Yet the Otters (8-13-1-0) couldn’t celebrate much, since they may have lost another key veteran to a serious injury. Defenseman Tyler Hostetter injured his right hand in a fight with Knights winger Michael MacDonald three seconds into the second period.
Hostetter headed to Hamot Medical Center during the game for X-rays. Club officials had not received official confirmation after the game.
But Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, said, “It didn’t look good.” The Otters are already without top-line center Mike Cazzola (broken wrist) and forward Andrew Yogan (shoulder). Right wing Anthony Luciani only rejoined the lineup on Wednesday after missing a month.
“It’s almost on the edge of ridiculous,” Bassin said of the injuries. “It’s inconceivable.”
Even without Hostetter, goaltender Ramis Sadikov and the defense held strong against the Knights (10-6-2-1).
The Otters, which entered the game with seven one-goal losses, held onto that tenuous one-goal lead deep into the third period. The Knights pulled Houser with 1:17 left for an extra attacker. That sparked London’s pursuit of the tying goal. But the Otters held on for their fourth win in the past six games.
Meanwhile on offense, coach Robbie Ftorek shuffled all four lines for the matchup against the Knights. One of those new combinations – the line of Greg McKegg, Luciani and former Knight Phil Varone – handed the Otters a 1-0 lead early in the opening period. McKegg scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season at the 7:16 mark on assists from Luciani and Derek Holden.
The goal seemed to spark the Otters on offense. They had several scoring opportunities in the period, including on two power plays. But Knights goaltender Michael Houser kept the Otters at bay.
David Broll’s rebound in front – his first goal in the past 16 games – beat Houser for a 2-0 Otters’ lead with 6:32 left in the second period. But the Knights sliced the Otters’ lead in half 58 seconds later, as MacDonald scooped a loose puck and slipped a backhand past Sadikov.
Luciani (two assists) and McKegg (goal, assist) led the Otters. Sadikov finished with 26 saves while Houser had 19 stops for the Knights.
Otters 2, Knights 1
London 0 1 0 — 1
Erie 1 1 0 — 2
1st Period — 1. Erie, Greg McKegg 12 (Luciani, Holden), 7:16. Penalties — Broll (E) 5-min. fighting, 7:18; Terreri (L) 5-min. fighting, 7:18; Knight (L) goaltender interference, 9:19; Donnay (L) holding, 15:23.
2nd Period — 2. Erie, David Broll 3 (Luciani, McKegg), 13:28. 3. London, Michael MacDonald 6 (Fox), 14:26. Penalties — Hostetter (E) 5-min. fighting, :03; Brown (L) 5-min. fighting, :03; McKegg (E) hooking, 10:04; Martin (L) holding, 11:21; Szydlowski (E) slashing, 16:36.
3rd Period — None. Penalties — Cook (E) hooking, 4:53.
Shots on goal — London, 7-12-8—27; Erie, 8-7-6—21.
Goaltenders — London, Michael Houser 9-5-2-1 (21 shots, 19 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 8-10-1-0 (27 shots, 26 saves).
Power plays — London (0-3), Erie (0-3).
Referees — Ryan Carroll, Jason Faist. Linesmen — Dustin McCrank, Daryl Wolfe.
Attendance — 3,272.
* Greg McKegg, Otters (goal, assist) ** Anthony Luciani, Otters (two assists) *** David Broll, Otters (goal)