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 ‘J.P. Labardo’
Posted: September 20th, 2013

The Erie Otters had a chance to steal their season opener against a strong Guelph club in a difficult setting – the Storm’s home opener.
The Otters had three one-goal leads…and all three leads disappeared. Yes, it’s only one game. And yes, they were missing key players in Andre Burakovsky (NHL camp), Hayden Hodgson (suspension), Travis Dermott (suspension) and Joel Wigle (shoulders). But this team is going to play a lot of these kinds of games – close games against tough teams where a play or two make the difference between winning and losing – especially in the Midwest Division,
They need to find a way to put these games away. That will lead to key wins and, just as importantly, the belief they can win these games. That will go a long way toward turning this team filled with potential into a winner.
A couple more things…Michael Curtis continues to show he can fill the role held by J.P. Labardo a season ago…1st- round pick Dylan Strome made his OHL debut as a third-line winger alongside Kyle Pettit and Travis Wood. He’s a natural center, but so was Ryan O’Reilly when he played wing in his rookie season with the Otters. Strome is a talented center in the making.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: February 20th, 2013

Erie Otters (17-33-3-5) at Windsor Spitfires (22-28-1-6)
When: Thursday, 7:05 p.m.
Where: WFCU Centre – Windsor, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Upcoming schedule: Friday at Sarnia, 7:05 p.m., Sunday vs. Kingston, 2 p.m.
What to expect: The Otters would be eliminated from OHL playoff contention for the second straight season and sixth time since the 2001-02 league championship season with a loss in regulation, overtime or shootout tonight. … The Otters are on pace to earn the No. 2 pick in the OHL Priority Selection. They have the second-worst record in the league, behind only Ottawa, which entered Wednesday night’s game at Belleville with a 15-38-0-4 mark. Peterborough stands third worst at 20-30-3-4. … The Otters are expected to play without captain Connor Brown because of a head injury suffered in Monday’s loss at London. The second-year winger, who leads the team with 26 goals, 40 assists and 66 points, has played in every game – 126 in all – since joining the club a season ago. … League officials will announce today if D Adam Pelech will be suspended for a five-minute, cross-checking penalty and game misconduct against the Knights. League vice president Ted Baker didn’t rule out suspending Pelech indefinitely if more time is needed for the review. Pelech was suspended indefinitely before being issued a four-game ban less than a month ago for a five-minute kneeing penalty and game misconduct Jan. 23 against Saginaw. … C Connor McDavid (24-31-55) holds a three-point lead over Sarnia RW Nikolay Goldobin (24-28-52) in the league’s rookie scoring race. Brampton LW Blake Clarke (18-27-45) trails McDavid by 10 points. … J.P. Labardo (20-34-54) has scored 20 goals in a season for the first time in his five-year OHL career. … The Otters lost the first two meetings with the Spitfires by a goal – 2-1 in Windsor Oct. 18 and 3-2 two nights later at Erie Insurance Arena. They meet for the final time March 2 in Erie. … Windsor has lost five straight games and eight of its last 10 to fall 11 points behind Saginaw in the race for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. Any combination of Windsor losses, as well as Spirit wins in regulation, overtime and shootouts, totaling 12 points would eliminate the Spitfires from contention. … The Spitfires rank near the bottom of the league with 169 goals scored and 221 goals against. … RW Kerby Rychel, son of Spitfires vice president and general manager Warren Rychel, ranks among the league leaders with 33 goals and 69 points. … C Alexander Khokhlachev has 13 goals and 28 points in 18 games since leaving the Kontinental Hockey League in his native Russia to rejoin the Spitfires. … RW Josh Ho-Sang, McDavid’s former teammate with the Toronto Marlboros and the fifth pick in the 2012 OHL draft, has 11 goals and 37 points in 52 games.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: February 18th, 2013

LONDON, Ontario – The London Knights made sure the Erie Otters had no chance to win Monday afternoon.
The Knights scored twice in the opening four minutes of a three-goal first period, and added five more in the third, on the way to beating the Otters 8-1 in front of 9,046 fans at Budweiser Gardens. The defeat moved the Otters (17-33-3-5) closer to official OHL playoff elimination.
Any combination of Otters losses, as well as Saginaw Spirit wins and overtime defeats, totaling three points officially ends Erie’s postseason hopes. That number could shrink to one if the Spirit beat Windsor tonight. Meanwhile, London (41-12-2-2) set out to avenge a 4-3 loss to the Otters Friday night at Erie Insurance Arena.
The Knights took control from the outset, as Bo Horvat scored the opening goal 50 seconds into the game and Josh Anderson followed at the 4:09 maek of the period. J.P. Labardo sliced that lead in half 45 seconds later. The overage forward recorded the first 20-goal season of his five-year OHL career. But London regained a two-goal lead at 3-1 on Max Domi‘s power-play score with 2:30 left in the period.
After a scoreless second period, the Knights capitalized three times on a five-minute power play, including a 5-on-3 chance for two minutes, to spark a five-goal third. The Otters were left short-handed by a series of penalties early in the period , including a major cross-checking infraction and game misconduct against defenseman Adam Pelech. Domi scored his second of three goals at the 3:45 mark, followed by Matt Rupert‘s goal 20 seconds later. Then Nikita Zadorov scored 7:09 into the period to open a 6-1 Knights’ lead.
Domi capped his hat trick, and Alex Broadhurst also scored, to cap the stretch of five unanswered goals in less than seven minutes. Otters goaltender Oscar Dansk allowed the first seven goals on 33 shots before being replaced by Devin Williams, who stopped five of six shots.
Domi finished with four points for the Knights, while Horvat, Zadorov and Matt Rupert had a goal and assist apiece.

Posted: February 17th, 2013

Erie Otters at (17-32-3-5) at London Knights (39-12-2-2)
When: Today, 2 p.m.
Where: Budweiser Gardens – London, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Upcoming schedule: Thursday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.; Friday at Sarnia, 7:05 p.m.
What to expect: The Otters have split the first four games of the six-game season series with the Midwest Division rival Knights, including a 4-3 win at Erie Insurance Arena Friday night. They meet for the final time March 13 in Erie. … The Otters are five points away from being officially eliminated from playoff contention. Any combination of Otters losses and Saginaw wins/overtime losses totaling five points will end Erie’s postseason hopes. … The Otters are on pace to earn the No. 2 pick in the OHL Priority Selection. They have the second-worst record in the league, behind only Ottawa (15-37-0-4). Peterborough stands third worst at 20-29-3-4. … C Connor McDavid (24 goals, 30 assists, 54 points) holds a three-point lead over Sarnia RW Nikolay Goldobin (24-27-51) in the league’s rookie scoring race. Brampton LW Blake Clarke (18-25-43) trails McDavid by 11 points. … RW Connor Brown set a new single-season career high with his 26th goal of the season in a 4-2 loss to Kitchener Saturday night. He already has new career highs with 40 assists and 66 points. … C J.P. Labardo needs one goal for the first 20-goal season of his five-year OHL career. His 34 assists and 53 points nearly equal his totals from the previous four seasons. … C Luke Cairns (10-28-38) has set a new career best in assists and points. … F Dane Fox (12-16-28 in 28 games) has averaged a point per game since returning from a foot injury. He had two goals and an assist Friday against the Knights, his former team. … D Jimmy McDowell has 12 goals this season, four more than in his previous three seasons. He ranks among the league’s top goal-scoring defensemen. … G Oscar Dansk stopped 75-of-81 shots the past two games after allowing 16 goals on his previous 106 shots. … Rookie D Darren Raddysh has played 14 games as an affiliated player, although nine count toward the total of 10 allowed by league rules. He has been a healthy scratch the past two games. … The Knights snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 win at Niagara Sunday. … They remain nine points ahead of Barrie by in the race for the league’s regular-season championship and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. … The Knights are playing without RW Seth Griffith (33-49-82), who is reportedly out with a broken hand. … Rookie G Anthony Stolarz stopped 40-of-41 shots against the IceDogs after making 29 saves on 31 shots in relief of starter Jake Patterson Friday in Erie. … The Knights are 8-9 since posting a 24-game winning streak, which fell one shy of tying the CHL record. … They lead the league with 229 goals scored.

- Victor Fernandes

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: January 25th, 2013

KITCHENER, Ontario – The Erie Otters’ postseason hopes continued to slip away Friday night.
Kitchener’s three-goal second period sent the Otters to a 5-1 loss in front of 7,294 fans at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.
Meanwhile, Saginaw and Windsor won Friday, leaving the Otters 13 points behind the eighth-place Spirit and nine behind No. 9 Windsor in the race for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot heading into today’s 7 p.m. rematch with the Rangers at Erie Insurance Arena.
The Otters (15-25-3-5), which have 20 games left in the regular season, have lost three straight games and six of their last seven. In the latest defeat, the Otters played the Rangers (27-14-1-5) to a scoreless tie. But rookie Justin Bailey‘s goal 46 seconds into the second period, and Tobias Rieder‘s goal 1 minute, 5 seconds later, sparked Kitchener’s run to a 3-0 lead. Ryan Murphy also scored midway through the period.
The Otters hoped to mount a comeback following J.P. Labardo‘s 16th goal of the season 3:02 into the third period. But Matia Marcantuoni scored at the 7:05 mark to regain the Rangers’ three-goal lead. Derek Schoenmakers capped the scoring with 2:29 left.
Devin Williams stopped 41-of-46 shots in a losing effort for the Otters, while Joel Vienneau made 31 saves on 32 shots for the Rangers.
Luke Cairns had an assist for the Otters. Murphy led Kitchener with a goal and two assists, while Ben Thomson had two assists. Otters defenseman Adam Pelech was given an indefinite suspension for his knee-on-knee hit against Saginaw’s Zach Bratina Wednesday. The league hasn’t issued an official ruling.

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: October 26th, 2012

Connor Brown recorded his first career hat trick, and eight teammates also recorded points. But the Erie Otters couldn’t hold onto an early three-goal lead, as they lost to Sault Ste. Marie 6-5 in a shootout in front of 2,196 at Erie Insurance Arena Friday night.
Andrew Fritsch scored the winning goal in the fourth round of the shootout for the Greyhounds (8-7-0-0). J.P. Labardo had three assists and scored the lone shootout goal for the Otters (4-7-1-2), which lost for the second time in three shootouts this season. Darnell Nurse scored two goals and Nick Cousins had three assists for the Greyhounds.
The No. 1 line of captain Brown, No. 1 pick Connor McDavid and overager Labardo sparked the Otters’ surge to a 3-0 second-period lead. Brown recorded a natural hat trick – his team-leading eighth, ninth and 10th goals of the season. Labardo assisted on all three goals while McDavid had an assist to extend his point streak to 13 straight games.
Brown scored on the power play off assists from McDavid and Labardo to snap the scoreless tie 9:07 into the game. Brown scored again on the power play, this time from Adam Pelech and Labardo, five minutes later to send the Otters into the second period with a 2-0 lead. Brown completed the natural hat trick – his first OHL hat trick – on a rebound of Labardo’s shot 48 seconds into the second.
The Greyhounds sliced Erie’s lead to 3-2 with two second-period goals – from Nurse at 4:03 and Nick Halagian with 7:52 left.
Connor Crisp redirected Spencer Abraham’s shot past goaltender Matt Murray for a 4-2 Otters’ lead with 5:50 left in the period. But the Greyhounds responded by scoring twice early in the third to tie the score at 4. Former Otter David Broll scored from in front to pull the Greyhounds within a goal at 4-3 at the 2:15 mark. Colin Miller‘s first goal of the season, scored on the power play, tied the score at 4 at the 5:45 mark, only to have the Otters regain the lead with their third power-play goal of the night.
Stephen Harper scored on assist from Luke Cairns to give the Otters a 5-4 lead with 11:37 left. Yet the Greyhounds rallied again to tie it at 5 with 6:25 left on Nurse’s second goal of the game. Then the Greyhounds rebounded from an early deficit in the shootut to claim the win.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 24th, 2012

The Erie Otters hadn’t enjoyed a game like this for a long time.
“It feels good,” veteran winger J.P. Labardo said after a 7-1 win against Saginaw in front of 2,083 at Erie Insurance Arena Wednesday night. Since the rebuilding process began a season ago, the Otters (4-7-1-1) have found themselves on the wrong end of blowouts.
And for the most part, Erie has encountered tightly contested games this season. Yet after a slow opening few minutes against the Spirit (4-7-2-0), the Otters exploded offensively, especially on special teams, while clamping down on Saginaw’s dangerous offense.
The Otters scored three times apiece in the first and second periods, headlined by two power-play goals and a pair of short-handed scores, on the way to the franchise’s largest margin of victory since a 10-3 win in Kingston Feb. 13, 2011. The Otters also scored their most goals in a game since an 8-7 shootout loss to the Spirit March 2, 2012. They entered the game averaging 2.9 goals per game.
Luke Cairns led the way with a goal and two assists. Labardo scored twice while Connor Crisp (goal, assist), Jimmy McDowell (goal, assist) and Adam Pelech (two assists) had two points apiece. Meanwhile, Oscar Dansk stopped 34-of-35 shots, and was headed to his first OHL shutout until Jimmy Lodge’s power-play goal with 1 minute, 32 seconds left in the game.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 20th, 2012

The Erie Otters rallied from a goal down twice against the Windsor Spitfires Saturday night.
But the Otters didn’t have one more rally in them in the third period, as they lost 3-2 in front of 2,652 fans at Erie Insurance Arena.
Connor McDavid and Jimmy McDowell scored for the Otters (3-7-1-1), while Connor Brown had two assists. Kerby Rychel scored twice for the Spitfires (6-4-0-3), including the winning goal on the power play with 6 minutes, 57 seconds left in the second period.
Windsor scored twice on five power-play chances on the way to outshooting the Otters 39-19. They also neutralized Erie’s top line of McDavid, Brown and J.P. Labardo in the final two periods behind the line of Brady Vail, Ben Johnson and Derek Schoenmakers.
However, defense was optional in the first period, as these teams traded four goals in rapid-fire fashion during a 10-minute stretch.
Schoenmakers scored on the power play off assists from Nick Ebert and Vail at the 6:02 mark to hand the Spitfires the early lead. The Otters responded on the power play three minutes later, as McDowell scored his first goal of the season on assists from Adam Pelech and Brown. Windsor regained the lead at 2-1 on Rychel’s first of two goals – his seventh and eighth of the season – with 8:57 left in the period. Then McDavid tied the score at 2 – and tied Brown for the team lead in goals with six – at the 15:54 mark. McDavid has points in 10 straight games and 10-of-11 overall. He leads all OHL rookies with 14 pointrs in 12 games.
Defenses clamped down in the second period. Windsor held the Otters to four shots on goal in the period and 10 through the first 40 minutes. Meanwhile, the Otters’ penalty kill stymied the Spitfires during a four-minute power play early in the middle period.
But the Spitfires snapped the 2-2 tie on Rychel’s second goal with 7:57 left in the period, once again with assists from former Otters winger Chris Marchese and 2012 first-round pick Josh Ho-Sang. Windsor held the Otters at bay the rest of the way, although Erie had several quality chances in the third period and pressured the Spitfires in the game’s waning moments. Jaroslav Pavelka stopped 17-of-19 shots for the Spitfires. Devin Williams made 36 saves in a losing effort for the Otters.

- Victor Fernandes

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