Shootout
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 ‘Kris Knoblauch’
Posted: April 18th, 2014
Oscar Dansk

GUELPH, Ontario – Oscar Dansk‘s struggles in net continued tonight, but he had plenty of help in allowing seven goals on 30 shots in a 7-2 loss to Guelph tonight in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
The OHL’s stingiest scoring defense in the regular season has been unable to handle wave after wave of attacks from the league’s highest-scoring offense this season. The Otters succumbed to a series of 2-on-1s and 3-on-2s, especially in the third period. The Storm deserve lots of credit, because they capitalized on scoring chances with their speed, pinpoint passing and even better shots. But the Otters need to slow down the Attack in a pair of must-win games in Erie on Monday and Tuesday.
“We’ve got to be better,” D Spencer Abraham said. “We know we can’t give them much. They have so much talent up front, much like us. Their top 6 is amongst the best in the league. … Everyone just has to tighten up. One mistake here and there, and it’s been ending up in the back of our net.” 

That begins with better puck possession, which was a staple through the Otters’ success in the regular season and through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Otters started strong for the second straight game, to the tune of a 13-1 advantage in shots. “They capitalized on their opportunities. We didn’t,” head coach Kris Knoblauch said.
He needs more consistent play from the team’s top line of OHL goals leader Dane Fox, OHL scoring leader Connor Brown and second-year phenom Connor McDavid. They were held to one point in Game 2 – McDavid’s assist on D Cory Genovese‘s goal – and four points (including one goal) in the first two games. They were arguably the league’s best line in the regular season, and were on fire against Saginaw and Sault Ste. Marie. It’s time to raise their game again.

*** As expected, Knoblauch didn’t reveal whether Dansk or Devin Williams will start in goal for Game 3. Yet he did say he started Dansk tonight because Williams needed rest. Williams allowed five goals on 26 shots in a Game 1 loss. But before that, he and the Otters had nine days off after eliminating Sault Ste. Marie in a four-game sweep. So how was he tired?

*** The Otters deserved a better fate early in the game for the second straight night. Shots were 13-1 Otters at one point in the first period. Yet the Storm scored first on their 2nd shot. The Otters built a 16-9 shot advantage in the period, but were still down 3-0. It just shows strong how dangerous the Storm really are.

- Victor Fernandes

Series schedule
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 1 Guelph
Storm lead series 2-0
Game 1 – Guelph 5, Erie 4
Game 2 – Guelph 7, Erie 2
Game 3 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 26 at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 28 at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
No. 1 Oshawa vs. No. 2 North Bay
Battalion lead series 1-0
Game 1 – North Bay 1, Oshawa 0
Game 2 – Sunday at Oshawa, 6:05 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Wednesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 26 at North Bay, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 28 at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.*

* If necessary

 

Posted: April 18th, 2014

GUELPH, Ontario – The turning point in the Western Conference finals will occur tonight in Game 2.
Erie Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch is starting Oscar Dansk in net, a night after Devin Williams allowed 5 goals on 26 shots in a 5-4 Game 1 loss – but more importantly, after Williams played so well through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Knoblauch has gone down this road once before this postseason – Game 3 against Saginaw in the first round. Dansk allowed five goals on 25 shots and was replaced by Williams in what became a 7-6 OT loss. That momentarily gave the Spirit life in the series after they lost the first two games in Erie. And that move could have changed the overall series.
I’m not 100 percent surprised by the move. Williams wasn’t bad – average but not bad – in Game 1. But it seemed like the time Knoblauch would consider making the switch. Williams also hasn’t enjoyed a ton of success against the Storm this season – 21 goals against on 182 shots (.884 save percentage) in 5 games this season.
If this move produces a win tonight, the Otters will gain more than home-ice advantage. They will gain added confidence and mometum as they head back to Erie for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Tuesday. If it doesn’t work, the Otters are in trouble.

- Victor Fernandes
 

 

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 16th, 2014
 

Posted: April 16th, 2014

Kris Knoblauch led the Erie Otters from last place in the Western Conference – and the league’s second-worst record – to a franchise-record 52 wins and the Western Conference championship series. But that wasn’t enough for Knoblauch to capture the OHL’s Coach of the Year award.
Knoblauch earned 47 voting points, one behind Oshawa’s D.J. Smith, in balloting. Smith led the Generals to the Eastern Conference’s regular-season championship and into the conference finals against North Bay. Guelph’s Scott Walker, whose club won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy as the league’s regular-season champion and face the Otters in the conference finals, finished third with 38 voting points.
Smith will receive the trophy at the OHL Awards Ceremony on June 3 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He also will be the league’s nominee for CHL Coach of the Year.
 

Posted: April 11th, 2014

Erie Otters C Kyle Pettit was back on the ice for a full practice for the first time since having his left calf slashed by a skate blade in Game 4 of the opening-round series against Saginaw. He’s expected to rejoin the lineup for the start of the Western Conference finals. For now, he will focus on regaining his game shape.
“It’s pretty exciting again. It’s been a slow process, but it’s getting a lot better, ” said Pettit, who skated on his own twice earlier in the week without pain. “That was really surprising to me,” he said. “Maybe I’m a little hesitant, but it’s going to take some time just to get back to normal. … It’s what the practice is for.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Some players watched the webcast Game 4 in the Guelph-London series on their off night Thursday. Some enjoyed a second day away from hockey. But the coaching staff was hard at work, as they traveled to London, Ontario, to watch the Storm’s 6-3 win at Budweiser Gardens. They are familiar with the Storm and Knights, as the Otters faced their Midwest Division rivals six times apiece in the regular season. But the Otters have tinkered with their strategy from series to series, head coach Kris Knoblauch said. Those teams have done that as well.
“They’re always changing their game a little bit, and they’ll change their game when they play us,” Knoblauch said before Friday’s practice at Erie Insurance Arena, the team’s first time back on the ice since completing a four-game sweep of Sault Ste. Marie on Tuesday in the conference semifinals. “You can watch games on video, but you only see a third of the ice. (Watching games live) gives you a better idea of what’s going on. It gives you a little bit better perspective of what they’re doing.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Looks like the Otters will have a full week of practice before starting the conference finals. Knoblauch said he expects the best-of-seven series to begin next Friday. So he will need to keep practice fresh to keep his players sharp.
“This time of year you can only practice so much,” he said. Pettit is happy about the long break, though. “I’m getting a lot of rest and working on (my leg),” he said. ”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Oscar Dansk

Oscar Dansk seems like a more confident goaltender these days. He’s still adjusting to what he called a “new experience” – life as a backup to Devin Williams. But Dansk has worked hard in practice to regain the form that made him one of the league’s top goaltenders in the regular season. He also has returned to the old pads he used in the regular season.
“I just have to learn how to handle this kind of situation myself,” he said. “A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to get my feel back, getting back in the groove. I’ve felt really good in practice.”
Posted: April 7th, 2014

NHL Central Scouting unveils its final rankings for the 2014 Entry Draft on Tuesday. Erie Otters G Devin Williams may or may not make the list. But he likely impressed a group of scouts that numbered at least 15 with his 29-save effort and second straight shutout in a 2-0 Game 3 win against Sault Ste. Marie.
His teammates also deserve some credit for their strong defensive performance in front of him.
Here’s what D Troy Donnay and LW Andre Burakovsky had to say after the game.
Also, check out head coach Kris Knoblauch‘s post-game news conference…

Posted: April 1st, 2014

Finalists for the OHL’s seven major awards:

Red Tilson Trophy (Most Outstanding Player of the Year)
Barrie – D Aaron Ekblad (23 goals, 30 assists, 53 points, +7 rating)
Belleville – LW Remi Elie (29-39-68)

Connor Brown

Erie – RW Connor Brown (45-83-128)
Guelph – LW Brock McGinn (43-42-85)
Kingston – C Sam Bennett (36-55-91)
Kitchener – RW Justin Bailey (25-18-43)
London – LW Max Domi (34-59-93)
Mississauga – C Bryson Cianfrone (17-27-44)
Niagara – LW Brendan Perlini (34-37-71)
North Bay – RW Barclay Goodrow (33-34-67)
Oshawa – C Scott Laughton (40-47-87)
Ottawa – G Philippe Trudeau (22-32-3-3 record, 4.03 GAA, .900 save %, 1 SHO)
Owen Sound – D Chris Bigras (4-22-28, -11)
Peterborough – LW Nick Ritchie (39-35-74)
Plymouth – G Alex Nedeljkovic (26-27-0-7, 2.88, .925, 1 SHO)
Saginaw – LW Dylan Sadowy (27-9-36)
Sarnia – RW Nikolay Goldobin (38-56-94)
Sault Ste. Marie – G Matt Murray (32-11-1-0, 2.57, .921, 6 SHO)
Sudbury – RW Nick Baptiste (45-44-89)
Windsor – D Slater Koekkoek (15-38-53, +44)

Matt Leyden Trophy (Coach of the Year)
Bob Boughner, Windsor (37-28-3-0 record, 1st round of playoffs)
Stan Butler, North Bay (38-24-4-2, 1st round of playoffs)
Todd Gill, Kingston (39-23-3-3, 1st round of playoffs)
Kris Knoblauch, Erie (52-14-2-0, 2nd round of playoffs)
D.J. Smith, Oshawa (42-20-0-6, Eastern Conference champion, 2nd round of playoffs)
Scott Walker, Guelph (52-12-2-2, OHL regular-season champion, 2nd round of playoffs)

Goaltender of the Year
Daniel Altshuller, Oshawa (31-13-0-3, 2.56, .917, 2 SHO)

Oscar Dansk

Oscar Dansk, Erie (29-9-1-0, 2.39, .909, 6 SHO)
Matt Murray, Sault Ste. Marie (32-11-1-0, 2.57, .921, 6 SHO)
Alex Nedeljkovic, Plymouth (26-27-0-7, 2.88, .925, 1 SHO)
Franky Palazzese, Sudbury (27-23-2-7, 2.97, .916, 5 SHO)
Jake Smith, North Bay (23-12-3-1, 2.52, .904, 4 SHO)

Defenseman of the Year
Trevor Carrick, Sudbury (22-29-51, -6)
Aaron Ekblad, Barrie (23-30-53, +7)
Slater Koekkoek, Windsor (15-38-53, +18)
Roland McKeown, Kingston (11-32-43, +38)
Adam Pelech, Erie (9-45-54, +52)

Adam Pelech


Nikita Zadorov, London (11-19-30, +30)

Emms Family Award (Rookie of the Year)
LW Lawson Crouse, Kingston (15-12-17)
D Travis Dermott, Erie (3-25-28, +35)
C Travis Konecny, Ottawa (26-44-70)
LW Andrew Mangiapane, Barrie (24-27-51)
C Mitchell Marner, London (13-46-59)
RW Blake Speers, Sault Ste. Marie (19-21-40)

Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy (Overage Player of the Year)
C Cameron Brace, Belleville (31-26-56)
LW Dane Fox, Erie (64-43-107)
C Tyler Gaudet, Sault Ste. Marie (26-35-61)
RW Barclay Goodrow, North Bay (33-34-67)
RW Eric Ming, Niagara (33-17-50)
RW Zack Mitchell, Guelph (31-52-83)

William Hanley Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year)
LW Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa (39-56-95, 34 PIM)
LW Jason Dickinson, Guelph (26-52-78, 42 PIM)
C Stephen Harper, Belleville (13-35-48, 37 PIM; former Otter)
C Connor McDavid, Erie (28-71-99, 20 PIM)
C Chris Tierney, London (40-49-89, 12 PIM)
RW Spencer Watson, Kingston (33-35-68, 16 PIM)

Posted: March 27th, 2014

SAGINAW, Mich. – Here are a few thoughts on the Erie Otters’ pivotal Game 4 win over Saginaw on Wednesday night at Dow Event Center…

* Kudos to the team’s head athletic trainers, including the Otters’ Scott McLay, and the EMTs on hand for getting Kyle Pettit‘s medical situation – the 2nd-year forward’s left calf was gashed open by a skate blade – under control so quickly. Given what happened, it could have much worse. Instead, Pettit was able to celebrate the win with his team in the dressing room after the game.
* I was told the Otters wear cut-resistant Kevlar socks. So it will be interesting to find out if the sock helped keep the cut on Pettit’s leg from being worse…
* Head coach Kris Knoblauch said the gash on Pettit’s leg wasn’t as bad as the injury London G Anthony Stolarz suffered earlier this season that sidelined him for six weeks.
But Pettit will be missed if he has to sit out any length of time. The Otters were a different team – and not always in a good way – while Pettit was out with an upper-body injury, and F Jake Evans was out with with a sprained knee, at the end of the regular season. Pettit is solid at both ends of the ice, especially on the penalty kill and and as the third option behind C Brendan Gaunce and LW Dane Fox on faceoffs.

Andre Burakovsky

* Special teams have been a big part of the Otters-Spirit series. The Otters took control of the series Wednesday night with a pair of power-play goals and a 6-for-7 showing on the penalty kill. They overcame a stretch of six straight short-handed situations by killing off the final five chances.
* Andre Burakovsky continued his hot start to the playoffs with his sixth goal of the series. He also continued building a case for him to earn a spot in the NHL with the Washington Capitals next season, or at least in the AHL.

Posted: March 26th, 2014

SAGINAW, Mich. – The Erie Otters are one of five teams that can close out first-round series tonight. They are up 3-1 against Saginaw heading into Game 5 tonight at Dow Event Center following a 7-3 win in Game 4 Wednesday night. Check out interviews with head coach Kris Knoblauch, LW Dane Fox and D Adam Pelech following a win that moved the Otters one step closer to capturing their first OHL playoff series win since beating Sarnia in the opening round in 2004.
Meanwhile, London can sweep Windsor tonight at WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, while Oshawa, Kingston and Barrie also can cap off 4-game sweeps tonight on the road.
Here’s the updated schedule…

Western Conference
No. 1 Guelph vs. No. 8 Plymouth

Game 1 – Guelph 5, Plymouth 2
Game 2 – Guelph 3, Plymouth 0
Game 3 – Plymouth 2, Guelph 1
Game 4 – Guelph 7, Plymouth 2
Game 5 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Plymouth, 4 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
Guelph leads series 3-1

No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie vs. No. 7 Owen Sound
Game 1 – Owen Sound 5, Sault Ste. Marie 4, OT
Game 2 – Sault Ste. Marie 7, Owen Sound 3
Game 3 – Sault Ste. Marie 5, Owen Sound 3
Game 4 – Sault Ste. Marie 2, Owen Sound 0
Game 5 – Friday at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Owen Sound, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.*
Sault Ste. Marie leads 3-1

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Game 1 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3
Game 2 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3, OT
Game 3 – Saginaw 7, Erie 6, OT
Game 4 – Erie 7, Saginaw 3
Game 5 – Today at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Erie, 6 p.m.*
Game 7 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Erie leads series 3-1

No. 4 London vs. No. 5 Windsor
Game 1 – London 6, Windsor 1
Game 2 – London 6, Windsor 3
Game 3 – London 10, Windsor 2
Game 4 – Today at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at London, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – Monday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at London, 7 p.m.*
London leads series 3-0

Eastern Conference
No. 1 Oshawa vs. No. 8 Mississauga

Game 1 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 0
Game 2 – Oshawa 3, Mississauga 2, OT
Game 3 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 5, 2OT
Game 4 – Today at Mississauga, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Oshawa, 7:35 p.m.*
Game 6 – Sunday at Mississauga, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.*
Oshawa leads series 3-0

No. 2 North Bay vs. No. 7 Niagara
Game 1 – North Bay 4, Niagara 0
Game 2 – Niagara 3, North Bay 2
Game 3 – Niagara 2, North Bay 0
Game 4 – Today at Niagara, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday ay North Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Niagara, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.*
Niagara leads series 2-1

No. 3 Kingston vs. No. 6 Peterborough
Game 1 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 1
Game 2 – Kingston 5, Peterborough 3, OT
Game 3 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 2
Game 4 – Today at Peterborough, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Kingston, 7 p.m.*
Game 6 – Sunday at Peterborough, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Kingston, 7 p.m.*
Kingston leads series 3-0

No. 4 Barrie vs. No. 5 Sudbury
Game 1 – Barrie 3, Sudbury 2
Game 2 – Barrie 4, Sudbury 3, OT
Game 3 – Barrie 6, Sudbury 4
Game 4 – Today at Sudbury, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Barrie, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – Sunday at Sudbury, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Barrie, 7:30 p.m.*
Barrie leads series 3-0

* If necessary

Switch to our mobile site