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.
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Posts tagged ‘connor crisp’
Posted: September 28th, 2012

KINGSTON, Ontario – The Erie Otters’ power play nearly stole a win Friday night. But the defense gave it away.
The Otters opened a two-goal lead in the third behind three straight goals with the man advantage. But Kingston scored twice in the final period, and again 33 seconds into overtime, to hand the Otters a 6-5 loss in front of 2,616 at K-Rock Centre.
Darcy Greenaway scored on the only shot of the five-minute extra period to keep the Otters (1-2-1-0) from earning a second consecutive win on their three-game East Division road trip. Greenaway poked in a rebound when goaltender Devin Williams couldn’t cover the puck after it caromed off the end boards. The Frontenacs (2-0-0-0) forced overtime by erasing a 5-3 deficit on two goals from Billy Jenkins – his second and third of the game – less than three minutes apart midway through the period.
The Otters also rallied from a two-goal deficit earlier in the game. They scored on three straight power plays – Connor Crisp at the 6:49 mark, J.P. Labardo at 16:31 and Luke Cairns with 1:31 left – to take a 4-3 lead. Then Connor Brown scored his second goal of the game 3:26 into the third to hand the Otters a 5-3 lead. But the defense, which allowed at least 40 shots for the second straight night, couldn’t hold onto the lead. Williams allowed all six goals on 46 shots in his season debut.
Adam Pelech (three assists) and Labardo (goal, two assists) led the Otters with three points apiece. Brown and Stephen Harper (two assists) also had multi-point outings. Connor McDavid had an assist – his fifth point in his first four OHL games. The Otters complete the weekend trip against Ottawa today at 2 p.m. at Scotiabank Place, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.
Ryan Kujawinski and Warren Steele had three assists apiece for the Frontenacs. Colin Furlong earned the win in his OHL debut, as he stopped all five shots he faced in relief of starter Mike Morrison.

Posted: September 21st, 2012

LONDON, Ontario – Erie Otters rookie Connor McDavid encountered plenty of media attention in minor hockey. But it was nothing like what the highly touted No. 1 pick has faced since the OHL Priority Selection in the spring and, most recently, during the opening weekend of his OHL career.
“It’s been crazy. It’s going to take some getting used to,” said McDavid, who was asked for autographs by five people during the pre-game skate before Thursday’s season opener at Niagara. It’s no wonder he’s looking forward to the attention settling down as the season progresses.
However, he felt more comfortable before tonight’s game against London. “I’m forming into a routine,” he said.

* Behind the number: Overage center J.P. Labardo chose No. 22 on his sweater to show his appreciation to former Otters center Phil Varone – his close friend and mentor. They have been friends since Varone’s father taught them the finer points of power skating when they were kids.
Varone, now a Buffalo Sabres prospect, gave Labardo some advice after Thursday’s game in St. Catharines. “I don’t feel any pressure to wear that number,” Labardo said. “It’s an honor to wear it.”

* Showing his true self: Veteran forward Connor Crisp showed glimpses of his offensive skill during his one-goal performance Thursday. Now that he’s healthy, Crisp hopes to show more of his skill.
“I know I can put the puck in the net,” said Crisp, who was on a line with Labardo and Luke Cairns for the second straight game. “I know I can help those guys out.”

* Focused and ready: Rookie goaltender Oscar Dansk was a man of few words before tonight’s game. When asked to assess his performance in his OHL debut Thursday, he said, “Not good enough because we lost.” When asked what he wants to improve on tonight, he said, “Win.”

* News and notes: Dane Fox wrote on Twitter that he miss another six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery on his right foot. … Rookie defenseman Justin Felker made his OHL debut after being a healthy scratch in Thursday’s season opener at Niagara. … The Otters scratched defensemen Liam Maaskant and Travis Wood as well as winger Mitch Eisenberg (upper-body injury). … Jeff Paul, who played for the Niagara Falls Thunder/Erie Otters from 1994-99, is an assistant coach with the Knights. … Dale Hunter officially returned behind the Knights bench after coaching the NHL’s Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup playoffs a season ago. … London’s 2011-12 OHL championship banner was raised to the rafters in a pregame ceremony.

- Victor Fernandes

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 19th, 2012

Rookie goaltender Oscar Dansk didn’t practice with the Erie Otters the past few days. Instead, he skated with a group of Dave Brown‘s friends in St. Catharines, Ontario, while Dansk’s immigration paperwork was finalized.
His paperwork is complete, said Brown, Otters assistant manager of hockey operations. But will Dansk be ready to play in Thursday night’s season opener at Niagara? That will be determined before the game, coach Robbie Ftorek said today. Ftorek wants to evaluate Dansk before deciding on his starting goaltender against the IceDogs.
* Fox update: However, a decision on C Dane Fox (broken bone in left foot) already has been made. He won’t play this weekend. He has been recuperating at home in Thamesville, Ontario. So Ftorek won’t have a timetable on his return until after speaking with Fox this weekend.
If his foot is recovering well, Fox could return in another week or so. If his foot hasn’t progressed well, Ftorek said, “Who knows?” Meanwhile, forwards Connor Crisp and Jake Evans are banged, but Ftorek figures they will play Thursday. Yet Ftorek didn’t expect to finalize line combinations until after seeing both players skate at today’s practice.
* Olden waived: The club has placed overage LW Sondre Olden on waivers. Ftorek said club officials chose to keep rookie D Artem Kuleshov ahead of Olden for the second import spot because the Otters need depth on defense. Ftorek also has been impressed with Kuleshov’s play in practice.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: August 31st, 2012

The Erie Otters cut 5 more players from training camp today, leaving the roster at 28 heading into tonight’s preseason opener against Niagara at Morgan Firestone Arena in Ancaster, Ontario.
The latest cuts included 2011 draft picks Sean Darroch and Justin Maiolino, who had brief stints with the Otters last season, and free agents Aidan Muir, Sebastian Stangherlin and Lucas Venuto.
Here’s a list of the remaining players in camp:

Veterans: RW Nick Betz, RW Connor Brown, G Keinan Brown, C Luke Cairns, LW Anthony Cortellessa, C Connor Crisp, D Troy Donnay, C Mitch Eisenberg, C Jake Evans, C Dane Fox (injured), D Nathan Glass, LW Stephen Harper, D Liam Maaskant, LW Mac McDonnell, D Jimmy McDowell, RW Johnny McGuire, RW Sondre Olden (expected to join the team Monday), D Adam Pelech, G Devin Williams, D/LW Travis Wood

Prospects: G Oscar Dansk (signed), D Justin Felker (agreed to terms), RW Hayden Hodgson (agreed to terms), C Blake Jones, D Artem Kuleshov (unsigned, expected to join the team Monday), C Connor McDavid (signed), D Patrick Murphy (signed), C Kyle Pettit (signed)

Posted: August 25th, 2012

(subject to change)
Goaltenders (5)

Oscar Dansk – 2012 CHL Import Draft (1st round), 2012 NHL Entry Draft (Columbus, 2nd round)
Daniel DeKoning – 2012 OHL Priority Selection
Jake Ireland – 2012 OHL Priority Selection
Nate Miller – 2011 OHL Priority Selection (9th round; Millcreek Township native)
Devin Williams – Veteran

Left defense (9)
Kyle Allan – 2011 OHL Priority Selection (15th round)
Greg Allen – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (6th round)
Travis Dermott – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (9th round)
Justin Felker – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (2nd round)
Kris Grant – Veteran
Artem Kuleshov – 2012 CHL Import Draft (2nd round)
Adam Pelech – Veteran
Sebastian Stangherlin – Free-agent invite
Travis Wood – Veteran

Right defense (10)
Troy Donnay – Veteran
Nathan Glass – Veteran
Nathan Kohler – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (14th round)
Liam Maaskant – Veteran
Jimmy McDowell – Veteran
Patrick Murphy – 2011 OHL Priority Selection (5th round; played 9 games with Erie in 2011-12)
Darren Raddysh – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (5th round)
Riley Robertson – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (3rd round)
Troy Saunders – 2011 OHL Priority Selection (12th round)
Francesco Tolfa – Free-agent invite

Centers (9)
Luke Cairns – Veteran
Jake Evans – Veteran
Blake Jones – 2011 OHL Priority Selection (14th round)
Justin Maiolino – 2011 OHL Priority Selection (13th round; played 2 games with Erie in 2011-12)
Connor McDavid – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (No. 1 overall)
Mac McDonnell – Veteran
Aidan Muir – Free-agent invite
Kyle Petit – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (2nd round)
Bryan Sienerth – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (13th round; Millcreek Township native)

Left wing (10)
Anthony Cortellessa – Veteran
Connor Crisp – Veteran
Jordan Dunin – 2011 OHL Priority Selection (7th round)
Mitch Eisenberg – Veteran
Nathan Feric – Free-agent invite
Dane Fox – Veteran (fractured foot; not expected to participate in camp)
Stephen Harper – Veteran
Quentin Maksimovich – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (11th round)
Lucas Venuto – Free-agent invite
Kurt Wolff – Free-agent invite

Right wing (7)
Nick Betz – Veteran
Connor Brown – Veteran, 2012 NHL Entry Draft (Toronto, 6th round)
Sean Darroch – 2011 OHL Priority Selection (8th round; played 7 games with Erie in 2011-12)
Hayden Hodgson – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (3rd round)
Thomas Lattavo – 2012 OHL Priority Selection (6th round)
Johnny McGuire – Veteran
Sondre Olden – Veteran

Posted: April 29th, 2012

Erie Otters defenseman Adam Pelech headlined the winners as the sole owner of three awards at the team’s annual Awards Banquet held Sunday afternoon at the Bayfront Convention Center.

The second-year defenseman rebounded after an early-season injury and was a steady influence on the blue line, collecting 20 points in 44 games. Pelech took home Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year honors, joining Chris
as the only defensemen to be named as Player of the Year.

Pelech also won the Sertz Family Scholastic Award as the team’s top student-athlete for the second straight season. Earlier in the week, Pelech became the first player in OHL history to win the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award and the Bobby Smith Trophy and he also was part of a Team Canada squad that captured the bronze medal at the IIHF World Under-18 Championships.

Pelech’s Toronto Marlboros teammate Connor Brown won a pair of trophies after an excellent first season in the OHL with 53 points, second best among league rookies. Brown won the Most Sportsmanlike Player award and shared Rookie of the Year honors with Stephen Harper, who led 1995-born players with 24 goals this season.

For the first time in team history, five players were joint-winners of the Most Valuable Player award. In addition to Pelech, Brown and Harper, forwards Dane Fox and Luke Cairns also shared the trophy.

Other award winners from the Otters 17th Annual Awards Banquet included Fox (Leading Scorer), Cairns (Most Improved Player), Ramis Sadikov (Locastro-Bonini Three Star Award), Connor Crisp (Bassin Award for Dedication), Travis Wood and Jake Evans (co-winners of the Vince Scott Award for Determination) and Mac McDonnell (Steve Nimigon Humanitarian Award).

- From Erie Otters news release

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: March 10th, 2012

Kitchener Rangers (39-22-1-1) at Erie Otters (10-47-3-3)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Tullio Arena

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

Up next: vs. Guelph (Sunday, 4:30 p.m.), at Guelph (Wednesday, 7 p.m.)

Fast facts: Connor Crisp will play his first game of the season at forward. Crisp, who had been out since undergoing shoulder surgery in September, made his season debut as the emergency goaltender last Sunday at Niagara. … G Keinan Brown has joined the team on emergency loan from Peterborough. Brown, 19, who played three games for the Petes a season ago, had a 19-8-1-1 record, 3.47 goals-against average and .902 save percentage with Cobourg (Ontario Junior A Hockey League) this season. … Brown teams with G J.P Cesario, 18, who joined the team Wednesday on emergency loan from Owen Sound. The Otters are still without Gs Ramis Sadikov and Devin Williams, who are out with concussions. … Rookie D Travis Wood was released from a hospital late Wednesday night after tests were negative. Wood, who was injured in Wednesday’s loss to Plymouth, was set to undergo cognitive tests to determine the extent of his injury. … The Otters are assured of at least equaling the franchise record for fewest wins in a season. They trail the 2006-07 club (15 wins) by five wins with five games left. The 2006-07 team also holds the mark for most losses in regulation (50). … The Otters have clinched the No. 1 pick in the OHL Priority Selection next month. They also will have the No. 3 pick in the CHL Import Draft in June, behind the worst QMJHL and WHL clubs, respectively. … RW Connor Brown (24 goals, 26 assists, 50 points) and LW Stephen Harper (24-11-35) are tied for second with Kitchener C Radek Faksa (26-33-59) for the OHL’s rookie lead in goals. Brown ranks third in assists and second to Faksa in points among rookies. … RW Johnny McGuire begins serving a two-game suspension for his game misconduct (aggressor in a fight) Wednesday against Plymouth.

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: March 8th, 2012

Niagara C Alex Friesen won’t be suspended for his collision with Erie Otters G Ramis Sadikov in Sunday’s game, OHL vice president Ted Baker confirmed today.

Sadikov suffered an apparent concussion on the play 1 minute, 45 seconds into the game, which forced Otters forward Connor Crisp to enter the game as the emergency goaltender. Friesen received a major charging penalty and game misconduct, which prompted an automatic review by the league.

Yet Baker said league officials “felt it was more a collision as opposed to a player going out of his way to hit the goaltender.” Baker pointed to Sadikov being out of the crease. Baker also said Friesen was looking back at the play as he skated to the net.

In related news, Baker has seen Internet footage of Plymouth RW Tom Wilson‘s hit that injured Otters rookie D Travis Wood in the first period Wednesday at Tullio Arena.

Baker said the play doesn’t warrant an automatic review, since Wilson wasn’t penalized. But league commissioner David Branch plans to review the same Internet footage, and league officials have requested video of the play from the Otters, because Wood was injured and taken to the hospital. If deemed necessary, Baker said league officials will review the play for possible disciplinary action.

Wood was taken off the ice wearing a neck brace and on a backboard and transported to a local hospital. Wood, whose tests were negative, is listed as day-to-day. He was released from the hospital late Wednesday night. He will undergo cognitive tests in the next few days to determine the extent of his injury.

However, the league will conduct an automatic review of Otters RW Johnny McGuire‘s game misconduct Wednesday. He was penalized for being the aggressor in a fight with Wilson seconds after the faceoff that followed Wood’s injury. Baker said the league could issue their rulings as early as later today.

- Victor Fernandes