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 ‘brett cook’
Posted: October 21st, 2011

Ramis Sadikov’s season debut should take place tonight. It can’t arrive soon enough.

The struggles for the Erie Otters’ young, injury-plagued defense continued from the start Friday night in a 5-1 loss to the Plymouth Whalers in front of 2,158 at Tullio Arena on Friday night.

The Whalers scored on the power play 3:45 into the games to spark a three-goal barrage in the opening period. The Otters (1-9-0-0), which have lost five straight, has allowed at least four goals in all 10 games. They rank last in the OHL with 58 goals against (5.8 per game).

Tom Wilson scored his first goal of the season on Rickard Rakell and Garrett Meurs. Then at the 12:30 mark of the period, Wilson assisted on Mitchell Heard’s team-leading seventh goal. Heard scored off a rebound, with highly touted rookie J.T. Miller also earning an assist on the play.

Plymouth capped the decisive scoring barrage with a goal at the 17:47 mark, as Meurs redirected Dario Trutmann’s centering pass into his third goal and a 3-0 Whalers’ lead. The Otters gained a bit of momentum after killing off the Whalers’ nearly two-minute, two-man advantage to start the second.

The Whalers (5-4-2-0) stole momentum midway through the period. Jamie Devane turned Michael Whaley’s into a 4-0 lead 8:01 into the middle period. Three minutes later, Wilson scored his second goal on assists from Rakell and Danny Vanderwiel for a 5-0 lead. The Otters finally got on the scoreboard, as Brett Thompson scored on assists from Brett Cook and Greg McKegg with 6:08 left in the period.

Wilson (two goals, assist) and Rakell (three assists) led the Whalers with three points apiece. Meurs had two points while goaltender Matt Mahalak made 22 saves to improve to 3-2-0-0 on the season. Tyson Teichmann made 33 saves for the Otters.

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: October 14th, 2011

LONDON, Ontario – The Erie Otters had plenty of heart against London on Friday night.

The Otters simply didn’t have enough manpower in a 6-4 loss in front of 8,946 at John Labatt Centre. The Otters (1-7-0-0) dressed only 16 skaters, including nine rookies, because of injuries and illness.

Greg McKegg (minor concussion) was the latest veteran added to an injury list that includes Mike Cazzola (hand surgery), Connor Crisp (shoulder surgery) and Adam Pelech (wrist surgery). McKegg didn’t play Friday and also should miss Saturday’s 7 p.m. game against Windsor at Tullio Arena.

The Otters also faced the Western Conference-leading Knights (7-1-0-0) without veteran forward Brett Thompson (flu) and rookie forward Jake Evans (ill).

Johnny McGuire received a game misconduct late in the first period for removing Knights center Jarred Tinordi‘s helmet during a fight, leaving the Otters with 15 skaters for the rest of the game.

Yet the Otters rallied from an early 2-0 hole against the Knights to take a 3-2 second-period lead. Connor Brown scored late in the first, followed by fellow rookie Sondre Olden’s power-play score 2:45 into the second that tied the score. Chris Marchese’s power-play goal snapped the tie less than two minutes later.

London rallied with three straight goals, capped by rookie Bo Horvat’s score with 7:12 left in the second, to take a 5-3 lead into the third. Yet Marchese sliced London’s lead in half 9:08 into the third.

However, Vladislav Namestnikov scored into an empty net with 32 seconds left to seal the Otters’ fate.

Olden led the Otters with a goal and two assists, while Brett Cook and Travis Wood had two assists apiece. Rookie winger Mitchell Eisenberg had an assist for his first OHL point. Namestnikov paced the Knights with two goals and an assist. Michael Houser made 37 saves.


Posted: October 7th, 2011

The Erie Otters were in unfamiliar territory Friday night – leading after two periods.

The Otters were in unfamiliar territory at the end of the game, too. They were ahead.

Behind career highs from Greg McKegg (six points) and Luke Cairns (five points), the Otters snapped a season-opening, four-game losing streak with a 7-5 win against defending champion Owen Sound in front of 1,997 fans at Tullio Arena.

But the Otters (1-4-0-0) needed a strong final period to seal the elusive win.

The Attack (3-4-0-0) opened the scoring 4:33 into the first, as Joseph Blandisi scored from in front off a pass from Holden Cook. But young players helped the Otters even the score before the first intermission.

Shortly after a strong shift from rookies Stephen Harper and Jake Evans and second-year winger Johnny McGuire, first-year defenseman Travis Wood fired a wrist through a screen and past Attack goaltender J.P. Cesario with 6:17 left. Cairns and rookie Nathan Glass had the assists, with Glass earning his first OHL point.

Yet the Attack took the lead again early in the second – with help from the Otters.

Matt Petgrave’s cross-ice pass from the left wing deflected off rookie defenseman Liam Maaskant’s stick and slipped past Otters goaltender Chris Festarini 1:39 into the period. Yet the Attack returned the favor, as Derek Holden’s rebound bounced off a defender to tie the score at 2 less than two minutes later.

Holden, who was scratched as an extra overager in three of the first four games, scored again at the 4:06 mark – this time on the power play. He fired a wrist shot under the crossbar to snap the 2-2 tie.

Cairns and McKegg, who fell one point of equaling the franchise mark of seven points, assisted on both of Holden’s goals. But the Otters’ lead didn’t last long, as Gemel Smith slipped past the defense to score the tying goal 5:06 into the period.

The teams combined for four goals in the opening five minutes and six goals overall in the period.

McKegg’s stretch pass to a streaking Brett Thompson turned into Thompson’s third goal of the season and a 4-3 Otters lead with 5:32 left in the second. McKegg earned his third assist and Glass his second on the goal. Then Cairns and McKegg combined for a power-play goal for a 5-3 Otters’ lead with 3:47 left.

The Attack sliced their deficit in half 1:01 into the third, as Artur Gavrus deflected a bouncing puck past Festarini. But Cairns scored his second goal of the game to regain a two-goal lead with 9:55 left, only to have the Attack move within one goal again at 6-5 on Jake Dotchin’s goal with 7:18 left in the game. But Brett Cook’s power-play goal with 4:06 left sealed the win.




Otters 7, Attack 5

Owen Sound  1  2  2  —  5

Erie  1  4  2  —  7

1st Period — 1. Owen Sound, Joseph Blandisi 2 (Cook), 4:33. 2. Erie, Travis Wood 1 (Cairns, Glass), 13:43. Penalties — Smith (O) high sticking, :10; Thompson (E) interference, 1:16; McGuire (E) 5-min. fighting, 4:26; Zweep (O) 5-min. fighting, 4:26; Catenacci (O) tripping, 6:09; Gavrus (O) 4-min. checking from behind, 15:02; Thompson (E) roughing, 15:02; McDonnell (E) roughing, 18:26; Gilbert (O) hooking, 18:50.

2nd Period — 3. Owen Sound, Matt Petgrave 3 (unassisted), 1:39. 4. Erie, Derek Holden 1 (McKegg, Cairns), 3:28. 5. Erie, Holden 2 (McKegg, Cairns), 4:06 (pp). 6. Owen Sound, Gemel Smith 2 (unassisted), 5:06. 7. Erie, Brett Thompson 3 (McKegg, Glass), 14:28. 8. Erie, Luke Cairns 1 (McKegg, Cook), 16:12 (pp). Penalties — Appio (O) hooking, 3:53; McKegg (E) roughing, 6:21; Catenacci (O) roughing, 6:21; Festarini (E) hooking (served by McKegg), 12:09; Gilbert (O) checking to the head, 16:00; McCarthy (E) 5-min. fighting, 18:09; Appio (E) 5-min. fighting, 18:09; Gilbert (O) interference, 18:35.

3rd Period — 9. Owen Sound, Artur Gavrus 1 (Smith, Childerley), 1:01. 10. Erie, Cairns 2 (McKegg), 10:05. 11. Owen Sound, Jake Dotchin 1 (Smith, Halmo), 12:42 (pp). 12. Erie, Brett Cook 1 (McKegg, Thompson), 15:54 (pp). Penalties — Brown (E) hooking, 11:52; Petgrave (O) high sticking, 14:46.

Shots on goal — Owen Sound, 8-10-10—28; Erie, 9-11-10—30.

Goaltenders — Owen Sound, J.P. Cesario 1-1-0-0 (30 shots, 23 saves); Erie, Chris Festarini 1-2-0-0 (28 shots, 24 saves).

Power plays — Owen Sound (1-4), Erie (3-8).

Referees — Craig Spada, Seth Ferguson. Linesmen — Jesse Wilmot, Adam Harris.

Attendance — 1,997.


Three stars

* Luke Cairns, Otters (2 goals, 3 assists) ** Greg McKegg, Otters (6 assists) *** Derek Holden, Otters (2 goals)

Posted: October 1st, 2011

The Erie Otters allowed fewer shots on goal in their home opener Saturday night.

But that didn’t stop Oshawa from adding to the Otters’ goals-against total in Erie’s 7-4 loss in front of 4,911 at Tullio Arena. The Otters (04-0-0) have allowed 28 goals in their season-opening, four-game losing streak.

A winless start to the season “is unacceptable,” said goaltender Tyson Teichmann, who allowed seven goals on 36 shots. The Generals snapped a 3-3 tie on Boone Jenner’s second goal of the night 1 minute, 45 seconds into the third period.

Then Josh Graves scored less than three minutes later to headline a decisive four-goal outburst in the final period. Jenner (two goals, assists) and Lucas Lessio (goal, three assists) led the Generals (2-2-0-0) with four points apiece. Nicklas Jensen added a goal and two assists.

The 36 shot against fell slightly below Erie’s season average of 43.6 per game. But that didn’t stop the “We Want Rammer” chants from the crowd after the Generals’ sixth goal late in the game.

Overage goaltender Ramis Sadikov, who’s on the trade market, hasn’t dressed for a game since returning from Detroit Red Wings camp earlier in the week. “It means we have to pick up our play (in net),” Teichmann said of having Sadikov on the roster. “It’s not just the defense.” Veteran defenseman Brett Cook offered a different assessment of the defensive performance.

“We have hung them out to dry,” he said, referring to Teichmann and Chris Festarini.




Generals 7, Otters 4

Oshawa  1  2  4  —  7

Erie  1  2  1  —  4

1st Period — 1. Erie, Greg McKegg 2 (Cazzola, Grant), 10:42 (pp). 2. Oshawa, Boone Jenner 1 (Carlisle, Lessio), 12:05. Penalties — McGuire (E) 5-min. fighting, 6:13; Clark (O) 5-min. fighting, 6:13; McCarthy (E) tripping, 7:31; Carlisle (O) slashing, 10:07.

2nd Period — 3. Nicklas Jensen 1 (Lessio, Jenner), 1:37. 4. Erie, Nick Betz 1 (unassisted), 6:35. 5. Oshawa, Colin Suellentrop 1 (Labardo), 15:48. 6. Erie, Sondre Olden 2 (Marchese, Wood), 18:26 (pp). Penalties — Lessio (O) boarding, 8:57; Brown (O) checking to the head, 11:27; Thompson (E) roughing, 13:22; Jenner (O) checking to the head, 17:42.

3rd Period — 7. Oshawa, Jenner 2 (Lessio, Jensen), 1:45. 8. Oshawa, Josh Graves 1 (Labardo, Hughes), 4:19. 9. Oshawa, Lucas Lessio 2 (Jenner, Jensen), 13:53. 10. Oshawa, Sebastian Uvira 2 (Hope), 19:14. 11. Erie, Brett Thompson 2 (Betz, Wood), 19:51. Penalties — Cook (E) unsportsmanlike conduct, 17:37; Lessio (O) unsportsmanlike conduct, 17:37

Shots on goal — Oshawa, 8-11-17—36; Erie, 5-13-17—35.

Goaltenders — Oshawa, Dan Altshuller 2-2-0-0 (35 shots, 31 saves); Erie, Tyson Teichmann 0-2-0-0 (36 shots, 29 saves).

Power plays — Oshawa (0-2), Erie (2-4).

Referees — Darren Price, T.J. Foster. Linesmen — Mike Harrington, Adam Harris.

Attendance — 4,911.


Three stars

* Boone Jenner, Generals (2 goals, 2 assists) ** Lucas Lessio, Generals (goal, 3 assists) *** Nick Betz, Otters (goal, assist)

Posted: September 3rd, 2011

The Erie Otters dropped their preseason opener 2-0 to Niagara at Tullio Arena on Saturday night.

But Otters coach Robbie Ftorek said he was “pleased with what they did on the ice.”

The Otters featured a lineup filled with young players, nine of which made their OHL debut. They faced a veteran-laden IceDogs club that included NHL first-round picks Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Strome and Mark Visentin.

But the Otters battled the IceDogs from start to finish.

Chris Festarini and Tyson Teichmann, who are vying for the No. 1 goaltending job, allowed a goal apiece while splitting time in net. Festarini stopped 17-of-18 shots while Teichmann had seven saves.

Mitch Bennett snapped the scoreless tie 7 minutes, 35 seconds into the second period on the IceDogs’ first power-play chance of the game. The IceDogs finished 1-for-2 compared to the Otters’ 0-for-5. David Pacan capped the scoring with 4:32 left in the game.

The Otters scratched several veterans from the lineup – goaltender Ramis Sadikov, defensemen Brett Cook, Derek Holden and Kris Grant and forwards Mike Cazzola, Greg McKegg and Brett Thompson.

Left wing Sondre Olden, the club’s highly regarded top pick in the CHL Import Draft, also was scratched because the International Ice Hockey Federation hasn’t officially approved his paperwork. Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, expects that to happen Tuesday or Wednesday. Bassin also announced the signings of several prospects – 2011 draft picks Nick Betz, Patrick Murphy and Travis Wood, 2010 pick Connor Brown and 2009 pick Johnny McGuire.



IceDogs 2, Otters 0

Niagara  0  1  1  —  2

Erie  0  0  0  —  0

1st Period — 1. None. Penalties — Niagara, too many men (served by Desautels), 5:17; Shipley (N) hooking, 15:28.

2nd Period — Niagara, Mitch Bennett (Strome, F. Hamilton), 7:35 (pp). Penalties — D. Hamilton (N) elbowing, :50; McCarthy (E) roughing, 6:51; Cairns (E) hooking, 9:33; Verhaeghe (N) hooking, 9:40; Beukeboom (N) slashing, 17:53.

3rd Period — 2. Niagara, David Pacan (F. Hamilton), 15:28. Penalties — McGuire (E) 5-min. fighting, 2:57; Desautels (N) 5-min. fighting, 2:57; McGuire (E) game misconduct, 2:57; Desautels (N) game misconduct, 2:57; Cairns (E) delay of game, 6:25; Windsor (N) delay of game, 6:25; D. Hamilton (N) cross checking, 6:54.

Shots on goal — Niagara, 10-11-5—26; Erie, 11-6-9—26.

Goaltenders — Niagara, Mark Visentin (13 shots, 13 saves), Mike Gallardi (13 shots, 13 saves); Erie, Chris Festarini (18 shots, 17 saves), Tyson Teichmann (8 shots, 7 saves).

Power plays — Niagara (1-2), Erie (0-5).

Referees — Craig Spada, Keith Kaval. Linesmen — Ray King, Mike Harrington.

Posted: September 1st, 2011

Mark Gazdic spent most of the 2010-11 OHL season watching and learning.

As an inexperienced eighth defenseman on a unit featuring five players with at least two years of OHL experience, Gazdic dressed for – and played sparingly – in 18 games.

“It certainly gave me the patience to appreciate game time and getting the opportunities to play more now,” said Gazdic, 18, who’s entering his second season with the Erie Otters.

“I’m trying to take advantage … (of) what last year’s knowledge gave me and apply that right now. With a whole bunch of new teammates, there seems to be a lot of opportunities for me.”

The Otters currently have three rookies – Nathan Glass, 17, Liam Maaskant, 17, and Tyler McCarthy, 19, – and two other second-year players – Kris Grant, 18, and Adam Pelech, 17 – on defense. Veterans Brett Cook, 20, and Derek Holden, 20, are the only true veterans, and they are battling for one overager spot.

“Last year when I was playing, it was more like just surviving,” Gazdic said. “Now it’s all about bringing that confidence, that poise, that little extra edge to it that will give you the image of a top player in the league and a top defenseman.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: August 3rd, 2011

Sherry Bassin, Erie Otters managing partner and general manager, said Wednesday that he’s involved in serious trade discussions involving Andrew Yogan, a 19-year-old forward and four-year OHL veteran.

Bassin declined to name the interested club and the timetable for a completed deal. But an unnamed league source considers an undisclosed Eastern Conference team as the frontrunner ahead of several other Eastern and Western conference teams. A trade could be finalized by the end of the week, the source said.

“I can’t really judge and tell you that it’s imminent or not imminent,” said Bassin, who wants “whatever fits” in return for Yogan – be it players, draft picks or both.

Bassin has made Yogan aware of the trade talks. He expects Yogan would waive his no-trade clause if a deal is completed.

“It’s a numbers game,” Bassin said, referring to Yogan. On Tuesday, Bassin alluded to having Mike Cazzola and Brett Thompson, who combined for 63 goals and 151 points this past season, for a full season. Cazzola missed two months in 2010-11 with a broken wrist. Thompson was acquired in January from Sault Ste. Marie. That likely would leave the final OA spot on defense for Brett Cook or Derek Holden. Bassin said trade talks involving other undisclosed players besides Yogan are ongoing.

- Victor Fernandes

Check out this story on Yogan from the New York Rangers’ website.



Posted: April 3rd, 2011

Brett Thompson picked the perfect time to score his first OHL playoff goal.

The veteran winger scored 8 minutes, 51 seconds into overtime to seal the Erie Otters’ 6-5 win in Game 6 in front of 4,059 at Tullio Arena on Sunday. His goal evened the series at 3-3 and forced Game 7 on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario.

Yet any momentum from the Otters’ 6-5 overtime win in a must-win Game 5 didn’t carry over into the opening period of another must-win game. The Spitfires gained control with three straight goals.

Tom Kuhnhackl scored arguably his easiest goal of the season 8:32 into the opening period. He leisurely slipped a rebound into an open net while players from both teams, including Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov, laid on the ice after a scramble for the puck to the left of the Otters’ net.

Then the Spitfires scored twice – both by Taylor Carnevale – in less than 3 minutes late in the period to take a commanding 3-0 lead. He fired a rebound past Sadikov a second or two before the net kicked off its supports for a 2-0 lead with 5:09 left. He scored again with 2:38 left for his third goal of the series.

However, all but one of Windsor’s three-goal lead vanished in a 26-second span of the second.

Anthony Luciani scored off an assist from Phil Varone to move the Otters within 3-1 at the 3:29 mark of the period. Then Brett Cook’s rebound of Brett Appio’s shot sliced Windsor’s lead to 3-2 at 3:55.

Luciani had two goals and two assists to give him six goals and eight points in the past two games. He leads the OHL with seven playoff goals. Varone had a goal and three assists after totaling a goal and four assists in Game 5. They teamed with Thompson to produce four goals and nine points in the win.

The Spitfires responded 32 seconds later on Stephen Johnston’s goal, which extended their lead to 4-2.

But Luciani continued his torrid stretch with his second of the game, sixth in the last two games and a OHL-leading seventh of the playoffs to move the Otters back within 4-3 with 1:07 left in the period.

The Otters tied it on the power play, as Varone’s point shot eluded Campbell 6:49 into the third period. Derek Holden (two assists) and Thompson had the assists on the goal. The Spitfires rallied late to tie the score for the second straight game. This time, Adrian Robertson scored on a rebound through a crowd in front of Sadikov to tie the score at 5 with 3:59 left.

Yet Thompson’s goal kept the Otters’ playoff hopes alive. The teams combined for 120 shots on goal, with the Otters’ 67 shots setting a new franchise playoff record.

- 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 – Erie 6, Windsor 5 (OT)

Game 6 – Erie 6, Windsor 5 (OT)

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

Series tied 3-3

* If necessary


Otters 6, Spitfires 5 (OT)

Windsor  3  1  1  0  —  5

Erie  0  3  2  1  —  6

1st Period — 1. Windsor, Tom Kuhnhackl 3 (Khokhlachev, Carrick), 8:32. 2. Windsor, Taylor Carnevale 2 (Rychel, Ellis), 14:51. 3. Windsor, Carnevale 3 (Robertson, Posa), 17:22. Penalties — Shields (E) high sticking, 15:10.

2nd Period — 4. Erie, Anthony Luciani 6 (Varone), 3:29. 5. Erie, Brett Cook 1 (Appio), 3:55. 6. Windsor, Stephen Johnston 4 (Ryan), 4:27. 7. Erie, Luciani 7 (Shields, Holden), 18:53. Penalties — Appio (E) roughing, 7:28; Ryan (W) goaltender interference, 11:49.

3rd Period — 8. Erie, Phil Varone 3 (Holden, Thompson), 6:49 (pp). 9. Erie, Derek Holden 2 (Luciani, Varone), 10:56. 10. Windsor, Adrian Robertson 2 (Kassian, Ryan), 16:01. Penalties — Ellis (E) holding, 6:39; Cazzola (E) roughing, 10:13; Robertson (W) roughing, 10:13.

Shots on goal — Windsor, 29-10-10-4—53; Erie, 30-15-14-8—67.

Overtime — 11. Brett Thompson 1 (Varone, Luciani), 8:51. Penalties — None.

Goaltenders — Windsor, Jack Campbell 3-1-2 (67 shots, 61 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 2-2-1 (53 shots, 48 saves).

Power plays — Windsor (0-2), Erie (1-2).

Referees — Bob Langdon, Scott Ferguson. Linesmen — Kevin Hastings, Jesse Wilmot.

Attendance — 4,059.

Three stars

* Brett Thompson, Otters (GW goal, assist) ** Phil Varone, Otters (goal, three assists) *** Anthony Luciani, Otters (2 goals, 2 assists)

Posted: March 17th, 2011

SARNIA, Ontario – The Erie Otters needed one more goal to regain fourth in the Western Conference.

Brett Appio made it happen, as his goal with 8 minutes, 47 seconds left in the third period snapped a tie and handed the Otters a critical 7-6 win in front of 4,110 at RBC Centre on Thursday night.

With their season-high, seventh straight win, the Otters (39-26-1-1) moved into a tie with Windsor for fourth place, a spot that guarantees home-ice advantage in the first round of the OHL playoffs.

The Otters also secured a first-round series with the Spitfires. Windsor lost 5-0 at home to Saginaw on Thursday, leaving the Spitfires and Otters with 80 points apiece.

Windsor has a game in hand on the Otters, which complete the regular season tonight in Saginaw. The Spitfires travel to Sault Ste. Marie tonight and to Saginaw on Saturday. Sixth-place Plymouth (76 points), which didn’t play Thursday, plays at Kitchener tonight and hosts Guelph on Saturday.

Sarnia (24-35-5-2) made the Otters work hard for their latest win.

The Otters trailed 2-1 midway through the first period before scoring five unanswered goals in a 16½-minute span of the first and second periods to build a 6-2 lead. But the Sting rallied to tie the score at 6 with four straight goals, capped by Nail Yakupov’s power-play goal 8:28 into the third.

Yet Appio’s unassisted goal snapped the tie less than three minutes later. Appio has 12 goals in 54 games this season, one more than he scored in 114 games the past three seasons.

Shawn Szydlowski led the Otters with two goals – his 40th and 41st of the season – and an assist.

Brett Cook, David Shields, Phil Varone and Connor Crisp also scored for the Otters. Anthony Luciani and Mike Cazzola had two assists apiece. Ramis Sadikov earned the win despite allowing six goals on 32 shots. Rookies Yakupov (goal, four assists) and Alex Galchenyuk (three goals, assist) led the Sting with a combined four goals and nine points.

- Victor Fernandes


Otters 7, Sting 6

Erie  4  2  1  —  7

Sarnia  2  1  3  —  6

1st Period — 1. Erie, Connor Crisp 5 (McDonnell), 6:09. 2. Sarnia, Alex Galchenyuk 29 (Yakupov, Peters), 8:04. 3. Sarnia, Joe Rogalski 7 (Galchenyuk, Yakupov), 9:14. 4. Erie, David Shields 6 (Luciani), 9:27. 5. Erie, Phil Varone 32 (Luciani, Thompson), 12:08. 6. Erie, Shawn Szydlowski 40 (Cazzola), 16:37 (sh). Penalties — Appio (E) high sticking, 8:22; Hottot (S) slashing, 8:22; Crisp (E) holding, 15:10; Flemington (S) hooking, 18:36.

2nd Period — 7. Erie, Brett Cook 8 (Hostetter, Szydlowski), :34 (pp), 8. Erie, Szydlowski 41 (McKegg, Cazzola), 5:52. 9. Galchenyuk 30 (Yakupov), 7:54. Penalties — Holden (E) hooking, 11:00; Ritchie (S) hooking, 11:57; Flemington (S) hooking, 14:52; McDonnell (E) unsportsmanlike conduct, 18:51; Yakupov (S) high sticking, 18:51.

3rd Period — 10. Sarnia, Galchenyuk 31 (Yakupov, Peters), 3:47. 11. Sarnia, Brett Ritchie 21 (Flemington, Chiarlitti), 4:36. 12. Sarnia, Nail Yakupov 48 (Kerbashian, Chiarlitti), 8:28 (pp). 13., Erie, Brett Appio 12 (unassisted), 11:13. Penalties — Varone (E) roughing, 1:14; Yakupov (S) roughing, 1:14; Luciani (E) holding, 6:37; Yogan (E) roughing, 6:37; Flemington (S) roughing, 6:37; Szydlowski (E) roughing, 11:43; Flemington (S) roughing, 11:43; Hottot (S) interference, 11:43; Yogan (E) cross checking, 14:25.

Shots on goal — Erie, 14-9-9—32; Sarnia, 8-12-12—32.

Goaltenders — Erie, Ramis Sadikov 35-17-11 (32 shots, 26 saves); Sarnia, Troy Passingham 17-15-3-2 (32 shots, 25 saves).

Power plays — Erie (1-5), Sarnia (1-5).

Referees — Ryan Hutchison, Joe Monette. Linesmen — Glenn Anderson, Matt Prozaki.

Attendance — 4,110.

Three stars

* Nail Yakupov, Sting (goal, 4 assists) ** Alex Galchenyuk, Sting (3 goals, assist) *** Shawn Szydlowski, Otters (2 goals, assist)

Posted: March 2nd, 2011

The Erie Otters are back in the OHL playoffs again. Chris Festarini is a winner again, too.

The rookie goaltender’s second straight win – a 4-1 win against Niagara in front of 2,976 at Tullio Arena on Wednesday night – sealed the Otters’ third straight postseason berth.

Festarini, who recorded his first career win Saturday in a 2-1 win against Kitchener, made 23 saves. Phil Varone and Brett Thompson led the offense with a goal and two assists apiece.

The Otters (34-26-1-1) held Niagara without a shot on goal for the opening eight minutes of the game. But Ryan Strome, the OHL’s third-leading scorer, turned a defensive giveaway in the Otters’ zone into the game’s opening goal on the IceDogs’ first shot on goal 8:38 into the first period.

Festarini and the Otters’ defense stymied the IceDogs (38-16-2-4) for the rest of the period. Festarini stopped the final eight shots. But the Otters couldn’t gain rhythm offensively.

Yet Anthony Luciani slipped a wrist shot between IceDogs goaltender Mark Visentin’s pads to tie the score at 1 at the 1:35 mark of the second. Luciani had a goal and assist to extend his goals streak to four straight games and his point streak to six consecutive games.

Meanwhile, Festarini stood strong with 10 saves on 10 shots. Varone’s 30th goal of the season, off assists from Thompson and Brett Cook, snapped the tie 1:22 into the third. Varone reached 30 goals for the first time in his five-year OHL career.

The Otters extended their lead on Thompson’s 41st goal of the season with 4:41 left in the game. Greg McKegg’s empty-net score with 1:18 left – his team-leading 42nd of the season – sealed the win.

- Victor Fernandes


Otters 4, IceDogs 1

Niagara  1  0  0  —  1

Erie  0  1  3  —  4

1st Period — 1. Niagara, Ryan Strome 29 (unassisted), 8:38. Penalties — Szydlowski (E) checking to the head, 8:30; Friesen (N) boarding. 8:30; Cook (E) roughing, 11:16; Friesen (N) high sticking, 14:10; Billingsley (N) tripping, 18:41.

2nd Period — 2. Erie, Anthony Luciani 28 (Varone, Thompson), 1:35. Penalties — Marchese (E) high sticking, 4:44; Varone (E) cross checking, 11:53; Schwindt (N) interference, 13:40.

3rd Period — 3. Erie, Phil Varone 30 (Thompson, Cook), 1:22. 4. Erie, Brett Thompson 41 (Varone, Luciani), 15:18. 5. Erie, Greg McKegg 42 (Cazzola, Shields), 18:42 (en). Penalties — Cook (E) hooking, 4:15; Friesen (N) holding, 4:46; Hostetter (E) slashing, 5:37; Rover (N) roughing, 9:06.

Shots on goal — Niagara, 9-6-9—24; Erie, 5-12-8—25.

Goaltenders — Niagara, Mark Visentin 25-9-2-4 (24 shots, 21 saves); Erie, Chris Festarini 2-8-0-0 (24 shots, 23 saves).

Power plays — Niagara (0-5), Erie (0-4).

Referees — Craig Spada, Ryan Carroll. Linesmen — Daryl Wolfe, Fraser McIntire.

Attendance — 2,976.

Three stars

* Phil Varone, Otters (goal, 2 assists)  ** Brett Thompson, Otters (goal, 2 assists) *** Chris Festarini, Otters (23 saves)