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
Posts tagged ‘belleville bulls’
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: March 2nd, 2014

The Erie Otters received help from Peterborough today, as the Pete’s won 3-1 in London to keep the Otters (95 points) one point ahead of the Knights (93) in the chase for third place in the OHL’s Western Conference.
However, front-running Guelph rallied to beat runner-up Sault Ste. Marie 4-3 in a shootout and open a five-point lead over the Otters. All three teams have six regular-season games left.
Meanwhile, Plymouth could earn the conference’s final playoff spot Wednesday against the Otters at Erie Insurance Arena. The Whalers (57 points) are 10 points ahead of Kitchener with six regular-season games left. The Rangers host Guelph on Tuesday. The battle for the last two spots in the Eastern Conference is much tighter, as Mississauga (50 points), Niagara (50), Ottawa (49) and Belleville (44 points) are separated by six points.

Posted: February 21st, 2014

The Erie Otters’ game in Sudbury against the Wolves tonight has been postponed due to unsafe ice conditions because an arena worker struck a pipe – and subsequently caused the ice to flood – while drilling holes into the ice for the goal posts before the game.
The game has been moved to Monday at 7 p.m. Now the Otters head to Sault Ste. Marie to face the Greyhounds Saturday night at 7:07 p.m.
The Otters have endured two postponed games in less than a month, as their Jan. 25 game in Belleville was pushed back two days because of inclement weather and poor travel conditions.

Posted: February 6th, 2014
Posted: January 29th, 2014

Connor Brown

Erie Otters RW Connor Brown nearly left Belleville on Monday night without the puck from his milestone 100th point.
Brown scored into an empty net with 53 seconds left to cap a 4-1 win and become the first Otter to reach the century mark in franchise history. Apparently, a Bulls player shot the puck away, presumably in frustration. The puck ended up in a penalty box, where an off-ice official handed the puck to a young fan in the crowd. But officials from both teams were able to find the fan to make a trade for another puck. Brown said he figured teammate and former Bulls player Brendan Gaunce played a role in retrieving the puck.
As of Tuesday, Brown said, equipment manager Kevin Putzig had the puck. “I think he’s going to tape it up for me and give it to me the next time I’m at the rink,” Brown said Tuesday.

- Victor Fernandes

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

Posted: January 25th, 2014

The Erie Otters’ game in Belleville tonight has been postponed until Monday at 7:05 p.m. at Yardmen Arena because inclement weather that also claimed two other games – Guelph at Owen Sound (moved to Wednesday at 7 p.m.) and North Bay at Barrie (moved to Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m.). I’m being told that’s the Otters’ first postponement since a game against Owen Sound roughly 2 seasons ago.

Posted: January 24th, 2014

Brendan Gaunce

Erie Otters (35-9-2-0) at Belleville Bulls (13-28-2-2)
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 Oshawa (Sunday, 6:05 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters begin a five-game road trip, tied for longest this season, after dropping their last two home games – including a disappointing 4-3 loss to Niagara on Friday night. … RW Andre Burakovsky (head) had two goals and an assist against the IceDogs in his first game since being injured Jan. 12 against Windsor. … C Dylan Strome (head) also rejoined the lineup Friday. … C Connor McDavid (lower body) was a late scratch Friday missing most or all of practice the past three days. His status for tonight’s will be determined before the game. … 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 and one point in his past three 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 (31-61-92) tied Zack Torquato‘s

Stephen Harper

franchise record, set in 2009-10, with his 62nd assist of the season Friday. needs two assists to break the franchise mark of 62 held by Zack Torquato since the 2009-10 season. … Brown has 94 season, which stands five shy of equaling Pecker’s single-season record of 99 points in 2001-02. … The Bulls are last in the Eastern Conference, but only 10 points out of the final playoff spot. … They have lost two straight and six of their last 10 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, a plus-1 rating and 14 penalty minutes in 19 games with the Bulls. … Gaunce (11-12-23 in 21 games with the Otters, faces his former team for the first time. … LW Remi Elie (18-25-43) leads the team, 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-5 rating in 44 games.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: January 24th, 2014

The Erie Otters have five hours and 300-plus miles on a bus to Belleville, Ontario, to think about tonight’s 4-3 loss to Niagara at Erie Insurance Arena. But where do they begin? They simply weren’t good enough in all facets of the game.
They had 40 shots on goal, including 16 in the third period, but few truly challenged rookie G Jon D’Ilario in his OHL debut. They were sloppy and passive on defense, as the IceDogs consistently gained the Otters’ zone without much resistance. The league’s No. 1 power play failed on 5-of-6 chances, while the No. 1 penalty kill allowed three goals on four opportunities.
Worst of all, the effort – at least for the opening 40 minutes of the night – was unbecoming of a team that’s considered a league title contender. And suddenly, the aura invincibility at EIA that grew during a franchise-record, 19-0-0-0 start to the home schedule, has taken a hit in a 3-2-1 stretch in the past six games.
Now the Otters begin a five-game road trip Saturday night against the Bulls, who are the last-place team in the Eastern Conference. But as we learned tonight, any team can beat the Otters when they are lifeless for 40 minutes like they were against the IceDogs.

Watch post-game interviews with head coach Kris Knoblauch and RW Andre Burakovsky

Also, check out the aftermath of a multi-player scuffle at the end of the game…

Posted: November 21st, 2013

The speculation surrounding a Stephen Harper-for-Brendan Gaunce trade between the Erie Otters and Belleville Bulls began to build on Wednesday. On Thursday, it was time to speak to the men who make deals for those teams – Otters GM Sherry Bassin and Bulls GM George Burnett.
“It’s absolutely untrue,” Bassin said, a statement that Burnett corroborated. “There’s no truth to any of it,” said Burnett, who added that he hasn’t had any discussions with Bassin about Gaunce. “We’re not actively trying to move him.”
Bassin said he has spoken in general terms with Burnett, as he has with every other team in the OHL. “I’ve talked to at least eight teams seriously,” said Bassin, who figured talks among GMs would occur Thursday night at General Motors Centre in Oshawa, Ontario, during the OHL’s first of two games against the Russian junior national team in the Subway Super Series.
“There’s been talks involving all kinds of good players in this league,” Bassin said. When asked how close he has come to making a trade, Bassin said, “There’s no such thing (as being close). You either make one or you don’t. You never know how close you are until you make it.”
Burnett is focused on turning around a team that has a league-worst 5-14-2-2 record. With nine first-year players on the roster, Burnett said he needs veterans like Gaunce, the team’s captain, to provide “big minutes and big work from … on and off the ice to get these kids comfortable and make the next 23 games more successful than the past 23.”
Burnett hasn’t made a decision on Gaunce’s future in Belleville. “At this particular time, our focus is clearly trying to stabilize ourselves presently. Brendan is and can be a huge part of that. He is our captain. Has there been interest shown in our captain throughout the league – absolutely. We’ve made no decisions at this particular time to make a move.”
Meanwhile, Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch doesn’t want his players focused on trade speculation.
“It’s unfortunate the player (Harper) has to think about that,” Knoblauch said. “For the players, it’s a little distracting. Certainly, it’s nothing they can worry about.” According to Aaron Cooney, Otters director of broadcasting and media relations, Harper chose not to speak to the media Thursday.

Now here’s my take…
Tthe Otters would be the clear-cut league championship favorite with an offensive threat like Gaunce, who has averaged a point per game the past two-plus seasons – 10 goals and 23 points in 20 games this season after totaling 61 goals and 128 points in 128 games the past two years. Imagine Gaunce, a Vancouver Canucks prospect, centering the No. 2 line between fellow first-round pick Andre Burakovsky and former Bulls teammate Michael Curtis.
Knoblauch would have two No. 1 lines at his disposal. Not to say that a line of Burakovsky, Curtis and Harper couldn’t be consistently potent. But Harper has struggled this season, with only four goals and 12 points in 20 games. He hasn’t been the same player that burst onto the OHL scene as a rookie two seasons ago, when he had 24 goals and 35 points in 63 games. He has 22 goals and 50 points in 87 games since then. A season ago, his inconsistent play wasn’t surprising, since he was making the transition to being a power forward. His offensive game struggled at times as he focused on playing a more physical style.
But Harper hasn’t found his game yet this season, so other players have been used as the left wing on the second line, most recently rookie Dylan Strome. Perhaps Harper would benefit from a fresh start on a new team.
He hasn’t played as much in all situations this season, mainly because of his struggles and the team’s skilled depth up front. On a young team like Belleville, he would be a frontline forward playing a ton of minutes in all situations. That could be what he needs to take his game to the next level.
Meanwhile, a young team like Belleville could use an experienced power forward who could still reach his potential. Even with his struggles, a player with Harper’s natural ability would be highly coveted on the trade market.

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