Erie Otters (15-24-3-5) at Kitchener Rangers (26-14-1-5)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Kitchener Memorial Auditorium – Kitchener, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Upcoming schedule: Saturday vs. Kitchener, 7 p.m.
What to expect: The Otters enter a home-and-home series with the Midwest Division rival Rangers trailing eighth-place Saginaw by 11 points in the chase for the final playoff spot in the OHL’s Western Conference. They are seven points behind No. 9 Windsor. … The Otters play 11 of their 21 games against division opponents – Kitchener (four times), London (three), Owen Sound (twice) and Guelph (twice). Those teams hold four of the top five spots in the conference standings. … The Rangers are third in the division and fourth in the conference. They are 17 points behind frontrunning London and six behind third-place Owen Sound. … The Otters and Rangers have split the first four games of the eight-game season series, with each team winning once at home and on the road. Erie won the past two meetings 6-2 and 4-3 in a shootout Dec. 14-15. … Otters officials are awaiting word from the league today on defenseman Adam Pelech, who could be suspended for his knee-on-knee hit against Saginaw LW Zach Bratina Wednesday night. Pelech received a five-minute kneeing penalty and game misconduct. … G Oscar Dansk (concussion) remains day to day. He hadn’t returned to practice as of Thursday. … Rookie C Connor McDavid has four goals in his last 14 games after totaling nine goals in 13 November games. However, he has 14 points in those past 14 games. He still leads the league’s rookie scoring race with 49 points, eight ahead of Sarnia RW Nikolay Goldobin. … The Rangers are 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 games. … The Rangers rank 16th in the league with 134 goals scored and 19th on the power play (16.1 percent). But they are third with 118 goals against and second on the penalty kill (85.4 percent). … G John Gibson, a Pittsburgh native, ranks among the league leaders with a 2.41 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. … LW Joshua Leivo ranks among the top 20 scorers with 52 points. … Frank Corrado joins Pelech (34 points) among the top 10 defensemen with 31 points.
- Victor Fernandes