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 ‘ben thomson’
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: January 25th, 2013

KITCHENER, Ontario – The Erie Otters’ postseason hopes continued to slip away Friday night.
Kitchener’s three-goal second period sent the Otters to a 5-1 loss in front of 7,294 fans at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.
Meanwhile, Saginaw and Windsor won Friday, leaving the Otters 13 points behind the eighth-place Spirit and nine behind No. 9 Windsor in the race for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot heading into today’s 7 p.m. rematch with the Rangers at Erie Insurance Arena.
The Otters (15-25-3-5), which have 20 games left in the regular season, have lost three straight games and six of their last seven. In the latest defeat, the Otters played the Rangers (27-14-1-5) to a scoreless tie. But rookie Justin Bailey‘s goal 46 seconds into the second period, and Tobias Rieder‘s goal 1 minute, 5 seconds later, sparked Kitchener’s run to a 3-0 lead. Ryan Murphy also scored midway through the period.
The Otters hoped to mount a comeback following J.P. Labardo‘s 16th goal of the season 3:02 into the third period. But Matia Marcantuoni scored at the 7:05 mark to regain the Rangers’ three-goal lead. Derek Schoenmakers capped the scoring with 2:29 left.
Devin Williams stopped 41-of-46 shots in a losing effort for the Otters, while Joel Vienneau made 31 saves on 32 shots for the Rangers.
Luke Cairns had an assist for the Otters. Murphy led Kitchener with a goal and two assists, while Ben Thomson had two assists. Otters defenseman Adam Pelech was given an indefinite suspension for his knee-on-knee hit against Saginaw’s Zach Bratina Wednesday. The league hasn’t issued an official ruling.

Posted: March 10th, 2012

The Erie Otters had a new goaltender in for the second straight game.

Keinan Brown, on emergency loan from Peterborough, made 33 saves in his Otters’ debut Saturday night at Tullio Arena. But that wasn’t enough, as the Otters lost to Kitchener 6-4 in front of 3,245 fans.

The Otters (10-48-3-3) are assured of setting a new franchise record for fewest wins in a season. They trail the 2006-07 club (15 wins) by five wins with four games left in the season.

The Otters (10-48-3-3) actually built a 2-1 first-period lead on goals from goals from rookie Jake Evans and Mac McDonnell. Evans scored 1 minute, 3 seconds into the game on assists from Sondre Olden and Troy Donnay – 44 seconds after Radek Faksa, the Rangers’ high-scoring rookie, opened the scoring.

Then McDonnell snapped the 1-1 tie on McDonnell’s goal with 7:41 left in the period. Connor Crisp and Mitch Eisenberg assisted on the goal, with Crisp earning his first point of the season in his first game at forward. Crisp, who missed the first five months recovering from shoulder surgery, made his season debut last Sunday as an emergency goaltender in a 13-4 loss at Niagara.

But 1:02 later, Brent Pedersen’s goal tied the score at 2 and sparked the Rangers’ decisive four-goal outburst that built a 5-2 lead. Tobias Rieder scored 10 seconds into the second to give the Rangers (40-22-1-1) the lead for good at 3-2. He scored again, this time on the power play, at the 2:30 mark of the period.

Faksa capped the offensive surge followed with his second goal of the game 5:19 into the period.

Anthony Cortellessa scored twice, with 8:17 left in the second and again 7:37 into the third, to move the Otters within a goal 5-4. But goaltender John Gibson, who stopped Otters forward Luke Cairns on a penalty shot midway through the second, and the Rangers’ defense held off the Otters the rest of the way.

Then Andrew Crescenzi scored into an empty net, his 24th goal of the season, with 37 seconds to seal the Rangers’ victory. Rieder paced the Rangers with two goals and two assists. Ben Thomson had two assists while Gibson stopped 32-of-36 shots. Cortellessa (two goals), McDonnell (goal, assist) Donnay (two assists) and Eisenberg (two assists) led the Otters with two points apiece.


Posted: December 3rd, 2011

It’s one month and counting for the Erie Otters.

Their winless streak reached 13 straight games with a 3-1 loss to Kitchener in front of 2,947 at Tullio Arena on Saturday night. The Otters haven’t won since a 3-2 win in Guelph on Nov. 4.

The Otters, which have a CHL-worst 3-24-0-1 record, tied the 1996-97 club for the second-longest winless skid in franchise history. The 2007-08 team holds the record at 16 consecutive games.

The Otters also tied the franchise marks with seven-game home losing and winless streaks.

Nick Betz scored Erie’s lone goal. Brandon Francisco and Ryan Murphy had a goal and assist apiece and Ben Thomson had two assists for the Rangers (19-8-1-0), which avenged a 4-3 overtime loss in Erie on Oct. 9. That was the Otters’ last home win. Franky Palazzese, which lost that game last month, made 41 saves for the Rangers. Ramis Sadikov made 32 saves in a losing effort for the Otters.

The teams combined for 34 shots on goal in the first period, with the Otters netting 21 of them. But the Rangers victimized Erie’s OHL-worst defense for three goals and a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Michael Catenacci scored off an assist from Francisco 3:14 into the period. Betz matched Catenacci’s goal, with assists from Tyler McCarthy and Derek Holden, for the Otters at the 11:34 mark.

But Francisco scored from in front of Sadikov on assists from Murphy and Thomson 50 seconds after Betz’s goal. Then Murphy, a Carolina Hurricanes prospect, turned Thomson’s centering pass into his first goal of the season with 6:36 left in the period. Then the offense disappeared for both teams in the second period. Sadikov stopped all eight shots he faced, while Palazzese was 11-for-11 in the period.

The Otters briefly sliced Kitchener’s lead in half with 4:24 left in the game on what appeared to be Jake Evans’ first career goal. But the video replay judge disallowed the goal after a lengthy review. Two minutes later, Kitchener also had a possible goal disallowed after an equally long review.

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: October 29th, 2011

Liam Maaskant chose the perfect time to score his first OHL goal.

“Absolutely,” the rookie defenseman said after his goal 3:22 into overtime snapped the Erie Otters’ eight-game losing streak in a 4-3 win against Kitchener in front of 2,329 at Tullio Arena on Saturday night.

Maaskant’s shot from the point slipped through a crowd and past Rangers goaltender Franky Palazzese to cap a strong effort from the Otters’ rookie class. First-round pick Stephen Harper recorded the first two-goal and three-point outings of his short career. Tyler McCarthy and Jake Evans also had points.

The Otters (2-12-0-0), which rallied from two-goal deficits twice to force overtime, won for the first time since a 7-5 home victory against defending league champion Owen Sound Oct. 7.

A night after making 43 saves in a loss to the Rangers (8-5-1-0), Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov (26 saves) had a rough start early in the finale of this home-and-home series. He allowed highly touted rookie center Radek Faksa’s goal on Kitchener’s first shot for a 1-0 Rangers’ lead 1:25 into the opening period.

Then on Kitchener’s fourth shot, Matia Marcantuoni scored on Sadikov to hand the Rangers a 2-0 lead at the 6:07 mark. Yet the Otters responded 26 seconds later, as Johnny McGuire scored his first goal of the season and second of his career on assists from McCarthy and Evans. McCarthy recorded his first OHL point while Evans netted a point for his second straight game.

Kitchener regained a two-goal lead 22 seconds into the second on Tobias Rieder’s team-best ninth goal of the season. He scored during a scramble in front of Sadikov. But the Otters struck back 51 seconds later on Harper’s first of two goals to slice Kitchener’s lead to 3-2.

Then Harper scored again to tie the score at 3 at the 2:37 mark of the third and eventually force overtime. While standing with his back to the net, the rookie winger deflected Brett Cook’s point shot past Palazzese.

Then Harper joined fellow rookie Connor Brown in assisting on Maaskant’s game-winning goal. Faksa had a goal and assist for the Rangers while Ben Thomson had two assists. Palazzese made 31 saves.

- Victor Fernandes