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 ‘Jesse Graham’
Posted: March 20th, 2014

Check out head coach Kris Knoblauch‘s take on the series in this edition of Knoblauch Korner

Western Conference quarterfinals (best-of-7 series)
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 6 Saginaw Spirit

Season records: Erie 52-14-2-0, Saginaw 33-30-4-1
Season series: Erie won 3-1
Players to watch

Oscar Dansk

Erie – RW Connor Brown (45 goals, 83 assists, 128 points in the regular season), LW Dane Fox (64-43-107), C Connor McDavid (28-71-99), D Adam Pelech (9-45-54, plus-52 rating), G Oscar Dansk (29-9-1-0 record, 2.39 goals-against average, .909 save percentage, 6 shutouts)
Saginaw – D Jesse Graham (11-43-54, +3), C Kristoff Kontos (25-50-75), C Eric Locke (26-34-60), G Jake Paterson (24-18-2-0, 3.41, .906, 2 SO), LW Luke Cairns (16-24-40, former Otter)
Fast facts: The Otters finished the regular season with an eight-game winning streak and a league-best 30-3-1-0 record at home. … Brown, Fox and McDavid finished among the top four scorers overall to lead an offense that ranked third with a franchise-record 312 goals. … Erie led the league with a franchise-best 170 goals against, which was at least 17 fewer than any other team. … Erie had seven players with 50 points or more, while the Spirit had three. … Pelech and Graham finished tied for third in points among defensemen. … Cairns had 10 goals and 26 points in 42 games since being acquired from Belleville. … Erie native Brian Allen has served as the Spirit’s equipment manager for the past four seasons.
Outlook: The Otters have a decided advantage over the Spirit in net, on defense and up front. The Spirit also enter the playoffs coping with the recent death of teammate Terry Trafford. Both will be too much for the Spirit to overcome.
Prediction: Otters in 4 games

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: February 6th, 2014

Saginaw Spirit (25-21-4-1) at Erie Otters (39-10-2-0)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: vs. London (Saturday, 7 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters begin a four-game home stand after completing a five-game road trip last weekend with a 4-1 record. … They split their last six home games (3-2-1-0), including losses to Guelph and Owen Sound the past two outings, after starting the season with a franchise-record 19 straight wins. … The Otters can tie the 2010-11 club for the second-most home wins (23) in franchise history. The 2000-01 club holds the record with 26 wins. These Otters have nine home games left. … The Otters can join the 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2010-11 clubs as the only 40-win teams in franchise history. The 2000-01 club holds the record with 45 wins. These Otters have 17 games left. … The Otters plan to hold a moment of silence for Amanda Allen, the 22-month-old daughter of Erie native Brian Allen, who died Jan. 26. The elder Allen, 25, who began working for the Otters as a 7-year-old and served as full-time equipment manager from 2008-10, now holds the same position for the Spirit. … LW Dane Fox (53 goals, 35 assists, 88 points) needs one goal to break Cory Pecker‘s single-season franchise record of 53 set in the 2001-02 season. … RW Connor Brown (37-66-103) and D Adam Pelech (8-33-41) were named OHL player and defenseman of the month for January. Brown had 13 goals and 29 points in 12 games, while Pelech had 17 points and a plus-13 rating in 10 games. … C Connor McDavid (16-52-68) has set a new career high in points. He had 65 as a rookie a season ago. … RW Andre Burakovsky (30-34-64) had a career-high, 17-game point streak – one shy of the franchise record shared by Tim Connolly (1997-98) and Rob Hisey (2004-05) – snapped in last Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Owen Sound. … The Spirit are sixth in the Western Conference. … C Kristoff Kontos (19-43-62) leads their offense. … D Jesse Graham has 23 points and a plus-9 rating in 26 games since being acquired from Niagara. … Former Otters C Luke Cairns has five goals and 17 points in 26 games for the Spirit since being acquired from Belleville.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: August 4th, 2013

Erie Otters fans have shared their wish list for the top-end defenseman they want GM Sherry Bassin to acquire. Here’s that list …

Alex Basso, Sarnia (20) — 44 points, +0, 49 PIM (57 games)
Dylan Blujus, Brampton (19) — 29 points, -8, 57 PIM (68 games)
Connor Carrick, Plymouth (19) — 44 points, +27, 79 PIM (68 games)
Anthony DeAngelo, Sarnia (17) — 58 points, -13, 60 PIM (62 games)
Jake Dotchin, Barrie (19) — 22 points, +0, 81 PIM (66 games)
Craig Duininck, Sarnia (20) — 19 points, +1, 27 PIM (68 games)
Nick Ebert, Windsor (19) — 38 points, -39, 58 PIM (68 games)
Ben Fanelli, Kitchener (20) — 21 points, +23, 44 PIM (64 games)
Tyler Ganly, Sault Ste. Marie (18) — 17 points, +2, 64 PIM (62 games)
Jesse Graham, Niagara (19) — 39 points, -17, 48 PIM (68 games)
Ben Harpur, Guelph (18) — 15 points, +14, 59 PIM (67 games)
Slater Koekkoek, Windsor (19) — 28 points, -24, 28 PIM (42 games)
Nick Malysa, Plymouth (20) — 5 points, +18, 33 PIM (59 games)
Evan McEneny, Kitchener (19) — 34 points, +7, 42 PIM (65 games)
Luke Mercer, Niagara (19) — 29 points, +*, 56 PIM (68 games)
Michael Moffat, Kingston (20) — 30 points, +14, 55 PIM (62 games)
Taki Pantiziris, Sarnia (20) — 6 points, -2, 10 PIM (21 games)
Justin Sefton, London (20) — 21 points, +8, 84 PIM (65 games)
Steven Trojanovic, Peterborough (20) — 27 points, -5, 48 PIM (59 games)

Now here is my top 5, which is based on 1) being good players, 2) being a good fit for the Otters, and 3) being an acquisition that potentially wouldn’t cost Bassin too many assets in a trade …
Blujus – The Stan Butler-coached Battalion are known for stingy defense. Here’s the unit’s leader.
Basso – He was the popular choice among fans, as much for his two-way ability as for the potential for a deal between the Otters and Sting. Sarnia needs forwards. The Otters have depth up front.
Graham – The IceDogs face a bit of a rebuild. Graham could be a way to bring back key pieces.
Ebert – He has been a steady two-way player throughout his OHL career. The Otters need another steady player on the back.
Fanelli – His heart and strength were well-documented during his return from a devastating head injury nearly four years ago. He’s a solid player, too.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 17th, 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 Eastern Conference’s Central Division (listed in alphabetical order):

Barrie Colts
Coach/GM: Dale Hawerchuk/Jason Ford
2011-12 finish: 40-23-3-2, 2nd division, 3rd conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Ottawa in conference semifinals
Key players: LW Tanner Pearson (37 goals, 54 assists, 91 points; signed with Los Angeles), C Mark Scheifele (23-40-63 in 47 games; signed with Winnipeg), G Mathias Niederberger (29-14-1-2 record, 2.68 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, 3 shutouts), C Zach Hall (19-40-59), D Ryan O’Connor (8-28-36)
Key losses: C Colin Behenna (26-48-74), C Ivan Telegin (35-29-64; signed with Winnipeg)
Outlook: The continued emergence of standouts like Pearson and Scheifele, and the play of Niederberger in his first season, sparked the Colts to a 25-game improvement in the win column. Now these Colts could be tough to contend with this year.

Brampton Battalion
Coach/GM: Stan Butler
2011-12 finish: 36-22-3-7, 3rd division, 4th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Niagara 4-0 in conference semifinals
Key players: RW Barclay Goodrow (26-26-52; Carolina prospect), G Matej Machovsky (24-13-0-4, 2.36, .902, 5 SO; Ottawa prospect), D Dylan Blujus (7-27-34), D Cameron Wind (2-19-21, +16), LW Brandon Robinson (15-9-24)
Key losses: C Sam Carrick (16-23-39; signed with Toronto), LW Ian Watters (16-14-30)
Outlook: Defense is the name of the game in Brampton, which has featured one of the league’s top defenses the past several seasons. Machovsky anchors this year’s unit, while a defense led by Blujus and Wind provide plenty of help.

Mississauga Steelheads
Coach/GM: James Boyd
2011-12 finish: 33-28-1-6, 5th division, 6th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Barrie 4-2 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: LW Riley Brace (33-49-82), D Dylan DeMelo (7-40-47; signed with San Jose), C Kristoff Kontos (15-32-47), D Stuart Percy (4-30-34, plus-50; signed with Toronto), D Trevor Carrick (6-13-19)
Key losses: G Brandon Maxwell (33-22-1-3, 2.92, .913, 6 SO), LW Jamie Wise (31-17-48)
Outlook: This club has a new owner – Mississauga, Ontario, businessman Elliott Kerr, and nickname. But the Steelheads’ new goaltending tandem of Spencer Martin and former Otter Tyson Teichmann will have the biggest impact on this team’s success.

Niagara IceDogs
Coach/GM: Marty Williamson
2011-12 finish: 47-18-0-3, 1st division, 1st conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-1 in league finals
Key players: C Ryan Strome (30-38-68 in 46 games; signed with N.Y. Islanders), D Dougie Hamilton (17-55-72, +37; signed with Boston), D Jesse Graham (4-37-41, +25; N.Y. Islanders prospect), RW Brett Ritchie (24-21-45; signed with Dallas), G Chris Festarini (16-10-0-0, 2.85, .904, 2 SO; former Otter)
Key losses: G Mark Visentin (30-9-0-2, 1.99, .926, 10 SO; signed with Phoenix), C Andrew Agozzino (40-48-88), LW Freddie Hamilton (35-51-86; signed with San Jose), C Alex Friesen (26-45-71; signed with Vancouver), RW David Pacan (29-35-64)
Outlook: Festarini faces serious pressure as Visentin’s replacement in net. But Festarini has plenty of experienced talent – led by Strome and Hamilton – in front of him that will help keep the puck out of the net as well as score a lot of goals.

Sudbury Wolves
Coach/GM: Trent Cull/Blaine Smith
2011-12 finish: 36-26-4-2, 4th division, 5th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Brampton 4-0 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: LW Joshua Leivo (32-41-73), D Justin Sefton (3-16-19, 143 penalty minutes; San Jose prospect), LW Nathan Pancel (23-21-44), D Frank Corrado (3-23-26, +26), C Matthew Campagna (8-23-31 in 45 games)
Key losses: C Michael Sgarbossa (36-46-82; signed with San Jose), D Josh McFadden (19-53-72; signed with Florida), G Johan Mattsson (23-11-2-1, 3.16, .910), LW Andrey Kuchin (25-40-65), RW Derek Schoenmakers (26-24-50; traded to Windsor)
Outlook: The Wolves spent little time in the playoffs the past two seasons, as they were swept both times. But the departure of skilled leaders like Sgarbossa, McFadden, Mattsson and Kuchin might keep these Wolves out of the playoffs entirely.

- Victor Fernandes