me right now – anxious, excited, nervous. … It’s been a long time coming, and I’m excited just to get my foot in the door.”

He set career highs with 15 goals, 28 assists and 43 points in 38 games. He finished his four-year career with 119 points (45 goals, 74 assists). He’s one of 16 players in the school’s NCAA Division I history to reach the 100-point mark, and of five to sign professional contracts. The others are Jody Robinson (New York Islanders), T.J. Kemp (Edmonton Oilers), Jamie Hunt (Washington Capitals) and Cullen Eddy (Philadelphia Flyers). Hunt is the lone player to play in a NHL regular-season game (2006-07).

“Our season ended almost a month ago, and I thought it would go a little quicker than this,” O’Donoghue said. “But it all worked out in the end.”

Posted: April 11th, 2014

McDavid.ConnorThe Erie Otters’ No. 1 line of Connor Brown, Dane Fox and Connor McDavid moved another step closer to each winning an OHL regular-season award.

McDavid joined Fox – the league’s overager of the year – as an award winner Friday, as the second-year center captured the William Hanley Trophy as the most sportsmanlike player after ranking among the league leaders with 71 assists, 99 points and a plus-47 rating. He had only 20 penalty minutes, which was the lowest among the top 12 scorers overall.

McDavid is the second player in franchise history (Brad Boyes, 2001 and 2002) and third 17-year-old in league history (Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, 1978 with Sault Ste. Marie and Kirk Muller, 1983 with Guelph Platers) to earn the honor. McDavid had 71 voting points to lead a list that included Oshawa left wing Michael Dal Colle (50 points) and London center Chris Tierney (35 points) after finishing second in voting to Belleville center Tyler Graovac as a 16-year-old rookie a season ago. McDavid will receive the trophy at the OHL Awards Ceremony on June 3 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Brown could McDavid and Fox at the annual event, since the veteran winger and captain is a finalist for the Red Tilson Trophy as the league’s most outstanding player. McDavid also will be the league’s nominee for CHL’s Sportsman of the Year, which will be announced at the CHL Awards event May 24 in London, Ontario, as part of the Memorial Cup tournament.

“It’s a tremendous honor to win this award,” McDavid said in a statement. “It’s really important to me to be respectful on the ice, and there’s a reward for that.”

William Hanley Trophy voting

(voting points in parenthese)

C Connor McDavid, Erie (71) – 28 goals, 71 assists, 99 points, +47 rating, 20 PIM (56 games)

LW Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa (50) – 39 goals, 56 assists, 95 points, 34 PIM (67 games)

C Chris Tierney, London (35) – 40 goals, 49 assists, 89 points, +44, 12 PIM (67 games)



Posted: April 11th, 2014

Minnesota Wild winger and former Erie Otter Michael Rupp has been suspended four games without pay for a hit to the head of St. Louis Blues winger T.J. Oshie on Thursday night, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced Friday.

Rupp was given a match penalty for intent to injure. Rupp, who has one point and 23 penalty minutes in 13 games of an injury-plagued season, begins serving his suspension in Sunday’s regular-season finale against Nashville, and continues with the Wild’s first three Stanley Cup playoff games. Rupp also will forfeit $7,692.31 from his salary, which will be added to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund, according to the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Check out video of the hit, more about this story and the league’s explanation for the ruling here

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