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 ‘kerby rychel’
Posted: April 17th, 2014

GUELPH, Ontario – Even in a game with nine goals, five lead changes and four ties, Dane Fox – the OHL’s leading goal scorer in the regular season – was seemingly non-existent offensively in the Erie Otters’ Game 1 loss to Guelph tonight.
Fox never found his rhythm offensively, because he wasn’t his usual aggressive self. When Fox is at his best, he works relentlessly to get into open ice, puts constant pressure on defenses and utilizes on one of the league’s quickest shots.
But on this night, he seemed stagnant. He didn’t move his feet as well as he ordinarily does. At one point, Fox seemed hurt, as he skated to the bench hunched over with what appeared to be a grimace on his face.
He certainly was frustrated as the game progressed. That frustration boiled over in a big way late in the third period, as he vehemently argued a tripping penalty – his third minor penalty of the game – which led to an early trip to the dressing room with a 10-minute misconduct after being given a good bit of leeway from the officials. That left the Otters short-handed for two minutes, and then during a 6-on-4 power play in the closing seconds that included a final faceoff with 4 seconds left.
Fox joins Brendan Gaunce (who took that draw) as the team’s top faceoff guys.
Fox didn’t speak with the media after the game. Instead, he boarded the team bus early. Yet when asked to assess Fox’s late-game outburst, head coach Kris Knoblauch said, “I’m disappointed when anybody on my team loses it like that.”
“Certainly we could have them at the end of the game for that last shift and that last faceoff,” Knoblauch added. “But certainly we have to stay much more composed and focused, because certainly that’s not who we are. This time of the year, obviously emotions run hot. But certainly we have to look forward to our next shift.”
On the bright side, Fox is too good not to bounce back. Expect a much better effort from him in Game 2 Friday night.

*** Knoblauch didn’t want to comment on the controversial tripping penalty against Fox. Then he ended up commenting anyway. “I didn’t think that was tripping at the end,” he said. “Fox was trying to lift his stick. (Fox) was on his hands, and (the Storm player) falls down.”
The officiating was consistent for the most part. But that was a tough spot to call a penalty that was borderline at best.

*** Defenses didn’t struggle as much as the 5-4 score would indicate. Both offenses were simply in top form.
There wasn’t a bad goal all night. Instead, there were deflections and redirects, strong finishes on odd-man rushes, 2 or 3 wicked wrist shots (including Connor Brown‘s power-play goal in the first period) and a slap shot from Tyler Bertuzzi that sailed through D Travis Dermott‘s legs and past G Devin Williams.

*** However, the Otters’ D has to step up Friday, because a Storm club that scored 5 goals on 26 shots in Game 1 gets suspended 40-goal scorer Brock McGinn back in the lineup.

*** Speaking of the Storm’s attack, this game showed how dangerous they are. They have more quality scorers beyond frontline guys like McGinn, Scott Kosmachuk, Zack Mitchell and Kerby Rychel. Bertuzzi had 2 goals tonight, while Ryan Horvat scored the GW goal 6 minutes into the third period.
“The other lines have to be able to chip in and take some of the pressure off the guys,” head coach Scott Walker said.

- Victor Fernandes




Posted: April 17th, 2014

OHL playoffs at a glance
Western Conference finals, Game 1 (best-of-7 series)
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 1 Guelph Storm
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Sleeman Centre – Guelph, Ontario
On the air: WJET-AM/1400, (live stream)
Season series: Guelph won 4-2
Playoff recap: Erie def. No. 6 Saginaw 4 games to 1 in conference quarterfinals, def. No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie 4-0 in conference semifinals; Guelph def. No. 8 Plymouth 4-1, def. No. 4 London, 4-1
Players to watch
Erie – G Devin Williams (8-0-1 record, 1.88 goals-against average, .934 save percentage, 2 shutouts), LW Dane Fox (7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points), C Brendan Gaunce (5-9-14), C Connor McDavid (4-10-14), RW Connor Brown (4-9-13), LW Andre Burakovsky (8-2-10), D Adam Pelech (2-2-4, plus-8 rating); Guelph – RW Zack Mitchell (5-10-15), LW Jason Dickinson (4-10-14), G Justin Nichols (8-2-0, 2.77, .919, 1 SHO), LW Kerby Rychel (2-11-13), RW Scott Kosmachuk (6-6-12), C Robby Fabbri (5-4-9), D Matt Finn(2-3-5, +7)

Justin Nichols

Fast facts: Both teams won 52 games on the way to finishing with the top two records in the regular season. … Williams stopped 119-of-122 shots in the sweep of Sault Ste. Marie (0.73 GAA, .975 save percentage) on the way to earning CHL goaltender of the week honors. … Otters C Kyle Pettit (gash across left calf) is expected to play tonight. … Storm LW Brock McGinn (43-42-85 in the regular season, 2-1-3 in three playoff games) completes an eight-game suspension tonight. … These teams have six players among the top 10 in playoff scoring (Fox, Gaunce, McDavid and Brown for the Otters; Mitchell and Dickinson for the Storm). … Fabbri (4-3-7 in three games) is the reigning CHL player of the week. … Gaunce and LW Michael Curtis (2-3-5) reached the conference finals with Belleville a season ago. … Gaunce has points in seven straight games and eight of nine playoff games. … WJET-AM/1400 will broadcast every game in the series.
Outlook: The Otters need to win at least one game in Guelph to capture the series. They faced – and conquered – that same challenge against Sault Ste. Marie in the last round.
Prediction: Otters in 7 games

Posted: April 1st, 2014

Western Conference semifinals (best-of-7 series)

No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Season records: Erie 52-14-2-0, Sault Ste. Marie 44-17-2-5
Season series: Tied 1-1
First-round recap: Erie def. No. 6 Saginaw, 4 games to 1; Sault Ste. Marie def. No. 7 Owen Sound, 4-1
Players to watch: Erie – LW Dane Fox (6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points), C Brendan Gaunce (4-4-8), RW Connor Brown (2-6-8), C Connor McDavid (2-6-8), LW Andre Burakovsky (6-1-7), G Devin Williams (4-0-1 record, 2.97 goals-against average, .893 save percentage); Sault Ste. Marie – G Matt Murray (4-0-1, 2.38, .918, 1

Matt Murray

shutout) D Darnell Nurse (2-5-7, plus-4), C Tyler Gaudet (2-6-8), LW Michael Bunting (5-1-6), C Jared McCann (2-3-5), LW Sergey Tolchinsky (1-3-4)
Fast facts: Fox leads the league in playoff scoring, and is tied with Burakovsky for the lead in goals. … Murray earned the league’s player of the week award for totaling a 3-0-0 record, 1.33 goals-against average, .957 save percentage and one shutout in the final three games against Owen Sound. … The Otters won three of four one-goal games, including two of three in overtime, against Saginaw. … The Greyhounds won four straight games after losing the series opener to the Attack. … D Kurtis MacDermid (flu) will play tonight. … C Kyle Pettit (gash across left calf) is listed as day-to-day. … McDavid (28-71-99) and Tolchinsky (31-60-91) ranked among the league’s top 10 scorers in the regular season after finishing among the top three rookie scorers a season ago. … WJET-AM/1400 will broadcast Games 2 through 4 and, if necessary, Games 5 through 7.
Outlook: The Greyhounds have home-ice advantage, but the Otters are a better team when they’re playing at their best – especially in net.
Prediction: Otters in 6 games

Series schedule
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie

Game 1 – Today at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.
Game 2 – Friday at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – April 10 at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 12 at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 14 at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.*
* If necessary


No. 1 Guelph Storm vs. No. 4 London Knights
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Sleeman Centre – Guelph, Ontario
Season series: Tied 3-3
First-round recap: Guelph def. No. 8 Plymouth, 4 games to 1; London def. No. 5 Windsor, 4-0
Players to watch

Zack Mitchell

Guelph – RW Zack Mitchell (2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points), G Justin Nichols (4-1-0 record, 1.81 goals-against average, .941 save percentage, 1 shutout), LW Jason Dickinson (3-4-7), LW Kerby Rychel (1-6-7), D Zac Leslie (0-6-6, +5 rating), D Nick Ebert (4-1-5, +6)
London - C Chris Tierney (3-6-9), C Bo Horvat (4-4-8), C Ryan Rupert (1-7-8), LW Max Domi (2-4-6), D Nikita Zadorov (3-2-5, +4), G Jake Patterson (1-0-0, 3.00, .919)

Jake Patterson

Fast facts: Knights No. 1 G Anthony Stolarz (3-0-0, 2.00, .933) still has to serve the final 7 games of an 8-game suspension for striking Windsor RW Josh Ho-Sang in the back of the head with a stick in Game 3 of their first-round series. … Knights D Zach Bell will miss the rest of the season with a broken leg suffered in Game 4 against the Spitfires. … Storm C Robby Fabbri (45-42-87 in the regular season) missed the final four games of the first-round series reportedly because of a hit to the head from Plymouth D Yannick Rathgeb, who received a 10-game suspension. … LW Brock McGinn (43-42-85 in the regular season) still has to serve the final six games of an eight-game suspension for a hit to the head of Whalers RW Connor Sills in Game 3.
Outlook: Both teams head into the series short-handed, so I’ll stick with my original prediction
Prediction: Knights in 7 games

Series schedule
Game 1 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday at Guelph, 7 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at London, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – April 10 at London, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – April 11 at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 13 at London, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 15 at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary

Posted: January 18th, 2014

* denotes starters



Oscar Dansk*
Devin Williams

Scratches: C Dylan Strome (concussion), RW Andre Burakovsky (head), D Justin Felker (healthy), LW Travis Wood (healthy)




Justin Nichols*
Matthew Mancina

Scratches: D Kyle Locke, RW Adam Craievich, LW Ryan Migliaccio, LW Tyler Bertuzzi, D Garrett McFadden

Referees: Jason Faist, Scott Ferguson; Linesmen: Cory Piche, Ryan Holmstead

Guelph Storm (33-8-2-1) at Erie Otters (35-7-2-0)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: vs. Niagara (Friday, 7 p.m.), at Belleville (Saturday, 7:05 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters and Storm take respective five-game winning streaks into a matchup between the top two teams in the Western Conference. Erie (OHL-best 72 points) leads Guelph (second overall with 69) by three points heading into the final meeting in the six-game, regular-season series. Both teams are unbeaten at home, with the Storm leading 3-2. … The Otters are a league-best 22-0-1 at home, while the Storm are No. 1 in the league on the road (14-6-2-0). … The Otters (32.1 percent) and Storm (26.5) are first and third, respectively, on the power play. … The Otters (87.3 percent) and Storm (83.7) are 1-2 on the penalty kill. … The Storm lead the way in scoring offense (213 goals), with the Otters in second (207). … The Otters are first in scoring defense (108 goals against), while the Storm are tied for second (124). … LW Dane Fox (51 goals, 31 assists, 82 points) needs three goals to break Cory Pecker‘s franchise record of 53 goals set in the 2001-02 season. … RW Connor Brown (31-61-92) needs two assists to break the franchise mark of 62 held by Zack Torquato since the 2009-10 season. … Fox and Brown are on pace to surpass Pecker’s single-season record of 99 points in 2001-02. … C Connor McDavid (15-47-62) has four goals and 15 points in a six-game point streak, including nine points in the past two games. … D Adam Pelech has 15 points – all assists – in a six-game point streak, including seven in the past two games. … RW Scott Kosmachuk (32-29-61) leads the Storm, followed by LW Brock McGinn (27-27-54) and RW Robby Fabbri (28-22-50). … LW Kerby Rychel, who played for Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden, has three goals and nine points in seven games since joining the Storm in a deal with Windsor in early December. C Brendan Gaunce, who was acquired from Belleville a week earlier, has 11 goals and 21 points in 19 games with the Otters.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: December 15th, 2013

Erie Otters (29-4-1-0) at Guelph Storm (23-7-2-1)
<>When: Today, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Sleeman Centre – Guelph, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: Christmas break
What to watch: The Otters take a 10-game winning streak into this matchup with the Midwest Division rival Storm that ends the opening half of the OHL season. They can match the franchise record of 11 straight victories set earlier this season. … The Otters have matched their win total from the two previous seasons combined. … The league-leading Otters (59 points) have opened an eight-point lead over third-place London in the Western Conference standings, with the Storm another two points back in fourth. Runner-up Sault Ste. Marie, who leads the West Division, is 12 points behind the Otters. … The Otters have won five straight road games by a combined 28-5 score. … They lost in Guelph 4-3 in overtime in the Sept. 20 season opener. … The Otters beat London 4-3 in a shootout Saturday night without four frontline players – G Oscar Dansk, D Adam Pelech, C Connor McDavid and RW Andre Burakovsky – who are preparing for the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden. Now the Otters have the same lineup in Guelph, which will be without two World Junior-bound players – LW Kerby Rychel (17-28-45) and D Phil Baltisberger. The Guelph Mercury has reported that the Storm is also without LW Tyler Bertuzzi because of an upper-body injury. … The matchup features the league’s top two scoring teams (Otters 167, Storm 165). … The Otters also have the league’s stingiest defense (78 goals against). The Storm rank eighth with 102 goals against. … Otters LW Dane Fox has scored a goal in a franchise-record 10 straight games. He also has points in 10 consecutive games (18 goals, 24 points). … LW Travis Wood has points in three straight games. … G Devin Williams has won 13 straight starts. He’s 13-1-0-0 overall. … LW Brock McGinn (23-25-48) and RW Scott Kosmachuk (23-23-46) lead the Storm. Like the Otters, the Storm have a strong goaltending tandem – Justin Nichols (15-3-1-0 record, 3.22 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, 1 shutout) and Matthew Mancina (8-4-1-1, 2.58, .914, 1 SO).

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 8th, 2013

Oscar Dansk stopped 21-of-23 shots to lead Columbus to a 4-2 win against Erie Otters teammate Troy Donnay and the New York Rangers on Sunday in the NHL Prospects Tournament at Center Ice Arena in Traverse City, Mich. Donnay had no points and five penalty minutes for a fight with Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires.
Former Otter Andrew Yogan had no points, two shots and two penalty minutes for the Rangers.
Otters F Dane Fox had no p
oints, two shots and 11 penalty minutes in St. Louis’ 4-1 loss to Detroit. He had a fight with Guelph’s Tyler Bertuzzi.
The Rangers conclude the tournament Monday with a 3:30 p.m. game against Minnesota in the fourth-place game, followed by the Blues and Carolina at 4 p.m. in the third-place game. Columbus faces Dallas at 7 p.m. in the second-place game.
At the Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament, Otters RW Connor Brown and the Maple Leafs lost their finale 6-2 to Ottawa at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario.

Posted: June 28th, 2013

Erie Otters C Connor McDavid, 16, and D Adam Pelech, 18, will join 32 other CHL players – including 11 other OHL players – at Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Development Camp, set for Aug. 4-10 in Brossard, Quebec, and Lake Placid, N.Y.
They will head to Brossard for two days of practices Aug. 4-5 at the Montreal Canadiens’ practice facility before heading to Lake Placid for exhibition games against Finland Aug. 7, Otters G Oscar Dansk and Sweden Aug. 8 and the United States Aug. 10.
McDavid and Pelech will be joined by G Jake Paterson (Saginaw), Ds Matt Finn (Guelph) and Darnell Nurse (Sault Ste. Marie) and Fs Max Domi (London), Brendan Gaunce (Belleville), Bo Horvat (London), Scott Laughton (Oshawa), Sean Monahan (Ottawa), Ryan Rupert (London), Kerby Rychel (Windsor) and Tom Wilson (Plymouth).
* 5 Otters heading to Ontario camp: Five of the Otters’ picks in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection – Fs Dylan Strome (1st round), Sean Kohler (6th round) and Patrick Fellows (7th round) and Ds Jesse Saban (2nd round) and Cole Mayo (3rd round) have been invited to Team Ontario’s Under-17 Provincial Camp, set for Aug. 14-18 at General Motors Centre in Oshawa, Ontario. They will join 63 other players hoping to earn spots on the team that will play in the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge from Dec. 27, 2013, to Jan. 5, 2014, in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

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: November 20th, 2012

Erie Otters winger Stephen Harper stands eighth among OHL skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary rankings for next summer’s NHL Entry Draft, which was released Tuesday. Ottawa center Sean Monahan tops the list, followed by Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Darnell Nurse, Windsor winger Kerby Rychel and London’s frontlin duo of Max Domi and Bo Horvat. Mississauga’s Spencer Martin headlines the list of the OHL’s top goaltenders, followed by Peterborough’s Michael Guigovaz and Barrie’s Alex Fotinos.

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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