What: Erie Otters (17-17-1-1) at Saginaw Spirit (23-7-3-1)
When: Wednesday, 7:11 p.m.
Where: Dow Event Center – Saginaw, Mich.
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Players to watch
Erie – C Greg McKegg (25 goals, 29 assists, 54 points), RW Shawn Szydlowski (17-15-32), RW Anthony Luciani (13-17-30), G Ramis Sadikov (17-12-1-1 record, 2.92 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, 2 shutouts), C Phil Varone (13-14-27)
Saginaw – LW Josh Shalla (29-12-41), G Mavric Parks (17-7-0-1, 2.57, .927), C Vincent Trocheck (15-22-37), LW Brandon Saad (20-16-36), RW Jordan Szwarz (13-18-31)
Erie – The Otters continue a three-goal West Division road trip with a matchup against the Western Conference’s top team. … The Otters are 1-5-0-1 against West Division teams, including a pair of one-goal home losses to the Spirit (3-2 on Sept. 25 and 4-3 on Nov. 12). … They won both meetings in Saginaw last season. … The Otters are without rookie LW Chris Marchese (3-7-10) and rookie D Adam Pelech (1-5-6, plus-1), who are representing Ontario in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Ontario begins play today at 8:30 p.m. against Czech Republic in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. The tournament runs through Tuesday. … Sadikov extended his franchise-record streak of consecutive starts to 26 games in Tuesday’s loss to Plymouth. … The Otters are 8-9-1-0 on the road.
Saginaw – The Spirit hold a six-point lead over Midwest Division-leading Kitchener and Owen Sound atop the conference. … Saad, a native of the Pittsburgh suburb of Gibsonia, and Trocheck will play in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, set for Jan. 19 in Toronto. They are rated among the top five OHL prospects eligible for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. … Shalla is tied with Ottawa RW Tyler Toffoli for the league lead in goals. Yet he doesn’t rank among the top 20 in points. … Parks leads the league in save percentage and ranks among the top five in wins and goals-against average. … The Spirit rank among the league leaders in goals scored (129) and goals against (95). … They are 13-2-1-0 at home – the third-best record in the league behind Mississauga St. Michael’s (14-1-0-1) and Kitchener (14-1-2-1).
Up next: at Windsor (Friday, 2:05 p.m.), vs. Niagara (Jan. 5, 7 p.m.)
– Victor Fernandes