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 ‘gemel smith’
Posted: January 2nd, 2014

Check out interviews with head coach Kris Knoblauch and C Michael Curtis following a 3-2 OT loss to Owen Sound tonight at Erie Insurance Arena – their first home loss in 20 games this season.

Erie Otters LW Dane Fox shared his secrets to success this season in this video interview…
Check out G prospect Daniel Dekoning‘s thoughts on his latest experience with the Otters…

* denotes starters



Devin Williams*
Daniel Dekoning

Scratches: G Oscar Dansk (World Juniors – Sweden), D Adam Pelech (WJC – Canada), RW Andre Burakovsky (WJC – Sweden), C Connor McDavid (WJC – Canada), C Dylan Strome (World Under-17s), LW Travis Wood (healthy)




Brandon Hope*
Jack Flinn

Scratches: RW Jaden Lindo, D Chris Bigras (World Juniors – Canada), LW Kyle Hope (suspension)

Referees: Joe Celestin, Korey Bannerman; Linesmen: Mike Harrington, Adam Harris

Owen Sound Attack (19-13-3-3) at Erie Otters (30-7-1-0)
When: Today and Saturday, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: at Barrie (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.), at Owen Sound (Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters snapped a season-high, three-game losing streak with a 4-0 home win against Kitchener on New Year’s Eve. … The Otters put their franchise-best, 19-game home winning streak on the line in this two-game series against the Midwest Division rival Attack. The Otters can equal the second-longest home streak in OHL history with a win tonight (St. Catharines Fincups, 20 in a row in the 1976-77 season), and then move into the No. 2 spot with a win Saturday. The record is 33 straight games set by Sault Ste. Marie in the 1984-85 season. … The Otters will play their final two games without G Oscar Dansk, D Adam Pelech and Fs Andre Burakovsky, Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome, who remain at international tournaments. … The Otters beat Owen Sound 3-2 in Erie on Oct. 9, one of six one-goal home wins this season. … RW Connor Brown (24 goals, 49 assists, 73 points) joins linemate Dane Fox (42-27-69) in having a strong chance to break the franchise record for points (Cory Pecker 99 in 2001-02). Brown also is on pace to break Zack Torquato‘s record of 62 assists in the 2009-10 season. … Head coach Kris Knoblauch said rookie D Cole Mayo, who made his OHL debut last Saturday, could play this weekend before rejoining his Tier II club. D Jesse Saban isn’t expected to play. C Trent Fox, another 2013 draft pick and Dane Fox’s younger brother, can’t play because he hasn’t signed with the club. … The Attack are sixth in the Western Conference. … C Gemel Smith, a Dallas Stars prospect, leads the way with 25 goals and 44 points. … Brandon Hope leads the Attack in goal with an 18-8-2-1 record, 2.97 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and one shutout.
- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 9th, 2013

Owen Sound Attack (3-3-0-1) at Erie Otters (3-2-1-0)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: at Kitchener (Friday, 7:30 p.m.), vs. Saginaw (Saturday, 7 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters look to win their second straight home game after beating North Bay 8-4 in their home opener this past Saturday night. They won back-to-back home games only twice in the past two seasons, and never won more than two in a row in that time. … RW Connor Brown is tied for fourth in the OHL with 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists). LW Dane Fox also ranks among the top 20 with nine points (5 goals, 4 assists)… The Otters rank eighth in the league with 22 goals against. … LW Andre Burakovsky had a career-high five points (goal, 4 assists) in his home debut. … RW Joel Wigle (shoulders) is expected to make his season debut after being medically cleared. … He joins rookie C Dylan Strome and LW Stephen Harper on the third line. Harper rejoins the lineup after serving a one-game suspension. … The top two lines – Burakovsky-Connor McDavid-Brown and Fox-Michael Curtis-Hayden Hodgson remain intact. … The Otters have the league’s top power play at 41.7 percent (10-for-24) following a 3-for-3 outing against North Bay. They capitalized on a No. 1 unit featuring Brown, Burakovsky, Fox, McDavid and D Adam Pelech. … D Cory Genovese serves the second game of his five-game suspension. … Attack C Gemel Smith, a Dallas Stars prospect, leads the league with 10 goals and 14 points. … The Attack have scored 27 goals in seven games (3.9 per game) but allowed 33 goals (4.7 per game).

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: November 3rd, 2012

Owen Sound turned a one-goal game into a rout in rapid-fire fashion.
The Attack scored four goals in a span of 2 minutes, 50 seconds early in the third period to pull away to a 6-1 win against the reeling Erie Otters in front of 2,702 at Erie Insurance Arena Saturday night. The Otters (4-10-1-2) head to Mississauga Sunday for a 2 p.m. game with a four-game losing streak. Connor Brown scored the lone goal for the Otters. Daniel Catenacci and Gemel Smith had a goal and two assists apiece for the Attack (12-2-0-2). The frontline duo combined for six goals and eight assists in the two-game sweep.
Owen Sound dominated from start to finish in the opening period, as they outshot the Otters 15-4 and took a 1-0 lead with 6:03 left on Kurtis MacDermid’s first OHL goal. The young defenseman’s seemingly innocent shot from the blue line slipped through a crowd and through Otters goaltender Oscar Dansk. Yet the Otters played a more spirited brand of hockey in the second, sparked by a power play that entered the game ranked fourth in the league at 26.9 percent. Brown scored off a rebound of Adam Pelech’s point shot – the captain’s seventh goal in the past five games and team-leading 13th of the season – to tie the score at 1 at the 7:18 mark.
But the Attack responded on the power play, with Cameron Brace firing a slap shot from the blue line off the left post and into the net – his 13th goal of the season – to snap the tie with 8:38 left in the period. The Otters finished the period with a 12-10 advantage in shots.
Then the Attack built a two-goal lead at 3-1 with the man advantage, as Smith was left open on the back post for a rebound goal 4:10 into the third period. His ninth goal of the season sparked the decisive stretch of four unanswered goals in less than three minutes.
Holden Cook bounced a shot from behind the net off Dansk’s pads and into the net for an unassisted goal and a 4-1 lead at the 5:55 mark of the period. Off the ensuing faceoff, Catenacci scored his 11th of the season 16 seconds later for a 5-1 Attack lead.
Then Gilbert Gabor turned into a 2-on-1 into a 6-1 Attack lead at the 7-minute mark. At that point, Owen Sound had more goals in the period (four) than the Otters had shots on goal (three). The Attack finished with a 40-22 advantage in shots.
Dansk stopped 34-of-40 shots in a losing effort, while rookie Connor McDavid’s 15-game point streak ended. He failed to record a point for the first time since the season opener Sept. 20 against Niagara. Brandon Hope stopped 21-of-22 shots to win for the Attack.
Meanwhile, 11 players recorded points for the Attack, which remained one point ahead of Barrie for the top spot in the league.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: November 2nd, 2012

Connor Brown and Connor McDavid continued their impressive offensive play Friday night. But that wasn’t enough to keep the Erie Otters from their third straight loss, 6-3, to Western Conference-leading Owen Sound in front of 2,395 at Erie Insurance Arena.
Brown scored two goals, giving five goals in the past three games and a team-leading 12 on the season, and McDavid added a goal and assist for the Otters (4-9-1-2). But Daniel Catenacci and Gemel Smith had two goals and two assists apiece for the Attack (11-2-0-2), while Jordan Binnington stopped 20-of-23 shots for his eighth win in nine tries (8-0-0-1) against the Otters.
The Attack jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, as Holden Cook scored unassisted from in close 1:27 into the opening period. Then Jaden Lindo fired a wrist slot from the right wing past Otters goaltender Oscar Dansk at the 8:08 mark to build a two-goal lead.
However, Brown’s consecutive power-play goals – his 11th and 12th goals of the season, as well as fourth and fifth in the past three games – allowed the Otters to overcome a sluggish start and erase that deficit. Brown flipped a bad-angle shot from the corner off Binnington and inside the left post to move the Otters within 2-1 with 8:44 left in the period.
McDavid’s pinpoint pass to Brown in front tied the score at 2 with 5:59 left in the period. McDavid extended his point streak to 15 straight games. He has points in 15 of his first 16 career games. Yet the more experienced Attack gained momentum through their aggressive, attacking style. Owen Sound outshot the Otters 20-3 in the period, including Smith’s rebound in close with 4:11 left in the period that snapped the 2-2 tie. Dansk (32 saves on 38 shots) made several key saves, including on a shorthanded breakaway moments after the Attack took the lead. Owen Sound also began the third with 1:33 left on a power play. But moments after coming out of the penalty box, McDavid stole the puck at the Otters’ blue line and scored on an end-to-end rush to the the score at 3 at the 1:55 mark.
Yet the Attack responded quickly to take a 4-3 lead, as Catenacci scored on a rebound in front 1:05 after McDavid’s goal. Then Catenacci’s second goal of the night and 10th of the season, scored with 8:28 left, handed the Attack a two-goal lead. The Attack sealed the win on Smith’s second goal of the game with 4:17 left.
* News and notes: Troy Donnay left the game after appearing to block a shot with his right foot. His status for tonight’s game against the Attack is unknown. Adam Pelech was able to play Friday despite a bruised left ankle suffered while blocking shots in consecutive games last weekend. … Otters coach Robbie Ftorek altered his top two lines by moving Luke Cairns to the wing alongside McDavid and Brown on the No. 1 line and putting J.P. Labardo in between Connor Crisp and rookie Hayden Hodgson on the second line.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 18th, 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 Western Conference’s Midwest Division (listed in alphabetical order):

Erie Otters
Coach/GM: Robbie Ftorek/Sherry Bassin
2011-12 finish: 10-52-3-3, 5th division, 10th conference
Playoff finish: Did not qualify
Key players: C Connor McDavid (No. 1 pick in 2012 OHL Priority Selection; 33 goals, 39 assists, 72 points in 33 games with Toronto Marlboros minor midget), G Oscar Dansk (No. 3 pick in 2012 CHL Import Draft; 2.82 goals-against average, .910 save percentage in 28 games with Brynas in Sweden), C Dane Fox (23-31-54), RW Connor Brown (25-28-53; Toronto prospect), LW Stephen Harper (24-11-35)
Key losses: G Ramis Sadikov (6-23-3-2, 4.26, .894)
Outlook: The highly anticipated McDavid era begins in Erie, but this team has other promising players at every position. Now these young Otters have to learn how to win after enduring the worst record in franchise history a season ago.

Guelph Storm
Coach/GM: Scott Walker/Mike Kelly
2011-12 finish: 31-31-2-4, 4th division, 7th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Plymouth 4-2 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: RW Zack Mitchell (37-38-75), G Garret Sparks (27-25-1-3, 3.11, .907, 5 SO; Toronto prospect), RW Cody McNaughton (25-24-49), RW Scott Kosmachuk (30-29-59; Winnipeg prospect), D Andrey Pedan (10-30-40; N.Y. Islanders prospect)
Key losses: C Francis Menard (24-36-60; traded to Peterborough)
Outlook: The Storm are ready to take the next step in this always competitive conference. They play solid defense, led by Sparks in goal and Pedan on the blue line, and they have skill up front in Kosmachuk, Mitchell and McNaughton.

Kitchener Rangers
Coach/GM: Steve Spott
2011-12 finish: 42-24-1-1, 2nd division, 3rd conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-0 in conference finals
Key players: RW Tobias Rieder (42-43-85; Edmonton prospect), D Ryan Murphy (11-43-54, +14; signed with Carolina), C Radek Faksa (29-37-66; signed with Dallas), LW Matt Puempel (34-35-69; acquired from Peterborough, signed with Ottawa), G John Gibson (21-10-0-0, 2.75, .928, 1 SO; signed with Anaheim)
Key losses: C Michael Catenacci (25-44-69), C Andrew Crescenzi (24-23-37; signed with Toronto)
Outlook: The Rangers are a perennial contender in the conference, and they made sure this season was no different with the acquisition of Puempel from Peterborough. Expect the Rangers to be near, if not at, the top of the West in 2012-13.

London Knights
Coach/GM: Dale Hunter/Mark Hunter
2011-12 finish: 49-18-0-1; 1st division, 1st conference
Playoff finish: Won league championship, lost to Shawinigan (QMJHL) in Memorial Cup final
Key players: RW Seth Griffith (45-40-85, Boston prospect), D Scott Harrington (3-23-26, +26; signed with Pittsburgh), D Olli Maatta (5-27-32, +25; signed with Pittsburgh; C Max Domi (21-28-49), C Ryan Rupert (17-31-48)
Key losses: Michael Houser (46-15-0-1, 2.47, .925, 6 SO; signed with Florida), C Greg McKegg (31-44-75; former Otter, signed with Toronto), C Vladislav Namestnikov (30-39-69; signed with Tampa Bay), RW Jared Knight (25-45-70; signed with Boston), C Austin Watson (25-43-68; signed with Nashville)
Outlook: Dale Hunter returns behind the Knights’ bench after leading the NHL’s Washington Capitals to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last season. He has work to do if the Knights are to recapture the success they enjoyed in 2011-12.

Owen Sound Attack
Coach/GM: Greg Ireland/Dale DeGray
2011-12 finish: 32-29-304, 3rd division, 6th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Kitchener 4-1 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: G Jordan Binnington (21-17-0-1, 2.99, .906, 1 SO; signed with St. Louis), C Daniel Catenacci (33-39-72; signed with Buffalo), C Gemel Smith (21-39-60; Dallas prospect), C Cameron Brace (29-27-56), D Keevin Cutting (7-18-25, +20)
Key losses: LW Mike Halmo (40-45-85; signed with N.Y. Islanders), D Jay Gilbert (10-23-33, +8)
Outlook: The Attack lost a 40-goal scorer in Halmo, but they have enough talent from back to front to make a run in the conference. But they need to be more consistent after tailing off late last season and losing in the first round of the playoffs.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: April 20th, 2012

BRNO, Czech Republic – Erie Otters defenseman Adam Pelech has to settle for a chance to win a bronze medal at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship. Canada lost to the undefeated United States 2-1 Friday in the semifinals, setting up a third-place matchup against Finland on Sunday at 6 a.m. The U.S. will face unbeaten Sweden, a 7-3 semifinal winner against Finland, for the gold medal Sunday at 10 a.m.
Pelech had no points, one shot on goal and two penalty minutes against the U.S. He has no points, eight shots and eight penalty minutes in six games at the tournament. Owen Sound’s Gemel Smith scored Canada’s lone goal, which tied the score at 1 late in the first period. The U.S. scored the winning goal 6 minutes, 26 seconds into the third against Sault Ste. Marie’s Matt Murray, stopped 25 of 27 shots.

Posted: April 12th, 2012

BRNO, Czech Republic – Erie Otters defenseman Adam Pelech and Canada opened the IIHF World Under-18 Championship with a 6-1 win Thursday against Denmark. Pelech, an assistant captain, had no points, two shots on goal and two penalty minutes.
Windsor’s Kerby Rychel had a goal and assist for Canada, which returns to action Saturday at 10 a.m. against Finland. Oshawa’s Scott Laughton and Owen Sound’s Gemel Smith had a goal apiece. Sault Ste. Marie goaltender Matt Murray stopped 15-of-16 shots.

Posted: February 7th, 2012

Owen Sound Attack (23-21-3-4) at Erie Otters (7-38-3-1)

When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Tullio Arena

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

Up next: at Saginaw (Friday, 7:11 p.m.), at Windsor (Saturday, 7:05 p.m.)

Fast facts: The Otters fell short of their first three-game winning streak of the season in a 3-0 home loss to Saginaw on Saturday. … The Otters have been shut out four times this season. But they scored 14 goals in the two games before the loss to the Spirit. … The Otters, which have allowed an OHL-worst 235 goals, have surrendered three goals or fewer in six of their last 10 games. … The Otters are 29 points out of the Western Conference’s final playoff spot with 18 games left. Any combination of Erie losses and wins by Guelph or Sault Ste. Marie totaling eight points would eliminate the Otters from contention. … RW Connor Brown (18 goals, 35 points in 49 games) ranks second among OHL rookies in goals and third in points. … LW Stephen Harper (16-5-21) is tied for third on the rookie goal-scoring list and among the top 20 in points. … C Dane Fox (20-23-43 in 45 games) has points in seven of 11 games since being acquired from London last month. He has seven goals and 11 points in 11 games overall. … RW Johnny McGuire (hand) and D/RW Tyler McCarthy (ill) rejoined the lineup last weekend after missing eight and six games, respectively. … LW Anthony Cortellessa (sore back muscle) missed both of last weekend’s games. … The Attack are tied with Saginaw for fifth in the West, six points ahead of eighth-place Guelph and Sault Ste. Marie. … They have won four straight against the Otters since a 7-5 loss in the series opener Oct. 7. … LW Mike Halmo (33-33-66 in 51 games) ranks third in the league in goals. He has nearly matched his combined total from the previous three seasons (36 goals in 181 games). … C Gemel Smith (20-25-45) ranks among the top 20 North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm list. … C Jarrod Maidens (12-11-23 in 28 games) hasn’t played since Nov. 30 reportedly because of concussion-like symptoms. He is ranked 21st among North American skaters.

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: January 11th, 2012

Third-year forward Dane Fox and second-year defenseman Adam Pelech headline five Erie Otters named to NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings for the NHL Entry Draft in June.

Fox, 18, who was acquired along with second-year defenseman Troy Donnay from London last week, stands 48th among North American skaters. Pelech, 17, is six spots back at No. 54. Rookie winger Connor Brown, 17, stands at No. 85. Donnay, 17, and rookie defenseman Liam Maaskant, 17, are Nos. 115 and 134, respectively.

Former Otters winger Chris Marchese, who was traded to Windsor for winger Anthony Cortellessa last month, stands at No. 97. Center Drake Caggiula, the Otters’ third-round pick in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection, is at No. 197. He plays for Stouffville in the Ontario Junior A Hockey League and has committed to the University of North Dakota.

Sarnia winger Nail Yakupov ranks first overall among North American skaters. The OHL has eight other skaters among the top 20 – Kitchener C Radek Faksa (No. 4), London D Olli Maatta (No. 6), Belleville C Brendan Gaunce (No. 11), Guelph D Matthew Finn (No. 15), Ottawa D Cody Ceci (No. 16), Peterborough D Slater Koekkoek (No. 17), Belleville LW Daniil Zharkov (No. 19) and Owen Sound C Gemel Smith (No. 20). Belleville’s Malcolm Subban ranks first among North American goaltenders.

Check out the complete lists on, including the top European goaltenders. Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, has said the 2012 CHL Import Draft in June features goaltenders that could be selected in the first round of the NHL draft.

Bassin likely will focus on the CHL draft to find a goaltender to replace overager Ramis Sadikov next season. Rookie backup Devin Williams, who has played 18 minutes in his brief OHL career, is currently the most experienced prospect in the organization.