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 ‘chris festarini’
Posted: December 18th, 2013

Looks like former Erie Otters G Chris Festarini has left the Niagara IceDogs…read more by checking out these stories…,View&blog=3&id=167

Posted: December 12th, 2013

Erie Otters (27-4-1-0) at Niagara IceDogs (8-19-2-2)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Jack Gatecliff Arena – St. Catharines, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: vs. London (Saturday, 7 p.m.), at Guelph (Sunday, 6:30 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters have won eight straight games, their second-longest winning streak of the season. They won a franchise-record 11 in a row from Oct. 5 to Nov. 2. … They have won four straight on the road to improve to 10-4-1-0 away from Erie Insurance Arena. … The Otters are without C Connor McDavid and D Adam Pelech, who left the club today to join the Canadian National Junior Team in hopes of earning a roster spot for the IIHF World Junior Championship, which will be held from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Malmo, Sweden. … RW Andre Burakovsky, who left Wednesday’s game against Mississauga in the third period after being slashed across the wrist, is expected to play tonight. … Burakovsky and G Oscar Dansk play their final games before joining their native Sweden for World Juniors. … G prospect Daniel Dekoning joins the team today to fill in for Dansk. … LW Dane Fox (pictured at right) has goals and points in eight straight games (15 goals, 20 points). He can tie the franchise record for consecutive games with a goal tonight. Brad Boyes scored goals in nine straight games from Nov. 4-25, 2000. … The Otters won the first two meetings with the IceDogs by a combined 11-3 score. … The IceDogs have the OHL’s second-worst record. … They have lost eight of their last 10 games to fall to ninth in the Eastern Conference. They trail Ottawa by three points in the race for the final playoff spot. … They have been outscored 138-102 this season. … C Carter Verhaeghe (16 goals, 29 assists, 45 points) and LW Brendan Perlini (16-25-41) lead the IceDogs’ offense. … G Chris Festarini, a former Otter, has a 5-9-1-2 record, 4.08 goals-against average and .869 save percentage in 19 games this season. He has five losses and a no-decision in his past six outings and one win in his last 11 games.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: November 2nd, 2013

Erie Otters (12-2-1-0) at Niagara IceDogs (5-8-1-2)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Jack Gatecliff Arena – St. Catharines, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: at London (Sunday, 2 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters can set a new franchise record tonight with an 11th straight win. … The Otters are 5-2-1-0 on the road, including three straight wins. … The Otters and IceDogs meet for the first of six times in the regular season. … RW Joel Wigle won’t face his former IceDogs teammates – or any team for the next month – because of a shoulder injury. … As of Thursday’s practice, head coach Kris Knoblauch hadn’t decided if Oscar Dansk or Devin Williams will start in goal tonight. Knoblauch leaned toward Dansk for Sunday’s game in London. … The Otters rank among the top three in every major statistical category – goals for (third with 68), goals against (first with 37), power play (first at 31.8 percent) and penalty kill (first at 89.6 percent). … Linemates Connor Brown (first at 31 points), Connor McDavid (tied for fourth at 28 points) and Dane Fox (tied for eighth at 25 points) began Thursday among the league’s top 10 in scoring. … McDavid was named the league’s player of the month for October (4 goals, 19 assists, 23 points in 10 games). … Dansk was named the top goaltender for the month (8-0-0-0 record, 1.75 goals-against average, .921 save percentage, 2 shutouts). … D Cory Genovese completes his latest five-game suspension this weekend. … Niagara’s top line features LW Brendan Perlini (29 points) and C Carter Verhaeghe (28 points), who are tied for second and tied for fourth overall. … Fox is tied for the league lead with 16 goals, while McDavid has a league-best 23 points. … IceDogs G Chris Festarini, a former Otter, has a 4-4-0-2 record, 3.58 goals-against average and .888 save percentage in 11 games this season.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 2nd, 2013

ST. CATHARINES, Ontario – Rookie goaltender Daniel Dekoning gave the Erie Otters a chance to sweep their two-game weekend series against Niagara.
He had a strong performance against the IceDogs. But it wasn’t enough for the short-handed Otters in a 2-0 preseason loss Monday at Jack Gatecliff Arena. The Otters played without several key veterans, headlined by the No. 1 line of Connor McDavid, Connor Brown and Andre Burakovsky.
The Otters, which beat the IceDogs 6-3 at Mercyhurst Ice Center on Saturday night, fell behind 1-0 on Mike Robinson‘s goal with 4 minutes, 5 seconds left in the opening period.
Brendan Perlini scored short-handed with 5:48 left in the second period to give the IceDogs a two-goal lead. Meanwhile, former Otters goaltender Chris Festarini finished with 14 saves on 14 shots for the IceDogs after allowing four goals on 14 shots Saturday. Then Blake Richard capped the shutout for the IceDogs, which were outshot by the Otters 26-21. Dekoning made 19 saves for the Otters, which head to Barrie on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. preseason game.

Posted: February 13th, 2013

Erie Otters rookie goaltender Oscar Dansk has played nine periods of hockey in the past two months.
They haven’t been his finest work. Dansk, who missed time midway through the season while sitting the bench for his native Sweden at the IIHF World Junior Championship and the past month with a concussion, continues to struggle from his lack of consistent playing time.
He surrendered six goals on his opening 20 shots in his first game back from the injury, a 6-3 loss to Niagara in front of 2,051 fans at Erie Insurance Arena Wednesday night. Add that to rough outings in three games a month ago, and he has allowed 16 goals on his last 106 shots.
The IceDogs, namely their dangerous No. 1 line of Ryan Strome (two goals, assist), Brett Ritchie (three assists) and Steven Shipley (two assists), capitalized on Dansk’s early struggles. The didn’t help much, as the Otters (16-31-3-5) were overwhelmed by that trio on home ice for the second time this month on the way to their ninth loss in 10 games. That line combined for two goals and eight points after totals four goals and eight points in a 5-1 win Feb. 1.
Strome opened the scoring by slipping through the Otters’ defense to turn Ritchie’s pass into his 30th goal of the season 7 minutes, 23 seconds into the game. Then Ritchie found Shayne Rover at the point for a shot through a screen less than three minutes later. The IceDogs capped the period with 24.1 seconds left, as Strome found Trevor Petersen for a quick wrist shot over Dansk’s shoulder.
The Otters scored twice in a 1:12 span early in the second to slice the IceDogs’ lead to 3-2. J.P. Labardo turned a steal inside Niagara’s zone into his 19th goal of the season. Then Nick Betz slipped out of the corner and lifted a backhand over former Otters goaltender Chris Festarini to move the Otters within a goal. But that was the highlight for an offense that managed only 18 shots on goal.
The IceDogs ended the middle period with a three-goal onslaught to put the game away.
Labardo led the Otters with a goal and assist. Connor McDavid scored his 23rd goal of the season. Rover had a goal and two assists for the IceDogs. … Any combination of Otters losses and Saginaw wins totaling nine points officially will eliminate the Otters from playoff contention. The Otters have lost five straight home games by a combined 27-9 score.

Posted: September 20th, 2012

ST. CATHARINES, Ontario – As expected, the Erie Otters are a work in progress.
Highly touted No. 1 pick Connor McDavid will fill the stat sheet in the 2012-13 season. New goaltender Oscar Dansk will make enough key saves in net. And the Otters will produce more consistent efforts. But a defeat on opening night still hurts.
“Losing is something that doesn’t sit well for me,” said McDavid, who had opportunities for several assists but settled for a scoreless outing in his OHL debut – a 4-2 loss to Niagara in front of 3,145 at Gatorade Garden City Complex Thursday night.
Dansk produced a respectable effort – 26 saves on 30 shots – in his first OHL game.
Dansk and the Otters withstood an early offensive flurry from the IceDogs (1-0-0-0). But after former Otters goaltender Chris Festarini fired the puck over the boards for a delay of game penalty, the Otters capitalized on a two-man advantage to take a 1-0 lead 8:02 into the first period. Connor Crisp, who missed nearly all of the 2011-12 season following shoulder surgery, scored off a deflection in front for his first goal since March 17, 2011.
Dansk wasn’t able to stop Steven Shipley‘s shot in close, which tied the score at 1 on the power play with 6:03 left in the period. But the Otters regained the lead at 2-1 just 1:06 later, as Nick Betz pushed a rebound past Festarini. The IceDogs recorded the first nine shots, including rookie David Sysala‘s first career goal off 6:44 into the period that tied the score at 2.
Anthony DiFruscia‘s first OHL goal handed the IceDogs their first lead at 3-2 at the 4:34 mark. Then Joel Wigle‘s bad-angle shot slipped between Dansk and the right post for a 4-2 IceDogs lead with 9:32 left.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 17th, 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 Eastern Conference’s Central Division (listed in alphabetical order):

Barrie Colts
Coach/GM: Dale Hawerchuk/Jason Ford
2011-12 finish: 40-23-3-2, 2nd division, 3rd conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Ottawa in conference semifinals
Key players: LW Tanner Pearson (37 goals, 54 assists, 91 points; signed with Los Angeles), C Mark Scheifele (23-40-63 in 47 games; signed with Winnipeg), G Mathias Niederberger (29-14-1-2 record, 2.68 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, 3 shutouts), C Zach Hall (19-40-59), D Ryan O’Connor (8-28-36)
Key losses: C Colin Behenna (26-48-74), C Ivan Telegin (35-29-64; signed with Winnipeg)
Outlook: The continued emergence of standouts like Pearson and Scheifele, and the play of Niederberger in his first season, sparked the Colts to a 25-game improvement in the win column. Now these Colts could be tough to contend with this year.

Brampton Battalion
Coach/GM: Stan Butler
2011-12 finish: 36-22-3-7, 3rd division, 4th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Niagara 4-0 in conference semifinals
Key players: RW Barclay Goodrow (26-26-52; Carolina prospect), G Matej Machovsky (24-13-0-4, 2.36, .902, 5 SO; Ottawa prospect), D Dylan Blujus (7-27-34), D Cameron Wind (2-19-21, +16), LW Brandon Robinson (15-9-24)
Key losses: C Sam Carrick (16-23-39; signed with Toronto), LW Ian Watters (16-14-30)
Outlook: Defense is the name of the game in Brampton, which has featured one of the league’s top defenses the past several seasons. Machovsky anchors this year’s unit, while a defense led by Blujus and Wind provide plenty of help.

Mississauga Steelheads
Coach/GM: James Boyd
2011-12 finish: 33-28-1-6, 5th division, 6th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Barrie 4-2 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: LW Riley Brace (33-49-82), D Dylan DeMelo (7-40-47; signed with San Jose), C Kristoff Kontos (15-32-47), D Stuart Percy (4-30-34, plus-50; signed with Toronto), D Trevor Carrick (6-13-19)
Key losses: G Brandon Maxwell (33-22-1-3, 2.92, .913, 6 SO), LW Jamie Wise (31-17-48)
Outlook: This club has a new owner – Mississauga, Ontario, businessman Elliott Kerr, and nickname. But the Steelheads’ new goaltending tandem of Spencer Martin and former Otter Tyson Teichmann will have the biggest impact on this team’s success.

Niagara IceDogs
Coach/GM: Marty Williamson
2011-12 finish: 47-18-0-3, 1st division, 1st conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-1 in league finals
Key players: C Ryan Strome (30-38-68 in 46 games; signed with N.Y. Islanders), D Dougie Hamilton (17-55-72, +37; signed with Boston), D Jesse Graham (4-37-41, +25; N.Y. Islanders prospect), RW Brett Ritchie (24-21-45; signed with Dallas), G Chris Festarini (16-10-0-0, 2.85, .904, 2 SO; former Otter)
Key losses: G Mark Visentin (30-9-0-2, 1.99, .926, 10 SO; signed with Phoenix), C Andrew Agozzino (40-48-88), LW Freddie Hamilton (35-51-86; signed with San Jose), C Alex Friesen (26-45-71; signed with Vancouver), RW David Pacan (29-35-64)
Outlook: Festarini faces serious pressure as Visentin’s replacement in net. But Festarini has plenty of experienced talent – led by Strome and Hamilton – in front of him that will help keep the puck out of the net as well as score a lot of goals.

Sudbury Wolves
Coach/GM: Trent Cull/Blaine Smith
2011-12 finish: 36-26-4-2, 4th division, 5th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Brampton 4-0 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: LW Joshua Leivo (32-41-73), D Justin Sefton (3-16-19, 143 penalty minutes; San Jose prospect), LW Nathan Pancel (23-21-44), D Frank Corrado (3-23-26, +26), C Matthew Campagna (8-23-31 in 45 games)
Key losses: C Michael Sgarbossa (36-46-82; signed with San Jose), D Josh McFadden (19-53-72; signed with Florida), G Johan Mattsson (23-11-2-1, 3.16, .910), LW Andrey Kuchin (25-40-65), RW Derek Schoenmakers (26-24-50; traded to Windsor)
Outlook: The Wolves spent little time in the playoffs the past two seasons, as they were swept both times. But the departure of skilled leaders like Sgarbossa, McFadden, Mattsson and Kuchin might keep these Wolves out of the playoffs entirely.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: February 15th, 2012

Devin Williams did everything but score a goal for the Erie Otters.

But the Otters finally scored – two late goals, actually – to reward Williams for the game of his life.

The rookie goaltender stopped a career-high 61-of-62 shots in Erie’s 2-1 comeback win against the Eastern Conference-leading Niagara IceDogs in front of 2,121 at Tullio Arena Wednesday night.

“What can you say? The kid was amazing,” said Peter Sidorkiewicz, Otters assistant/goaltending coach.

For the game’s first 55 minutes, it appeared the Otters’ struggling offense would spoil one of the best performances in franchise history. The Otters (8-40-3-2) rarely tested former teammate Chris Festarini (16 saves).

“The guys found a way to put one in,” Sidorkiewicz, referring to rookie Connor Brown’s rebound on the power play, which trickled past Festarini to tie the score at 1 with 5 minutes, 55 seconds left in the game.

Then during the Otters’ sixth and final power play of the night, Brown’s pass found rookie Sondre Olden to the right of Festarini. The Otters’ 18th and final shot on goal of the game found the back of the net.

The goal with 43.6 seconds left was all Williams needed to finish off the IceDogs (35-16-0-3).

Williams’ effort also provides club officials with a difficult decision to make. The coaching staff has spoken with Sherry Bassin, managing partner and general manager, about possibly signing Williams to a player card. That would allow him to play with the team full time for the rest of the season.

Williams, a fifth-round pick in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection, has spent more half of the season with the Otters as a floating affiliate. That limits his game total to 10 games until his original team, the Metro Jets from Waterford, Mich., completes their season in the North American Tier III Hockey League.

He has played six games. The Otters have 15 games left in the season. Sidorkiewicz said club officials still want to play overager Ramis Sadikov in games in hopes of helping him earn a professional contract. But Sidorkiewicz said they also would like to play Williams more.

Williams stopped all 21 shots he faced in the first period. He stopped 23-of-24 in the second, with only Freddie Hamilton’s shot from in close slipping through with 5:02 left in the period. Williams turned aside all 17 shots in the third, which gave the Otters the opportunity they needed to rally and snap a four-game losing streak.




Otters 2, IceDogs 1

Niagara  0  1  0  —  1

Erie  0  0  2  —  2

1st Period — None. Penalties — Wigle (N) hooking, :38; Olden (E) slashing, 1:35; McGuire (E) 4-min. checking from behind, 12:33; Beukeboom (N) instigating, 12:33; McGuire (E) 5-min. fighting, 12:33; Beukeboom (N) 5-min. fighting, 12:33; Beukeboom (N) 10-min. misconduct, 12:33; Mercer (N) high sticking,. 15:51.

2nd Period — 1. Niagara, Freddie Hamilton 25 (Strome, D. Hamilton), 14:58 (pp). Penalties — Evans (E) tripping, 4:03; Doan (N) elbowing, 7:01; Maaskant (E) delay of game, 14:45.

3rd Period — 2. Erie, Connor Brown 19 (Fox, Cairns), 14:05 (pp). 3. Erie, Sondre Olden 7 (Brown, Cairns), 19:16 (pp). Penalties — Kuhnhackl (N) slashing, 7:03; Shipley (N) slashing, 12:31; Graham (N) checking from behind, 18:36.

Shots on goal — Niagara, 21-24-17—62; Erie, 5-7-6—18.

Goaltenders — Niagara, Chris Festarini 11-10-0-0 (18 shots, 16 saves); Erie, Devin Williams 2-2-0-1 (62 shots, 61 saves).

Power plays — Niagara (1-4), Erie (2-6).

Referees — T.J. Foster, Craig Spada. Linesmen — R.J. King, Jesse Wilmot.

Attendance — 2,121.


Three stars

* Devin Williams, Otters (career-high 61 saves) ** Sondre Olden, Otters (GW goal) *** Luke Cairns, Otters (2 assists)


Posted: January 5th, 2012

The deals needed to be done.

GM Sherry Bassin needed to trade Greg McKegg, Brett Cook and Derek Holden in order t officially begin rebuilding the Erie Otters. None will be in the OHL next season.

It’s too early to know if third-year forward Dane Fox and second-year defenseman Troy Donnay will develop into the players that will help turn the Otters into contenders in the next couple of seasons. But the first step is done.

Fox is a proven young player who has averaged nearly a point per game in London (13 goals, 32 points in 34 games) this season. He arrives in Erie as the team’s leading scorer. Now he has to evolve into a frontline scorer on a team that will rely heavily on youth (Stephen Harper, Connor Brown, etc.) to produce offensively.

At 6 feet 7 inches and 183 pounds, Donnay should grow into an imposing presence with what should be decidedly greater ice time with the Otters. He has only 48 games of OHL experience to date.

But here’s the problem I have with the two deals the Otters made Thursday – Tyson Teichmann. What happens in goal?

Bassin traded 18-year-old defenseman Brady Austin to Belleville in August to acquire Teichmann. He was supposed to be in the future in net along with fellow 18-year-old Chris Festarini. They were entrenched enough to make overage goaltender Ramis Sadikov expendable – the same Sadikov who last season set a franchise record with 36 wins and nearly led the Otters past Windsor in the first round of the playoffs despite having a torn groin.

Festarini was traded to Niagara in October. Now Teichmann is in London. So barring an unforeseen deal, Sadikov is the team’s No. 1 goaltender for the rest of the season. Interest in Sadikov from other teams has waned. “We spent the better part of a month talking to some teams about Ramis,” said Dave Brown, Otters assistant manager of hockey operations.

But teams aren’t interested in a goaltender that fills precious OA and Import spots on a roster. Besides, 16-year-old backup Devin Williams has 18 minutes of OHL experience. That makes me think Bassin will dangle players like forwards Mike Cazzola and Sondre Olden in front of fellow GMs in hopes of landing a young goaltender to back up Sadikov this season and lead the way in net next season.

Either that, or Bassin heads a familiar route – the CHL Import Draft – for another Sadikov or Jaroslav Janus. Either way, the Otters need a proven goaltender next season to make this rebuild work. As Bassin always says, goaltending is 75 percent of the game. Unless you don’t have one, then it’s 100 percent. And right now, the Otters don’t have one.

- Victor Fernandes






Posted: October 26th, 2011

Former Erie Otters goaltender Chris Festarini shared his thoughts on last week’s trade and life with the Niagara IceDogs with Victor Fernandes before Wednesday night’s game at Tullio Arena.

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