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
Posts tagged ‘alexander khokhlachev’
Posted: February 20th, 2013

Erie Otters (17-33-3-5) at Windsor Spitfires (22-28-1-6)
When: Thursday, 7:05 p.m.
Where: WFCU Centre – Windsor, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Upcoming schedule: Friday at Sarnia, 7:05 p.m., Sunday vs. Kingston, 2 p.m.
What to expect: The Otters would be eliminated from OHL playoff contention for the second straight season and sixth time since the 2001-02 league championship season with a loss in regulation, overtime or shootout tonight. … The Otters are on pace to earn the No. 2 pick in the OHL Priority Selection. They have the second-worst record in the league, behind only Ottawa, which entered Wednesday night’s game at Belleville with a 15-38-0-4 mark. Peterborough stands third worst at 20-30-3-4. … The Otters are expected to play without captain Connor Brown because of a head injury suffered in Monday’s loss at London. The second-year winger, who leads the team with 26 goals, 40 assists and 66 points, has played in every game – 126 in all – since joining the club a season ago. … League officials will announce today if D Adam Pelech will be suspended for a five-minute, cross-checking penalty and game misconduct against the Knights. League vice president Ted Baker didn’t rule out suspending Pelech indefinitely if more time is needed for the review. Pelech was suspended indefinitely before being issued a four-game ban less than a month ago for a five-minute kneeing penalty and game misconduct Jan. 23 against Saginaw. … C Connor McDavid (24-31-55) holds a three-point lead over Sarnia RW Nikolay Goldobin (24-28-52) in the league’s rookie scoring race. Brampton LW Blake Clarke (18-27-45) trails McDavid by 10 points. … J.P. Labardo (20-34-54) has scored 20 goals in a season for the first time in his five-year OHL career. … The Otters lost the first two meetings with the Spitfires by a goal – 2-1 in Windsor Oct. 18 and 3-2 two nights later at Erie Insurance Arena. They meet for the final time March 2 in Erie. … Windsor has lost five straight games and eight of its last 10 to fall 11 points behind Saginaw in the race for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. Any combination of Windsor losses, as well as Spirit wins in regulation, overtime and shootouts, totaling 12 points would eliminate the Spitfires from contention. … The Spitfires rank near the bottom of the league with 169 goals scored and 221 goals against. … RW Kerby Rychel, son of Spitfires vice president and general manager Warren Rychel, ranks among the league leaders with 33 goals and 69 points. … C Alexander Khokhlachev has 13 goals and 28 points in 18 games since leaving the Kontinental Hockey League in his native Russia to rejoin the Spitfires. … RW Josh Ho-Sang, McDavid’s former teammate with the Toronto Marlboros and the fifth pick in the 2012 OHL draft, has 11 goals and 37 points in 52 games.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 19th, 2012

This week, I’ll break down all 20 OHL clubs division by division and unveil my predictions for the 2012-13 season. Today, let’s look at the Western Conference’s West Division (listed in alphabetical order):

Plymouth Whalers
Coach/GM: Michael Vellucci
2011-12 finish: 47-18-2-1, 1st division, 2nd conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Kitchener 4-3 in conference semifinals
Key players: LW Stefan Noesen (38 goals, 44 assists, 82 points; signed with Ottawa), C Mitchell Heard (29-28-57; signed with Colorado), RW Alex Aleardi (36-29-65), LW J.T. Miller (25-37-62; signed with N.Y. Rangers; G Matt Mahalak (19-8-0-0 record, 2.66 goals-against average, .923 save percentage, 3 shutouts; Carolina prospect)
Key losses: G Scott Wedgewood (28-10-2-1, 3.02, .911, 3 SO; signed with New Jersey), D Beau Schmitz (14-40-54, +37; signed with Carolina), C Andy Bathgate (19-44-63)
Outlook: The Whalers had a chance to reach the Western finals last season, but they lost Game 7 at home to Kitchener. They lost some key players off that team, but the Whalers still have are strong enough to make a deeper run this season.

Saginaw Spirit
Coach/GM: Greg Gilbert/Jim Paliafito
2011-12 finish: 40-22-4-2, 3rd division, 5th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-2 in conference semifinals
Key players: C Vincent Trocheck (29-56-85; signed with Florida), LW Brandon Saad (34-42-76; signed with Chicago), LW Garret Ross (25-29-54), C Eric Locke (20-20-40), D Dalton Young (5-15-20)
Key losses: LW Josh Shalla (40-36-76; signed with Nashville), RW Michael Fine (22-45-67), C John McFarland (20-21-41; signed with Florida), D Brad Walch (5-18-23, +21)
Outlook: Trocheck and Saad headline an offense that ranked fifth in the league a season ago with 259 goals. Now they have to solidify a defense that allowed 259 goals, the fourth most in the league. Clint Windsor and Jake Paterson are the keys in net.

Sarnia Sting
Coach/GM: Jacques Beaulieu
2011-12 finish: 34-27-2-5, 2nd division, 4th conference
Playoff finish: Lost 4-2 to Saginaw in conference quarterfinals
Key players: C Alex Galchenyuk (0-0-0 in 2 games; signed with Montreal), G J.P. Anderson (27-23-2-4, 3.03, .908, 3 SO), LW Reid Boucher (28-22-50), D Connor Murphy (8-18-26; signed with Phoenix), D Alex Basso (9-27-36, +5)
Key losses: RW Nail Yakupov (31-38-69 in 42 games; signed with Edmonton), C Brett Thompson (32-38-70; former Otter), C Ryan Spooner (29-37-66; signed with Boston), LW Tyler J. Brown (21-27-48), D Adrian Robertson (10-28-38, +13)
Outlook: Yakupov, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, isn’t expected to rejoin the Sting. But Galchenyuk, the No. 3 pick in the draft, returns after missing nearly all of last season with a knee injury. But can the Sting overcome other key losses?

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Coach/GM: Mike Stapleton/Kyle Dubas
2011-12 finish: 29-33-2-4, 5th division, 9th conference
Playoff finish: Did not qualify
Key players: C Nick Cousins (35-53-88; signed with Philadelphia), G Matt Murray (13-19-0-1, 4.08, .876; Pittsburgh prospect), D Ryan Sproul (23-31-54, +16), RW Andrew Fritsch (13-19-32 in 35 games; Phoenix prospect), LW Michael Schumacher (26-24-50)
Key losses: C Brett Findlay (20-36-56; traded to Peterborough), C Carson Dubchak (16-16-32)
Outlook: The Greyhounds are trying to avoid a third straight season out of the playoff picture. But does Stapleton, the Otters’ former associate and assistant coach, have enough talented depth to make that happen in a challenging conference?

Windsor Spitfires
Coach/GM: Bob Boughner/Warren Rychel
2011-12 finish: 29-32-5-2, 4th division, 8th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-0 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: LW Kerby Rychel (41-33-74); C Brady Vail (22-30-52), LW Chris Marchese (18-25-43; former Otter), D Nick Ebert (6-33-39), RW Joshua Ho-Sang (No. 5 pick in OHL Priority Selection), LW Ben Johnson (18-20-38)
Key losses: C Alexander Khokhlachev (25-44-69; playing in Russia), C Zack MacQueen (18-20-38; son of former Otters coach Dave MacQueen)
Outlook: The unexpected departure of Khokhlachev will hurt thre Spitfires, unless forwards like Rychel, Vail, former Otter Marchese and first-round pick Ho-Sang pick up the slack. But will they have enough on defense and in net to win consistently?

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: April 1st, 2011

WINDSOR, Ontario – The Erie Otters are still alive. They can credit Anthony Luciani for that.

Luciani scored his fourth goal of the game 4 minutes, 3 seconds into the overtime in Game 5 to seal the Otters 6-5 win against Windsor in front of 5,945 at WFCU Centre on Friday night.

Luciani stole the puck from Spitfires all-star defenseman Ryan Ellis at the side of the net and slipped a shot through goaltender Jack Campbell’s pads to force Game 6 on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at Tullio Arena.

Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov (career-high 50 saves) began the game with 10 goals against on his last 70 shots in the past two games. But he was strong through an 18-shot barrage from the Spitfires in the opening period.

Meanwhile, the Otters scored the only goal of the period, as Luciani redirected Phil Varone’s cross-crease pass past Campbell at the 7:11 mark. The Otters had 12 shots in the period.

Sadikov also strong stood through the Spitfires’ 5-on-3 power play early in the second. Yet as the second penalty expired, Spitfires defenseman Adrian Robertson fired a shot from the right side that squeezed through Sadikov’s pads to tie the score at 1 just 3:34 into the period.

But the Otters’ power play awakened in the period. The Otters entered the game having failed on 24 of their first 27 chances. But they scored on three straight chances in a seven-minute span to take a 4-1 lead.

Varone split two defenders at the Spitfires’ blue line and fired a wrist shot past Campbell to break the 1-1 tie at the 8:55 mark. Less than three minutes later, Varone assisted on defenseman Derek Holden’s goal.

Holden fired a wrist shot through a screen to extend Erie’s lead to 3-1. Then Luciani deflected Holden’s shot from the point past Campbell for a 4-1 Otters’ lead with four minutes left in the period.

Varone set up the goal by diving to keep the puck in the zone on a clearing attempt and then making a cross-ice pass to Holden for his third assist and fourth point of the game.

The Otters led 4-1 after two periods despite being outshot 14-9 in the second and 32-20 in the game.

The Spitfires gained some momentum on Alexander Khokhlachev’s power-play goal 4:41 into the third period. But Luciani completed his hat trick – the eighth three-goal game in the franchise’s playoff history – by firing a rebound into an open net 1:10 later. Varone assisted on the goal to tie the Otters’ single-game playoff record with five points set by Brad Boyes (twice) in 2002.

Windsor moved within 5-3 on Kerby Rychel’s goal in front with 10:57 left. Then the Spitfires completed their dramatic comeback with two goals in 41 seconds. Jake Carrick slid a shot past Sadikov to slice the deficit to 5-4 with 3:50 left. Then during a wild scramble in front of the net, Ellis fired a slap shot through the crowd to tie the score at 5 with 3:09 left.

Windsor outshot the Otters 22-7 in the period to extend their advantage to 54-27 heading into overtime.

But Luciani scored on the game’s final shot to seal the Otters’ dramatic win.

* News and notes: The 55 shots against were four shy of the Otters’ postseason record (59 vs. Sarnia on March 26, 2002). … Varone also tied the Otters’ mark of four assists in a playoff game set by Boyes against Sarnia on March 23, 2002, and tied by Chris Campoli against the Sting two years later. … Holden had a goal and two assists. … Coach Robbie Ftorek said Andrew Yogan didn’t travel with the team to Windsor because he was sick. … Campbell allowed six goals on 31 shots in the loss. He has allowed 10 goals on his last 57 shots after stopping 105-of-112 shots in the first three games.

Series schedule

No. 4 Windsor vs. No. 5 Erie

Game 1 – Erie 2, Windsor 1

Game 2 – Windsor 4, Erie 3 (2OT)

Game 3 – Windsor 6, Erie 2

Game 4 – Windsor 7, Erie 4

Game 5 – Erie 6, Windsor 5 (OT)

Game 6 – Sunday at Erie, 4:30 p.m.

Game 7 – Tuesday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*

Windsor leads series 3-2

* If necessary


Otters 6, Spitfires 5 (OT)

Erie  1  3  1  0  —  5

Windsor  0  1  4  0  —  5

1st Period — 1. Erie, Anthony Luciani 2 (Varone, Shields), 7:11. Penalties — Khokhlachev (W) tripping, :44; Szydlowski (E) hooking, 2:55.

2nd Period — 2. Windsor, Adrian Robertson 1 (Carnevale, Johnston), 3:34. 3. Erie, Phil Varone 2 (Holden, Sadikov), 8:55 (pp). 4. Erie, Derek Holden 1 (Varone, Cairns), 11:15 (pp). 5. Erie, Luciani 3 (Holden, Varone), 16:00 (pp). Penalties — Szydlowski (E) elbowing, :46; Shields (E) delay of game, 1:34; Kuhnhackl (W) roughing, 7:13; Johnston (W) checking to the head, 10:45; Kassian (E) slashing, 14:58.

3rd Period — 6. Windsor, Alexander Khokhlachev 3 (Robertson, Kuhnhackl), 4:41 (pp). 7. Erie, Luciani 4 (Varone), 5:51. 8. Windsor, Kerby Rychel 1 (Carnevale, Ellis), 9:03. 9. Windsor, Jake Carrick 4 (Kuhnhackl, Khokhlachev), 16:10. 10. Windsor, Ryan Ellis 3 (Kassian, Brown), 16:51. Penalties — Cook (E) holding, 3:52; Erie, too many men (served by Luciani), 11:59.

Overtime — 11. Erie, Luciani 5 (unassisted), 4:03. Penalties — None.

Shots on goal — Erie, 11-9-7-4—31; Windsor, 18-14-22-1—55.

Goaltenders — Erie, Ramis Sadikov 2-2-1 (55 shots, 50 saves); Windsor, Jack Campbell 3-1-1 (31 shots, 25 saves).

Power plays — Erie (3-4), Windsor (1-5).

Referees — Darcy Burchell, Scott Oakman. Linesmen — Darryl Wolfe, Geoff Rutherford.

Attendance — 5,945.

Three stars

* Anthony Luciani, Otters (4 goals) ** Phil Varone, Otters (goal, 4 assists) *** Adrian Robertson, Spitfires (goal, assist)

Posted: March 30th, 2011

The Windsor Spitfires have taken command of their series with the Erie Otters.

The Spitfires exploded for seven goals on 42 shots in a 7-4 win against the Otters in Game 4 of their best-of-seven quarterfinal series, played in front of 3,316 at Tullio Arena on Wednesday night.

The Spitfires, which lead 3-1 in the series, can eliminate the Otters with a win in Game 5 on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Seven Spitfires contributed multiple points in the win.

Tom Kuhnhackl led the way with two goals and two assists. Alexander Khokhlachev (two goals, assist) and Jake Carrick (goal, two assists) had three points apiece. David Shields had two points for the Otters.

The shootout many expected from two of the OHL’s top offenses finally erupted in the first period.

The teams scored five goals on 15 shots, with the Spitfires building a 3-2 lead. Windsor scored on their first two shots to chase Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov from the game for the second straight outing.

Kuhnhackl, who left Game 3 early on Monday with an apparent leg injury, beat Sadikov for a 1-0 lead 1:27 into the opening period. Khokhlachev scored from in front at the 3:52 mark.

Tyler Hostetter scored less than five minutes later to slice the Otters’ deficit to 2-1, only to have Stephen Johnston score on the power play against rookie backup Chris Festarini with 7:06 left in the period to regain the Spitfires’ two-goal lead. Windsor scored its first three goals on four shots.

Then with 4:15 left in the period, Shields slipped a shot past Spitfires goaltender Jack Campbell to send the Otters into the first intermission trailing 3-2. The Otters scored twice on nine shots.

But Zack Kassian’s first goal of the series 47 seconds into the second period, which handed the Spitfires a 4-2 lead, forced Otters coach Robbie Ftorek to send Sadikov back into the game.

Greg McKegg pulled the Otters within a goal again at 4-3, as he fired a rebound of Shawn Szydlowski’s shot off the post past Campbell 4:56 into the period. But McKegg’s goaltender interference penalty led to Kuhnhackl’s power-play score – his second goal of the game and series – that extended the Spitfires’ lead to 5-3 with 11:27 left in the period. Carrick scored five minutes later for a 6-3 lead.

The Spitfires scored those six goals on 18 shots. The Otters moved within 6-4 at the 5:01 mark of the third period, as Mike Cazzola poked in a rebound late in a 5-on-3 opportunity. But Khokhlachev scored his second goal of the night less than 2 minutes later to extend Windsor’s lead to 7-4. Windsor outshot the Otters 22-7 in the third to finish with a 48-26 advantage.

- Victor Fernandes

Series schedule

No. 4 Windsor vs. No. 5 Erie

Game 1 – Erie 2, Windsor 1

Game 2 – Windsor 4, Erie 3 (2OT)

Game 3 – Windsor 6, Erie 2

Game 4 – Windsor 7, Erie 4

Game 5 – Friday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.

Game 6 – Sunday at Erie, 4:30 p.m.*

Game 7 – Tuesday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*

Windsor leads series 3-1

* If necessary


Spitfires 7, Otters 4

Windsor  3  3  1  —  7

Erie  2  1  1  —  4

1st Period — 1. Windsor, Tom Kuhnhackl 1 (Duininck), 1:27. 2. Windsor, Alexander Khokhlachev 1 (Robertson, Kuhnhackl), 3:52. 3. Erie, Tyler Hostetter 1 (Festarini), 8:27. 4. Windsor, Stephen Johnston 3 (Kassian, Duininck), 12:54 (pp). 5. Erie, David Shields 1 (Luciani, Holden), 15:45. Penalties — Rychel (W) tripping, 4:11; Cook (E) checking from behind, 12:16; Carrick (W) hooking, 14:08; Thompson (E) tripping, 15:31.

2nd Period — 6. Windsor, Zack Kassian 1 (Ryan, Johnston), :47. 7. Erie, Greg McKegg 2 (Szydlowski, Shields), 4:56. 8. Windsor, Kuhnhackl 2 (Carrick, Khokhlachev), 8:33 (pp). 9. Windsor, Jake Carrick 3 (Kuhnhackl), 13:34. Penalties — McKegg (E) goaltender interference, 8:24; Kassian (W) roughing, 15:51.

3rd Period — 10. Erie, Mike Cazzola 3 (Szydlowski, Varone), 5:01 (pp). 11. Windsor, Khokhlachev 2 (Carrick, Robertson), 6:50. Penalties — Luciani (E) 4-min. roughing, 2:04; Khokhlachev (W) roughing, 2:04; Robertson (W) roughing, 2:04; Varone (E) slashing, 2:04; Ellis (E) slashing, 3:04; Johnston (W) tripping, 4:21; Carnevale (W) holding, 9:37; Luciani (E) roughing, 13:09; Szydlowski (E) slashing, 14:44; Kassian (W) roughing, 14:44; Crisp (E) slashing, 17:00.

Shots on goal — Windsor, 9-17-22—42; Erie, 6-13-7—26.

Goaltenders — Windsor, Jack Campbell 3-1-0 (26 shots, 22 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 1-2-1 (37shots, 32 saves), Chris Festarini (11 shots, 9 saves).

Power plays — Windsor (2-6), Erie (1-6).

Referees — Craig Spada, Mike Cairns. Linesmen — Darryl Wolfe, Matthew Traub.

Attendance — 3,316.

Three stars

* Tom Kuhnhackl, Spitfires (2 goals, 2 assists) ** Alexander Khokhlachev, Spitfires (2 goals, assist) *** Mike Cazzola, Otters (goal)

Posted: March 26th, 2011

The longest game in Erie Otters’ history also was the most frustrating.

Windsor’s Jeff Brown scored 11 minutes, 9 seconds into the second overtime to seal the Spitfires 4-3 win against the Otters in front of 4,818 at Tullio Arena on Saturday night.

The Spitfires evened the series at a game apiece heading back to WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, on Monday at 7:05 p.m.

After combining for three goals in the Otters’ 2-1 win in Game 1 on Thursday, two of the league’s top three offenses in the regular season found their rhythm in the first period on Saturday.

The Otters opened the scoring by capitalizing on a 5-on-3 opportunity, as Mike Cazzola scored in front on assists from Shawn Szydlowski and Phil Varone with 9:31 left in the period. The Otters nearly scored again moments later, but Andrew Yogan’s shot glanced off the crossbar.

The teams then finished the period with three goals in the final four minutes. Jake Carrick tied score at 1 with 3:43 left on an assist from Alexander Khokhlachev. Otters captain Greg McKegg snapped the tie by turning Cazzola’s pass into his first goal of the playoffs 1:19 later.

But Ryan Ellis’ shot from the point slipped past Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov with 1:08 left in the period to send the teams into the second period tied at 2. Then the Spitfires took a 3-2 lead – their first lead of the series – on Brown’s goal 4:47 into the second period.

Meanwhile, the Otters had a penalty-shot opportunity overturned midway through the period. A referee pointed to center ice after apparently calling Spitfires defenseman Ryan Ellis for covering the puck in the crease. But after a lengthy discussion, Ellis received a two-minute minor for delay of the game.

The Otters earned a brief 5-on-3. Yet they failed to score. They also squandered several other scoring chances despite finishing the period with only six shots on goal.

But 6:23 into the third, the Otters tied the score at 3, as Cazzola’s second assist and third point of the game led to Szydlowski’s first goal of the playoffs. Then it was on to an entertaining first overtime that featured a combined 25 shots on goal and two power plays apiece.

Brown finally ended it with a rebound from the left wing.

- Victor Fernandes

Series schedule

No. 4 Windsor vs. No. 5 Erie

Game 1 – Erie 2, Windsor 1

Game 2 – Windsor 4, Erie 3 (2OT)

Game 3 – Monday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.

Game 4 – Wednesday at Erie, 7 p.m.

Game 5 – Friday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*

Game 6 – April 3 at Erie, 4:30 p.m.*

Game 7 – April 5 at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*

Series tied 1-1

* If necessary


Spitfires 4, Otters 3 (2OT)

Windsor  2  1  0  0  1  —  4

Erie  2  0  1  0  0  —  3

1st Period — 1. Erie, Mike Cazzola 1 (Szydlowski, Varone), 10:29 (pp). 2. Windsor, Jake Carrick 1 (Khokhlachev), 16:17. 3. Erie, Greg McKegg 1 (Cazzola, Yogan), 17:36. 4. Windsor, Ryan Ellis 1 (Johnston), 18:52. Penalties — McKegg (E) high sticking, 3:20; Vail (W) goaltender interference, 6:03; Hostetter (E) roughing, 6:03; Brown (W) roughing, 6:03; Kuhnhackl (W) hooking, 8:47; Ellis (W) hooking, 9:52; Paton (E) interference, 12:04; Ryan (W) goaltender interference, 12:30.

2nd Period — 5. Windsor, Jeff Brown 1 (Ellis, Campbell), 4:47. Penalties — Posa (W) interference, :14; Szydlowski (W) checking from behind, 3:54; Carrick (W) boarding, 4:03; Cook (E) instigator, 4:03; Cook (E) 5-min. fighting, 4:03, 4:03; Carrick (W) 5-min. fighting, 4:03; Cook (E) 10-min. fighting, 4:03; Rychel (W) hooking, 7:16; Ellis (W) delay of game, 8:55; Cazzola (E) roughing, 8:55; Robertson (W) roughing, 8:55; Robertson (W) tripping, 19:51.

3rd Period — 6. Erie, Shawn Szydlowski 1 (Cazzola), 6:23. Penalties — Luciani (E) roughing, 9:35.

Overtime — None. Penalties — Szydlowski (E) tripping, 2:30; Varone (E) tripping, 4:13; Kuhnhackl (W) goaltender interference, 8:39; Campbell (W) delay of game (served by Carrick), 11:46.

Second Overtime — 7. Windsor, Brown 2 (Carnevale, Rychel), 11:09. Penalties — None.

Shots on goal — Windsor, 9-11-10-11-8—49; Erie, 10-6-9-14-4—43.

Goaltenders — Windsor, Jack Campbell 1-1-0 (43 shots, 40 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 1-1-0 (49 shots, 45 saves).

Power plays — Windsor (0-6), Erie (1-10).

Referees — Jason Goldenberg, Sean Reid. Linesmen — Jesse Wilmot, Mike Harrington.

Attendance — 4,818.

Three stars

* Mike Cazzola, Otters (goal, 2 assists) ** Jeff Brown, Spitfires (2 goals) *** Shawn Szydlowski, Otters (goal, assist)

Posted: December 31st, 2010

WINDSOR, Ontario – Mike Cazzola made a grand return to the Erie Otters’ lineup on Thursday.

Cazzola, who missed nearly two months with a broken wrist, scored a goal to help the Otters end 2010 on a high note – with a 5-3 win against Windsor in front of 6,558 at WFCU Centre.

Cazzola scored with 1 minute, 33 seconds left in the second period – his 10th goal of the season – to cap a stretch of three unanswered goals in nine minutes that turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead. Goals from Phil Varone and David Broll sparked the Otters’ decisive outburst.

Windsor (21-14-0-1) tied the score at 3-3 with 9:45 left in the third on Alexander Khokhlachev’s second goal of the game. But Otters defenseman Brett Cook fired a shot past goaltender Troy Passingham to snap the tie with 4:45 left. Shawn Szydlowski’s short-handed goal with 2:39 left to seal the win.

The Otters (18-18-1-1) salvaged a win on their three-game West Division trip. They have won only two of nine games against that division (2-6-0-1). Cook and Varone had a goal and assist apiece for the Otters, which outshot Windsor 51-31. Brady Austin added two assists.

Passingham made 46 saves for the Spitfires, which are playing without goaltender Jack Campbell, defenseman Ryan Ellis and forwards Zack Kassian and Tom Kuhnhackl. They’re playing in the IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo.

The Otters return to action Wednesday at Tullio Arena against Niagara.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: December 30th, 2010

What: Erie Otters (17-18-1-1) at Windsor Spitfires (21-13-0-1)

When: Thursday, 2:05 p.m.

Where: WFCU Centre – Windsor, Ontario

On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)

Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (25 goals, 28 assists, 53 points), RW Shawn Szydlowski (17-15-32), RW Anthony Luciani (13-18-31), G Ramis Sadikov (17-14-1-1 record, 2.95 goals-against average, .911 save percentage, 2 shutouts), C Phil Varone (13-14-27)

Windsor – C Alexander Khokhlachev (16-28-44), G Troy Passingham (9-4-0-1, 3.00, .902), C Eric Locke (19-13-32), C Stephen Johnston (8-22-30), RW Kenny Ryan (10-17-27)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters complete a three-game West Division road trip against the Spitfires, who won the first two meetings in the four-game season series (5-3 in Windsor Oct. 14 and 3-2 in Erie Oct. 29). … The Otters are 1-6-0-1 against West Division teams. … Rookie LW Chris Marchese (3-7-10), rookie D Adam Pelech (1-5-6, plus-1) and Team Ontario topped Czech Republic 7-1 Wednesday in their opener at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Marchese had a goal and assist for Ontario, which faced Slovakia late Thursday night in Winnipeg. … McKegg and Luciani have a combined three points in the team’s last four games. … Sadikov extended his franchise-record streak of consecutive starts to 27 games in Wednesday’s loss to Saginaw. … The Otters are 8-10-1-0 on the road.

Windsor – RW Zack Kassian (15-33-48) and D Ryan Ellis (12-28-40) are representing their native Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo. … G Jack Campbell (12-9-0-0, 3.68, .887) is playing for the United States. … C Tom Kuhnhackl (17-16-33) is playing for Germany. … The Spitfires, who are fourth in the Western Conference, have lost two straight after a stretch of seven wins in eight games. … They are among the top 10 on the power play (21.4 percent) and penalty kill (80.7).

Up next: vs. Niagara (Wednesday, 7 p.m.), at Kitchener (Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m.)

– Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 28th, 2010

What: Windsor Spitfires (7-6-0-1) at Erie Otters (4-9-1-0)

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Tullio Arena

On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)

Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (9 goals, 14 assists, 23 points), C Mike Cazzola (7-12-19), RW Shawn Szydlowski (6-7-13), LW David Broll (2-6-8), D Tyler Hostetter (3-7-10)

Windsor – RW Zack Kassian (6-12-18), D Ryan Ellis (3-8-11), C Alexander Khokhlachev (8-9-17), C Zack MacQueen (4-9-13), RW Kenny Ryan (4-6-10)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters snapped a seven-game losing streak, their longest losing skid since setting the franchise record of 16 consecutive defeats in the 2007-08 season, with a 4-1 win against Plymouth on Wednesday. … They are 2-3-0-0 at home. … Newly acquired C Phil Varone (1-2-3 in 5 games) had two assists in his Otters’ debut on Wednesday, his first game since Oct. 2. … RW Anthony Luciani, who has a cast on his injured wrist, hasn’t played since Oct. 2 against London. … Ds David Shields (back) and Mitch Gaulton (hand) and F Brett Appio (leg) and returned from the injured list on Wednesday. … Rookie F Connor Crisp (concussion) hasn’t played a game this season. … McKegg is tied for third in the OHL in points, tied for second in assists and among the top 10 in goals. He also leads with three short-handed goals. … Cazzola is ranked among the top 15 in scoring. … G Ramis Sadikov (4-6-1-0 record, 3.40 goals-against average, .901 save percentage) snapped a personal six-game winless streak by beating the Whalers.

Windsor – Kassian has averaged two points per game (18 points in 9 games) since being reassigned by the Buffalo Sabres. … Veteran G Troy Passingham (3-1-0-1, 2.87, .906) has produced a stronger start than highly touted rookie Jack Campbell (3-5-0-0, 4.13, .871), who led the United States to a gold medal in the IIHF World Junior Championship last winter. … Despite the departure of highly skilled players, such as LW Taylor Hall (NHL’s Edmonton Oilers) and D Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks), the Spitfires are a respectable eighth overall on the power play (21.1 percent). …

Up next: vs. Oshawa (Saturday, 7 p.m.), vs. Owen Sound (Nov. 5-6, 7 p.m.)

Posted: October 14th, 2010

What: Erie Otters (3-4-1-0) at Windsor Spitfires (4-4-0-1)

When: Thursday, 7:05 p.m.

Where: WFCU Centre – Windsor, Ontario

On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)

Greg McKegg (Contributed/Erie Otters)Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points), C Mike Cazzola (4-8-12), RW Shawn Szydlowski (3-6-9), LW David Broll (2-4-6), D Tyler Hostetter (2-4-6)

Windsor – D Ryan Ellis (3-3-6), RW Zack Kassian (3-8-11), C Alexander Khokhlachev (6-5-11), C Zack MacQueen (4-7-11), D Michael MacIntyre (4-4-8)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters play four of the next five games on the road. They are 2-3-0-0 away from Tullio Arena. … McKegg has points in seven straight games (seven goals, nine points). He is tied with Kitchener D Ryan Murphy for the OHL’s scoring lead. McKegg also is third in goals, tied for second in assists and leads with three short-handed goals. … Five of eight games have been decided by one goal (1-3-1-0). … RW Anthony Luciani (undisclosed injury) began skating with the team on Tuesday. He hopes to play this weekend. … D Brett Cook (undisclosed injury) and rookie C Connor Crisp (concussion) still haven’t returned to practice. … The Otters

Zack MacQueen (Contributed/Windsor Spitfires)

have allowed power-play goals in seven of eight games this season. … They rank in the league’s bottom five on the power play and penalty kill. … The Otters have lost eight straight trips to Windsor since a 3-2 shootout win on Feb. 1, 2007. That streak includes two defeats in an opening-round playoff sweep by the Spitfires last season.

Windsor – The Spitfires are rebuilding after losing several members of the two-time defending league and Memorial Cup champions to the pros, headlined by LW Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers), D Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks) and coach Bob Boughner (Columbus Blue Jackets assistant coach). … Ellis and Kassian, who recorded his 11 points in the past four games, anchor a young team. Both were recently assigned to the Spitfires by the Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators, respectively. … MacQueen, who was traded to the Spitfires by his father – former Otters coach and current Sarnia coach/general manager Dave MacQueen – is tied for the team lead in scoring. … G Jack Campbell, who led the United States to a gold medal in the IIHF World Junior Championship last winter, has struggled in his first OHL season (2-4-0-0, 4.99 goals-against average, .855 save percentage). … Khokhlachev, the 23rd pick in the 2010 CHL Import Draft, is tied for fourth in goals.

Up next: at London (Friday, 7:30 p.m.), vs. Ottawa (Saturday, 7 p.m.)

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