BRAMPTON, Ontario – The Ramis Sadikov era began in grand style for the Erie Otters.
Sadikov, a second-year goaltender and full-time starter for the first time, stopped 46-of-47 shots in a 5-1 season-opening win against Brampton in front of 2,967 at Powerade Centre on Friday night.
Sadikov fell 1 minutes, 38 seconds short of recording his first Ontario Hockey League shutout. Rookie Dylan Blujus, a Buffalo native, scored on the power play to end Sadikov’s shutout bid.
Until that goal, Sadikov was unbeatable, especially in the first period. He stopped all 17 shots – 10 more than his Battalion counterpart Jacob Riley faced in the period. The Otters were outshot 47-29.
Sadikov kept the Otters (1-0-0-0) in contention. Early in the second, the penalty kill snapped the scoreless tie, as Mike Cazzola turned Shawn Szydlowski’s pass into a short-handed goal at the 1:45 mark.
The Otters broke the game open midway through the second, as Mitch Gaulton and Anthony Luciani scored 39 seconds apart for a 3-0 lead. Brett Appio’s goal 2:26 into the third extended the lead for 4-0.
David Broll’s goal with 16 seconds left, the Otters’ second power-play goal of the game, capped the scoring in Erie’s first regulation win in Brampton (0-1-0-0) since Nov. 16, 2003.
Broll led the Otters with a goal and two assists, the first three-point outing of his OHL career. Szydlowski (two assists) and Cazzola (goal, assist) had two points apiece.
But opening night belonged to Sadikov, who began this season with 25 games of OHL experience. He spent most of his rookie year backing up former Otters Jaroslav Janus and Adam Courchaine. He set a career high for saves, topping his 42-save effort in an overtime loss to Owen Sound on Nov. 22, 2009.
Otters 5, Battalion 1
Erie 0 3 2 — 5
Brampton 0 0 1 — 1
1st Period — 1. None. Penalties — Appio (E) slashing, 8:21; O’Neil (B) slashing, 8:21; Cook (E) 4-min. roughing, 19:51; Jones (B) roughing, 19:51.
2nd Period — 1. Erie, Mike Cazzola 1 (Szydlowski), 1:45 (sh). 2. Erie, Mitch Gaulton 1 (Broll, Szydlowski), 11:21 (pp). 3. Erie Anthony Luciani 1 (Cazzola, Pelech), 12:00. Penalties — Tankeev (E) hooking, 4:31; Lane (B) cross checking, 9:58; Szydlowski (E) slashing, 15:11.
3rd Period — 4. Erie, Brett Appio 1 (Marchese, Broll), 2:26. 5. Brampton, Dylan Blujus (unassisted), 18:22 (pp). 6. Erie, David Broll 1 (Grant), 19:44 (pp). Penalties — Abraham (B) holding, 11:02; Appio (E) elbowing, 16:27; Wind (B) roughing, 16:27; Cook (E) high sticking, 17:14; Brampton, bench minor, 18:53; Lane (B) charging, 18:53; Paton (E) 5-min. fighting, 18:53; Lane (B) 5-min. fighting, 18:53.
Shots on goal — Erie, 7-11-11—29; Brampton, 17-13-17—47.
Goaltenders — Erie, Ramis Sadikov 1-0-0-0 (47 shots, 46 saves); Brampton, Jacob Riley 0-1-0-0 (20 shots, 16 saves), Dennis Saikkonen (9 shots, 8 saves).
Power plays — Erie (2-3), Brampton (1-4).
Referees — Darren Price, Chris Carnegie. Linesmen — Frank Rocca, Rick Janco.
Attendance — 2,967.
* Ramis Sadikov, Otters (46 saves) ** Mike Cazzola, Otters (goal, assist) *** Dylan Blujus, Battalion (first OHL goal)