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.
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Posts tagged ‘london’
Posted: November 13th, 2010

One-goal games haven’t been kind to the Erie Otters. But on Saturday night at Tullio Arena, the Otters held off London 2-1 in front of 3,272 at Tullio Arena.

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.

Three stars

* Greg McKegg, Otters (goal, assist) ** Anthony Luciani, Otters (two assists) *** David Broll, Otters (goal)

Posted: November 11th, 2010

What: Saginaw Spirit (13-4-1-1) at Erie Otters (7-12-1-0)

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Tullio Arena

On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)

Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (11 goals, 16 assists, 27 points), G Ramis Sadikov (7-9-1-0 record, 2.90 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, 1 shutout), RW Shawn Szydlowski (7-11-18), D Tyler Hostetter (3-12-15), RW Anthony Luciani (4-3-7 in 6 games)

Saginaw – LW Brandon Saad (11-10-21, 6 power-play goals), C Vincent Trocheck (9-11-20), RW Jordan Szwarz (7-10-17), C Ivan Telegin (5-12-17), LW Josh Shalla (13-2-15, 6 PPG)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters have a two-game winning streak for the first time in a month. They also have won three of their last four. … They haven’t won three straight since February. … The Otters are 4-3 during a key nine-game stretch that concludes this weekend with two of eight home games. … C Mike Cazzola (broken wrist) will miss the next six to 12 weeks, coach Robbie Ftorek confirmed Thursday. … Luciani had a goal and assist in Wednesday’s win against Guelph, his first game since breaking his right wrist a month ago. … Sadikov has started the past 10 games. He leads the OHL with 1,034 minutes played – 159 more than London’s Michael Houser – and ranks among the top 10 in goals-against average and save percentage. … Szydlowski had three assists against the Storm after missing the previous two games because he was ill. … D Brady Austin (neck spasms) missed Wednesday’s game but will play tonight. … McKegg has only four goals and seven points in his past 12 games. He’s still tied for seventh overall in scoring. … The penalty kill has stopped 23 straight chances to reach ninth in the league (81.6 percent).

Saginaw – The Western Conference-leading Spirit have lost two straight and three of their last four games, including a 5-4 loss at Niagara on Thursday. … Saad, a native of the Pittsburgh suburb of Gibsonia, leads the Spirit’s offense in his rookie season. … They are third in the league on the power play (21.7 percent) and second on the penalty kill (86.7). … They have one of the league’s most potent offenses without a single player among the top 20 scorers. … G Mavric Parks (8-4-0-1, 2.58, .927) was the league’s goaltender of the month for October.

Up next: vs. London (Saturday, 7 p.m.), at Peterborough (Thursday, 7 p.m.)

Posted: November 9th, 2010

What: Guelph Storm (9-5-1-1) at Erie Otters (6-12-1-0)

When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Tullio Arena

On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)

Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (10 goals, 16 assists, 26 points), C Mike Cazzola (9-16-25), G Ramis Sadikov (6-9-1-0 record, 2.96 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, 1 shutout), D Tyler Hostetter (3-10-13), RW Anthony Luciani (3-2-5 in 5 games)

Guelph – C Peter Holland (12-9-21), C Michael Latta (12-7-19), RW Taylor Beck (9-9-18), D Tim Campbell (1-13-14, plus-4), LW Tyler Carroll (4-4-8)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters have a three-game home stand over the next four days, which concludes a stretch of eight home games in nine outings. … They split the first six games of this stretch. … Sadikov has a 2.57 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in seven games since being replaced in the first period of an Oct. 22 loss to Sault Ste. Marie. He stopped 95-of-99 shots, including a shutout, in three games this past weekend (1.29 GAA, .959 save pct.). … Luciani (broken right wrist) said he will play tonight. He hasn’t played since Oct. 2. … RW Shawn Szydlowski (7-8-15) hopes to play after being a last-minute scratch before Saturday’s game against Owen Sound because he was ill. He also suffered a minor undisclosed injury after hitting a rut in pregame warm-up that night. But he could have played if he wasn’t ill, Szydlowski said. … D Brady Austin, who suffered neck spasms on Saturday that sent him to Hamot Medical Center for X-rays during the game, doesn’t expect to play. But he should be ready for this weekend’s games. … The Otters won the first of six regular-season meetings with the Storm 3-2 on the road Oct. 8. … Cazzola has points in six straight games.

Guelph – Holland, Latta and Beck have scored 33 of the Storm’s 50 goals. … Holland and Latta rank among the OHL’s top 10 in goals. … G Brandon Foote (6-3-1-1, 3.07, .921) missed the past two games with an injured left arm, according to the Guelph Mercury. Rookie backups Garret Sparks and Matej Machovsky earned a win apiece in Foote’s absence. … The Storm have won four of their last five games.

Up next: vs. Saginaw (Friday, 7 p.m.), vs. London (Saturday, 7 p.m.)

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 26th, 2010

The Erie Otters have acquired overage center Phil Varone from London for a second-round pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection and a 2011 third-round pick originally held by Windsor.

Varone, who turns 20 Dec. 4, has been a consistent point producer in his five-year OHL career (50 goals, 172 points in 209 games) when he has been healthy. He missed half of the 2009-10 season with a shoulder injury. He missed several games this season with a knee injury suffered against the Otters on Oct. 2.

But he was a healthy scratch the past few games for the Knights, presumably to avoid injury while Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, and Knights GM Mark Hunter negotiated a deal the past few days.

He’s expected to arrive in Erie late tonight and play in Wednesday’s game against Plymouth at Tullio Arena.

Sherry Bassin (Contributed/Erie Otters)

“He is very healthy,” Bassin said of Varone, who joins fellow overagers Mitch Gaulton, Anthony Luciani and Shawn Szydlowski on the roster. OHL rules allow teams to dress a maximum of three OAs per game. Yet teams can carry more than three 0n the roster until the January trade deadline.

Luciani, a 38-goal scorer, remains out with a wrist injury. With his return date undetermined, and forward Andrew Yogan (shoulder surgery) out until at least Christmas break, Bassin wanted to solidify his offense.

“We had an opportunity to get a good player. We weren’t going to let it go by,” said Bassin, who was interested in acquiring a top center to strengthen the team’s top two lines. “I loved the way he played when he was in midgets. I loved the way he has played all his career. He plays with his heart. He’s a smart player.”

Bassin was comfortable trading from a slew of picks he has stockpiled the past few seasons. Even without the third-round pick in the 2011 draft, he has a pick apiece in the first, second and fourth rounds and two apiece in the fifth and sixth rounds.

- Victor Fernandes

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 18th, 2010

Widespread rumors surrounding the trade of Erie Otters captain Greg McKegg to Midwest Division rival London developed several weeks ago. On Monday, Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, had an amusing response to those rumors.

“There’s a better chance of Chicken Little pulling the string and the sky falling” than a McKegg trade, Bassin said.

In other Otters’ news, Bassin isn’t ready to push the panic button over the club’s 3-7-1-0 start to the season. He will wait until after several injured players return before fully assessing the roster.

The Otters are currently missing forwards Anthony Luciani (bruised wrist), Brett Appio (leg) and Connor Crisp (concussion) and defensemen Brett Cook (concussion) and Mitch Gaulton (hand) and David Shields (back).

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 14th, 2010

WINDSOR, Ontario – The Windsor Spitfires haven’t been gracious hosts to the Erie Otters.

The Otters’ losing streak in Windsor stands at nine straight games following a 5-3 loss in front of 5,901 at WFCU Centre Thursday night. The Otters haven’t won in Windsor since Feb. 1, 2007.

Rookie Michael MacIntyre, who ranks second among all rookies with five goals and nine points, snapped a 3-3 tie 7 minutes, 59 seconds into the third period. Zack Kassian’s empty-net goal with 37 seconds left sealed the win.

The Otters (3-5-1-0), which have lost three straight overall, began the game strong, as Derek Holden and Matthew Paton scored 1 minute, 3 seconds apart midway through the first period to snap a scoreless tie.

But the Spitfires (5-4-0-1) responded quickly, as Kassian scored 44 seconds after Paton’s goal. Kassian has five goals and 14 points in five games since being reassigned by the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. Michael Whaley scored his first goal of the season 22 seconds later to tie the score at 2.

Windsor took a 3-2 lead into the third on Stephen Johnston’s power-play goal 5:22 into the second. But Otters rookie Chris Marchese’s power-play goal at the 5:04 mark of the final period tied the score at 3.

That tie stood for less than three minutes, as MacIntyre beat Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov for the winning goal. Sadikov finished with 30 saves. Windsor’s Troy Passingham stopped 33-of-36 shots.

The Otters continue their three-game weekend on Friday in London with a 7:30 p.m. game.

- Victor Fernandes


Spitfires 5, Otters 3

Erie  2  0  1  —  3

Windsor  2  1  2  —  5

1st Period — 1. Erie, Derek Holden 1 (Cazzola, Szydlowski), 12:16 (pp). 2. Erie, Matthew Paton 2 (Gottzmann, Austin), 13:19. 3. Windsor, Zack Kassian 4 (MacQueen, Khokhlachev), 14:03. 4. Windsor, Michael Whaley 1 (Kuhnhackl), 14:25. Penalties — Cairns (E) high sticking, 6:35; Ellis (W) checking from behind, 11:59; Holden (E) interference, 17:10.

2nd Period — 5. Windsor, Stephen Johnston 3 (Kassian, Ellis), 5:22 (pp). Penalties — Gaulton (E) 5-min. fighting, :02; Tarini (W) 5-min. fighting, :02; Cazzola (E) high sticking, 3:31; Marchese (E) tripping, 4:17; Paton (E) 5-min. fighting, 7:48; MacIntyre (W) 5-min. fighting, 7:48; Marchese (E) 5-min. fighting, 8:23; Webermin (W) 5-min fighting, 8:23; Tarini (W) slashing, 8:57; Ryan (W) boarding, 13:27; Broll (E) interference, 15:07.

3rd Period — 6. Erie, Chris Marchese 2 (Hostetter, Holden), 5:04 (pp). 7. Windsor, Michael MacIntyre 5 (Locke, Kuhnhackl), 7:59. 8. Windsor, Zack Kassian 5 (Ellis), 19:23 (en). Penalties — Ellis (W) holding, 3:23; McKegg (E) high sticking, 5:52; Austin (E) 5-min. fighting, 8:02; Duininck (W) 5-min. fighting, 8:02; Hostetter (E) high sticking, 15:49.

Shots on goal — Erie, 11-13-12—36; Windsor, 13-13-9—35.

Goaltenders — Erie, Ramis Sadikov 3-4-1-0 (34 shots, 30 saves); Windsor, Troy Passingham 3-0-0-1 (36 shots, 33 saves).

Power plays — Erie (2-4), Windsor (1-7).

Referees — Jason Faist, T.J. Foster. Linesmen — Ryan Wilson, Geoff Rutherford.

Attendance — 5,901.

Three stars

* Stephen Johnston, Spitfires (goal) ** Tom Kuhnhackl, Spitfires (2 assists) *** Zack Kassian, Spitfires (2 goals, assist)

Posted: October 14th, 2010

What: Erie Otters (3-4-1-0) at Windsor Spitfires (4-4-0-1)

When: Thursday, 7:05 p.m.

Where: WFCU Centre – Windsor, Ontario

On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)

Greg McKegg (Contributed/Erie Otters)Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points), C Mike Cazzola (4-8-12), RW Shawn Szydlowski (3-6-9), LW David Broll (2-4-6), D Tyler Hostetter (2-4-6)

Windsor – D Ryan Ellis (3-3-6), RW Zack Kassian (3-8-11), C Alexander Khokhlachev (6-5-11), C Zack MacQueen (4-7-11), D Michael MacIntyre (4-4-8)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters play four of the next five games on the road. They are 2-3-0-0 away from Tullio Arena. … McKegg has points in seven straight games (seven goals, nine points). He is tied with Kitchener D Ryan Murphy for the OHL’s scoring lead. McKegg also is third in goals, tied for second in assists and leads with three short-handed goals. … Five of eight games have been decided by one goal (1-3-1-0). … RW Anthony Luciani (undisclosed injury) began skating with the team on Tuesday. He hopes to play this weekend. … D Brett Cook (undisclosed injury) and rookie C Connor Crisp (concussion) still haven’t returned to practice. … The Otters

Zack MacQueen (Contributed/Windsor Spitfires)

have allowed power-play goals in seven of eight games this season. … They rank in the league’s bottom five on the power play and penalty kill. … The Otters have lost eight straight trips to Windsor since a 3-2 shootout win on Feb. 1, 2007. That streak includes two defeats in an opening-round playoff sweep by the Spitfires last season.

Windsor – The Spitfires are rebuilding after losing several members of the two-time defending league and Memorial Cup champions to the pros, headlined by LW Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers), D Cam Fowler (Anaheim Ducks) and coach Bob Boughner (Columbus Blue Jackets assistant coach). … Ellis and Kassian, who recorded his 11 points in the past four games, anchor a young team. Both were recently assigned to the Spitfires by the Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators, respectively. … MacQueen, who was traded to the Spitfires by his father – former Otters coach and current Sarnia coach/general manager Dave MacQueen – is tied for the team lead in scoring. … G Jack Campbell, who led the United States to a gold medal in the IIHF World Junior Championship last winter, has struggled in his first OHL season (2-4-0-0, 4.99 goals-against average, .855 save percentage). … Khokhlachev, the 23rd pick in the 2010 CHL Import Draft, is tied for fourth in goals.

Up next: at London (Friday, 7:30 p.m.), vs. Ottawa (Saturday, 7 p.m.)

Posted: October 8th, 2010

What: Erie Otters (2-3-0-0) at Guelph Storm (3-2-0-0)

When: Today, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Sleeman Centre – Guelph, Ontario

On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)

Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points), C Mike Cazzola (2-4-6), RW Anthony Luciani (3-2-5), LW David Broll (2-4-6), D Tyler Hostetter (2-2-4)

Guelph – C Peter Holland (4-5-9), C Michael Latta (4-2-6), RW Taylor Beck (3-3-6), D Tim Campbell (0-6-6), C Mathew Sisca (3-0-3)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 home win against London on Saturday. … They have lost two of their first three on the road (5-4 in Niagara on Sept. 30 and 7-3 in Kitchener last Friday). … They continue a stretch of five straight games against Midwest Division teams. … They play six of the next eight games on the road. … McKegg, the reigning OHL player of the week, has points in four straight games (three goals, five points). … G Ramis Sadikov (2-2-0-0 record, 2.76 goals-against average, .933 save percentage) has made 35 or more saves in three of four outings. … RW Scott Mitchell hasn’t played in a game this season. He has dressed for only 10 games in the past three seasons. … D Brett Cook (undisclosed injury) and rookie C Connor Crisp (mild concussion) remain out of the lineup. … The Otters were 7-for-7 on the penalty kill against London on Saturday, their first game without a power-play goal against this season. … Cazzola snapped a four-game point streak on Saturday.

Guelph – The Storm are playing the 20th season in franchise history. … They have outscored opponents 12-9 in their three wins and been outscored 14-5 in two losses. … Holland, who signed with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks in April, is tied for third overall in scoring. He has goals and points in four of five games. … Holland, Latta and Beck – the Storm’s top three scorers – have combined for 11 of the club’s 17 goals. … The teams split the six-game season series last year, with the Storm winning two of three at home.

Up next: vs. Kitchener (Saturday, 7 p.m.), at Kitchener (Monday, 1 p.m.)

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 2nd, 2010

The Erie Otters finally produced a strong defensive effort.

After surrendering 12 goals in the opening two games of the weekend, the Otters stymied rival London to snap a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 win in front of 3,456 at Tullio Arena on Saturday night.

The Otters (2-3-0-0) held the Knights in check for nearly two periods. The penalty-kill unit, which allowed seven goals on 18 chances in the opening four games, went 7-for-7 against the Knights (2-2-0-0).

Meanwhile, the Otters scored four straight goals, two apiece in the first and second, to build a 4-0 lead.

“This was a huge win for us,” second-year winger David Broll said. “It’s a really good confidence boost.”

The Otters found an opening through Igor Bobkov, London’s 6 foot 6 inch, 240-pound rookie goaltender and Anaheim Ducks prospect, late in the opening period. Broll turned defenseman David Shields’ pass into his second goal of the season and a 1-0 Otters lead with 5 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first. Thirty-one seconds later, overage winger Shawn Szydlowski, who has joined Mike Cazzola and Greg McKegg on the No. 1 line, scored his first goal of the season for a 2-0 lead.

Then in the second period, a defensive miscue and Bobkov’s inability to cover the puck in the crease turned into McKegg’s short-handed goal at the 8:04 mark. McKegg poked the puck through Bobkov after it slipped out from under Bobkov’s glove. The Otters continued the offensive assault late in the period.Greg McKegg (Contributed/Erie Otters)

Tyler Hostetter scored his second goal of the season, off assists from rookie Chris Marchese and Broll, for a 4-0 lead with 4:58 left. The Knights ended Ramis Sadikov’s bid for his first Ontario Hockey League shutout, as rookie Andreas Athanasiou poked in a rebound with 7.6 seconds left in the second.

London sliced the Otters’ lead to 4-2 at the 2:40 mark of the third, as rookie Vladislav Namestnikov’s shot trickled through Sadikov. London outshot the Otters 14-5 in the final 20 minutes. But Sadikov and the Otters held off the Knights the rest of the way.

Along the way, McKegg scored his second short-handed goal, this one into an empty net, with 1:02 left in the game. He’s the first Otter to score two short-handed goals in a game since Zack Torquato on Feb. 29, 2008, against Owen Sound and the fifth in the franchise’s 15-year history. Sadikov had 35 saves. Bobkov had 24 in his OHL debut. McKegg led Erie with two goals and an assist. Broll and Hostetter each had a goal and assist. Namestnikov had a goal and assist for the Knights.

* News and notes: Defenseman Brett Cook missed the game. He apparently was injured in a first-period fight against Kitchener’s Tyler Randell on Friday night. Coach Robbie Ftorek said he was unaware of Cook’s condition. … Brady Austin has played the first five games on defense. Before the season, club officials said he would return to defense permanently.

- Victor Fernandes


Otters 5, Knights 2

London  0  1  1  —  2

Erie  2  2  1  —  5

1st Period — 1. Erie, David Broll 2 (Shields, Luciani), 14:28. 2. Erie, Shawn Szydlowski 1 (McKegg, Hostetter), 14:59. Penalties — Paton (E) high sticking, 7:13; McNeill (L) holding, 15:56; Szydlowski (E) high sticking, 16:47; Paton (E) hooking, 19:58.

2nd Period — 3. Erie, Greg McKegg 2 (unassisted), 8:04 (sh). 4. Erie, Tyler Hostetter 2 (Marchese, Broll), 15:02. London, Andreas Athanasiou 1 (D’Orazio, Namestnikov), 19:52. Penalties — Appio (E) 4-min. roughing, 6:34; Terreri (L) checking from behind, 6:34.

3rd Period — 6. London, Vladislav Namestnikov 2 (Donnay), 2:40. 7. Erie, McKegg 3 (unassisted), 18:52 (sh-en). Penalties — Shields (E) holding, 4:35; Appio (E) high sticking, 6:45; Holden (E) delay of game, 17:58.

Shots on goal — London, 10-13-14—37; Erie, 13-11-5—29.

Goaltenders — London, Igor Bobkov 0-1-0-0 (28 shots, 24 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 2-2-0-0 (37 shots, 35 saves).

Power plays — London (0-7), Erie (0-1).

Referees — Ben Wilson, Craig Spada. Linesmen — Ron Wilson, Fraiser MacIntire.

Attendance — 3,456.

Three stars

* Greg McKegg, Otters (2 goals, assist) ** Ramis Sadikov, Otters (35 saves) *** Tyler Hostetter, Otters (goal, assist)

Posted: October 1st, 2010

KITCHENER, Ontario – Kitchener doesn’t need Jeremy Morin and Jeff Skinner to beat the Erie Otters.

While both offensive leaders remain at NHL training camps, the Rangers pulled away in the third period for a 7-3 win in front of 6,366 at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium on Friday night.

The Otters (1-3-0-0) have lost three straight since a season-opening win in Brampton. They also have lost nine straight to the Rangers (3-0-0-0), dating back to the opening game of an eight-game season series last year. Morin and Skinner combined for 22 goals and 33 points in the Rangers’ season sweep.

But Morin and Skinner have performed well this preseason with the Chicago Blackhawks and Carolina Hurricanes, respectively. Meanwhile, their Rangers’ teammates have picked up the offensive slack.

Gabriel Landeskog, a potential first-round pick in the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft, scored twice – his fourth and fifth goals of the season. Ryan Murphy had a goal and his four assists.

Murphy and Landeskog scored consecutive goals in less than a minute midway through the third period to cap a three-goal stretch that turned the Rangers’ 3-2 lead into a 6-2 advantage.

Kitchener scored all seven goals on 34 shots against rookie goaltender Chris Festarini, who was playing in only his second Ontario Hockey League game. David Shields, Anthony Luciani and Mitch Gaulton scored for the Otters, which complete their three-game weekend tonight at home against London.


Rangers 7, Otters 3

Erie  1  1  1  —  3

Kitchener  2  2  3  —  7

1st Period — 1. Kitchener, Andrew Crescenzi 1 (Murphy, Akeson), 13:03. 2. Kitchener, Michael Catenacci 1 (Landeskog, Murphy), 14:39. 3. Erie, David Shields 1 (Broll), 16:26. Penalties — Appio (E) 5-min. fighting, 6:12; Lowry (K) 5-min. fighting, 6:12; Cook (E) 5-min. fighting, 6:47; Randell (K) 5-min. fighting, 6:47; McKegg (E) interference, 7:16; Crescenzi (K) holding the stick, 10:43.

2nd Period — 4. Kitchener, Gabriel Landeskog 4 (unassisted), :50. 5. Erie, Anthony Luciani 3 (McKegg, Holden), 8:51. 6. Jason Akeson 1 (Catenacci, Murphy), 18:59. Penalties — Shields (E) tripping, 12:22.

3rd Period — 7. Kitchener, Landeskog 5 (Rieder, Catenacci), 9:15. 8. Erie, Mitch Gaulton 2 (Cazzola, McKegg), 10:59 (pp). 10. Kitchener, Matthew Tipoff 3 (Akeson, Murphy), 15:46. Penalties — Sol (K) roughing, 3:24; McKegg (E) roughing, 6:52; Landeskog (K) roughing, 6:52; Cazzola (E) holding the stick, 7:15; Marcantuoni (K) roughing, 10:55; Rieder (K) interference, 11:47; Melchiori (K) delay of game, 19:44.

Shots on goal — Erie, 11-15-12—38; Kitchener, 10-8-16—34.

Goaltenders — Erie, Chris Festarini 0-1-0-0 (34 shots, 27 saves); Kitchener, Brandon Maxwell 2-0-0-0 (38 shots, 35 saves).

Power plays — Erie (1-5), Kitchener (1-3).

Referees — Darren Price, Scott Hoberg. Linesmen — Matt Gregory, Dave Pfohl.

Attendance — 6,366.

Three stars

* Ryan Murphy, Rangers (goal, 4 assists) ** Gabriel Landeskog, Rangers (2 goals, assist) *** Jason Akeson, Rangers (goal, 2 assists)