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 ‘luke cairns’
Posted: March 26th, 2014

Here are the lineups for tonight’s Game 4 between the Erie Otters and Saginaw Spirit…

Maksimovich (OHL playoff debut)-Pettit-Betz

Pelech-Raddysh (OHL playoff debut)*


SCRATCHES: D Justin Felker, RW Patrick Murphy, D Darren Raddysh


Locke/Alexeev-Kontos-Cairns (former Otter)



SCRATCHES:D Ryan Orban, D Michael Holmes

OHL playoffs at a glance
Western Conference quarterfinals, Game 4 (best-of-7 series)
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 6 Saginaw Spirit

When: Today, 7:11 p.m.
Where: Dow Event Center – Saginaw, Mich.
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Series record: Erie leads 2-1
Players to watch
Erie – LW Dane Fox (3 goals, 3 assist, 6 points), LW Andre Burakovsky (5-0-5), C Brendan Gaunce (2-3-5), RW Connor Brown (1-3-4), C Connor McDavid (0-3-4), G Devin Williams (2-0-1 record, 3.44 goals-against average, .879 save percentage); Saginaw – G Jake Paterson (1-1-1, 4.53, .901), C Kristoff Kontos (1-6-7), C Eric Locke (2-3-5), C Jimmy Lodge (2-2-4), LW Luke Cairns (2-1-3, former Otter), RW Cody Payne (2-1-3)
Fast facts: The Otters had a 10-game winning streak dating back to the final eight games of the regular season snapped in the Game 3 loss on Monday. … The seven goals in Game 3 were the second-most allowed by the Otters this season (8 vs. Windsor on Sept. 28). … The Otters are 3-9 when allowing five goals or more this season. … The Otters, who led the league with 170 goals against in the regular season, have allowed 13 goals in the first three games of this series. … Kontos is tied for the league lead with seven points in the playoffs, one ahead of Fox. … Burakovsky leads the league with five goals. … The Otters have outshot Saginaw 142-91 in the series. … Erie has played two overtime games in the series, one shy of tying the franchise record of three set in 2005 and matched in 2011. … The Otters are 10-9 all-time in overtime games in their playoff history.
Outlook: Payne’s overtime winner Monday kept the Otters from taking control of the series. Now the Spirit can do the same with the next two games at home.

Series schedule
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Otters lead series 2-1

Game 1 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3
Game 2 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3 (OT)
Game 3 – Saginaw 7, Erie 6 (OT)
Game 4 – Today at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 5 – Thursday at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Erie, 6 p.m.*
Game 7 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.*

Posted: March 25th, 2014

SAGINAW, Mich. – Luke Cairns waited his entire OHL career to gain consistency in his offensive game. He has achieved it at the right time.
The Saginaw Spirit forward had four goals and six points in his final seven regular-season games, and followed that with two goals and three points in the first three games of this Western Conference quarterfinal series against his former team, the Erie Otters. “I’ve just matured over the years, and realized what I need to do every night,” Cairns said.
Cairns, 19, spent his first three years in Erie before being traded to Belleville last August. Along the way, he said, “I’d have a few good games here and there in Erie, and then I’d fall off the map for the next few games. This year, I think, has been different.” He had 16 goals – a career high – and 40 points – one shy of his career best – in 61 games this season.
“It just happened to be good timing coming into the playoffs,” said Cairns, who has benefited from playing on the No. 1 line alongside Kristoff Kontos and Eric Locke.
* Speaking of the Spirit’s top line: The Otters’ No. 1 line of Connor Brown (45 goals, 83 assists, 128 points), Dane Fox (64-43-107) and Connor McDavid (28-71-99) finished the regular season as three of the league’s top four scorers. But they have combined for one fewer point (4 goals, 15 points) than the Cairns-Kontos-Locke line (5 goals, 15 points) in the first three games of this series. They have headlined a Spirit attack that has scored 13 goals in the series against the league’s top scoring defense this season (170 goals against).
“We’ve got a lot of good offensive forwards,” said Cody Payne, who scored the winning goal in overtime Monday night. “At points we struggled in the season, but we’re starting to find consistency. We’ve got a lot of confidence in our offensive forwards. We’re just doing our jobs.”
* Wigle feeling better: RW Joe

Joel Wigle

l Wigle was helped off the ice in the second period Monday after a knee-on-knee collision with teammate Travis Wood. Yet he returned in the third period and was back on the ice for Tuesday’s practice despite some bruising and stiffness in his knee. “I feel fine. … Nothing I won’t be able to battle through,” Wigle said. “Scooter (head athletic trainer Scott McLay) just took a lot at it. (There’s) nothing wrong with it really.”
* Learning experience: Rookie F Dylan Strome has four points in the series. But he was more concerned with a failed clearing attempt that led to the winning goal Monday.
Strome tried to find linemate Andre Burakovsky along the boards in the Otters’ defensive zone. “I didn’t see Payne come pick it off. Obviously he got a shot off the half wall. I think it maybe got tipped in front. I’m not sure what happened. That stuff happens. You’ve got to flush it and look forward to (tonight).”

* Quote of the day: “We go into this series a

Cody Payne

s underdogs, but we love that. We don’t mind that at all. Now (the Otters) start to think, (and) they’re a little bit on their heels. We have two more games in Saginaw. So we’re just trying to hit them and wear them down.” – Cody Payne, Spirit forward

Check out the latest edition of Knoblauch Korner

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: March 24th, 2014

SAGINAW, Mich. – Tonight’s wild back-and-forth between the Erie Otters and Saginaw Spirit has left the Otters with a 2-1 series lead in this Western Conference quarterfinal series heading into Game 4 on Wednesday at Dow Event Center.
Head coach Kris Knoblauch wasn’t happy with his team’s subpar defense, while Oscar Dansk wasn’t happy with his performance in his OHL playoff debut – five goals against on 25 shots.
Dansk doesn’t warrant all of the blame. The Otters had breakdown after breakdown against the Spirit, which got more production from the No. 1 line of Kristoff Kontos (2 assists), Eric Locke (goal) and former Otter Luke Cairns (assist) and also had big nights from Jimmy Lodge (2 goals, assist), Dylan Sadowy (2 goals) and OT hero Cody Payne.
The Otters were in rhythm offensively, led Brendan Gaunce (2 goals, assist) and Andre Burakovsky, who scored two more goals to give him five in three games.
Dylan Strome had another solid game with two assists.
But their offensive play wasn’t good enough to overcome the Otters’ play at the other end of the ice. Now they to get back to work at practice Tuesday.
They have plenty work on…

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: March 22nd, 2014

Looks like Devin Williams gets the start in net tonight for the Erie Otters in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series at Erie Insurance Arena. Oscar Dansk, who was considered the No. 1 goaltender all season, seems to be handling it well…
* Also looks like the Otters will have the same scratches tonight – Ds Justin Felker and Darren Raddysh and Fs Patrick Murphy and Quentin Maksimovich. Raddysh spoke with me about the lessons he’s learned while not being in the lineup lately.
* RW Joel Wigle is one of only 3 Otters who have advanced deep into the

Joel Wigle

OHL playoffs. Wigle (Niagara), Brendan Gaunce (Belleville) and Michael Curtis (Belleville) have shared their past experiences with teammates to help overcome lack of experience on a team that was noticeably nervous early in Game 1 Friday night. Meanwhile, former Otter Luke Cairns has experienced a season that began with a trade from Erie to Belleville 2 weeks before training camp last summer and included a move to Saginaw earlier in the season. He shared thoughts on his season, as well as how the Spirit are coping with a tumultuous season off the ice.

Now here are the lineups for tonight’s games (starters to follow):




SCRATCHES: D Justin Felker, RW Patrick Murphy, D Darren Raddysh, C Quentin Maksimovich


Locke-Kontos-Cairns (former Otter)*



SCRATCHES:G David Ovsjannikov, D Sean Callaghan, D Ryan Orban, D Michael Holmes, LW Blake Clarke

Posted: March 20th, 2014

Check out head coach Kris Knoblauch‘s take on the series in this edition of Knoblauch Korner

Western Conference quarterfinals (best-of-7 series)
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 6 Saginaw Spirit

Season records: Erie 52-14-2-0, Saginaw 33-30-4-1
Season series: Erie won 3-1
Players to watch

Oscar Dansk

Erie – RW Connor Brown (45 goals, 83 assists, 128 points in the regular season), LW Dane Fox (64-43-107), C Connor McDavid (28-71-99), D Adam Pelech (9-45-54, plus-52 rating), G Oscar Dansk (29-9-1-0 record, 2.39 goals-against average, .909 save percentage, 6 shutouts)
Saginaw – D Jesse Graham (11-43-54, +3), C Kristoff Kontos (25-50-75), C Eric Locke (26-34-60), G Jake Paterson (24-18-2-0, 3.41, .906, 2 SO), LW Luke Cairns (16-24-40, former Otter)
Fast facts: The Otters finished the regular season with an eight-game winning streak and a league-best 30-3-1-0 record at home. … Brown, Fox and McDavid finished among the top four scorers overall to lead an offense that ranked third with a franchise-record 312 goals. … Erie led the league with a franchise-best 170 goals against, which was at least 17 fewer than any other team. … Erie had seven players with 50 points or more, while the Spirit had three. … Pelech and Graham finished tied for third in points among defensemen. … Cairns had 10 goals and 26 points in 42 games since being acquired from Belleville. … Erie native Brian Allen has served as the Spirit’s equipment manager for the past four seasons.
Outlook: The Otters have a decided advantage over the Spirit in net, on defense and up front. The Spirit also enter the playoffs coping with the recent death of teammate Terry Trafford. Both will be too much for the Spirit to overcome.
Prediction: Otters in 4 games

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: March 2nd, 2014

Michael Curtis scored two goals in the Otters' record-setting 46th win of the season.

SAGINAW, Mich. – The 2013-14 Erie Otters are the winningest team in franchise history.
The Otters recorded their 46th win of the season – a 4-2 victory over Saginaw in front of 4,891 fans at Dow Event Center on Saturday night – to break a tie with the 2000-01 club for the single-season record. The Otters (46-14-2-0) also moved closer to front-running Guelph and ahead of London in the OHL’s Western Conference playoff race.
The Otters move into third place, one point ahead of the idle Knights and three points behind the idle Storm in the chase for the league’s regular-season championship and home-ice advantage throughout the postseason. The Storm and Knights, who have a game in hand on the Otters, face Sault Ste. Marie and Peterborough, respectively, today
The Otters had an early 1-0 lead erased by former teammate Luke Cairns, who scored 26 seconds after Michael Curtis opened the scoring at 2 minutes, 11 seconds of the first period. But the Otters’ offensive attack wasn’t done in the first. Erie scored twice in a 33-second span – Patrick Murphy‘s goal 4:07 into the period and Curtis’ second goal at the 4:40 mark – to build a 3-1 lead that grew to a three-goal cushion on Brendan Gaunce‘s power-play score 7:17 into the second period.
The Spirit moved within 4-2 on Jimmy Lodge‘s power-play goal with 1:41 left in the second. But Oscar Dansk capped a 32-save effort, which included six penalty minutes.
Curtis led the way with two goals, while Andre Burakovsky and Dylan Strome had two assists apiece. Lodge led the Spirit (30-27-4-1) with a goal and assist.

Posted: March 1st, 2014

Erie Otters (45-14-2-0) at Saginaw Spirit (30-26-4-1)
When: Today, 7:11p.m.
Where: Dow Event Center – Saginaw, Mich.
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: vs. Plymouth (Wednesday, 7 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters complete a two-game West Division trip before returning home for a three-game home stand against Plymouth, Windsor (Friday) and Kitchener (next Saturday). … Erie has a chance to make up ground on Midwest Division rivals Guelph and London in the OHL’s Western Conference standings. The Otters are five points behind front-running Guelph and a point behind third-place London in the race for the league’s regular-season championship and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Storm and Knights are idle tonight. All three teams have seven games left. … The Otters can set the franchise’s single-season record for wins, which they currently share with the 2000-01 club. … They also need 10 points in the standings to equal the mark of 102 points set in 2000-01. … They need to score 18 goals in their last seven games – 2.5 per game – to match the mark of 281 goals set in 2010-11. … They also have allowed 155 goals, which leads the league and stands 16 below the franchise mark of 171 set in 2000-01. … LW Dane Fox (58 goals, 37 assists, 95 points), the league’s top goal scorer, snapped a stretch of four goals in a 16-game span with two goals in a 4-3 win in Sarnia on Friday night, including the game-winner with 38 seconds left in the game. He needs five points to join teammate Connor Brown (41-73-114) as the only players in Otters’ history to reach the 100-point mark. … The Spirit are the sixth team in the West to clinch a playoff spot. They are five points ahead of No. 7 Owen Sound and 10 ahead of No. 8 Plymouth. … The Spirit have won three straight games. … They have scored 227 goals, but allowed 221 goals. … C Kristoff Kontos (23-48-71) leads the

Luke Cairns

Spirit. … LW Luke Cairns, a former Otter, has six goals and 20 points in 35 games with Saginaw. He has 12 goals and 34 points in 54 games between the Spirit and Belleville.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: February 6th, 2014

Saginaw Spirit (25-21-4-1) at Erie Otters (39-10-2-0)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: vs. London (Saturday, 7 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters begin a four-game home stand after completing a five-game road trip last weekend with a 4-1 record. … They split their last six home games (3-2-1-0), including losses to Guelph and Owen Sound the past two outings, after starting the season with a franchise-record 19 straight wins. … The Otters can tie the 2010-11 club for the second-most home wins (23) in franchise history. The 2000-01 club holds the record with 26 wins. These Otters have nine home games left. … The Otters can join the 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2010-11 clubs as the only 40-win teams in franchise history. The 2000-01 club holds the record with 45 wins. These Otters have 17 games left. … The Otters plan to hold a moment of silence for Amanda Allen, the 22-month-old daughter of Erie native Brian Allen, who died Jan. 26. The elder Allen, 25, who began working for the Otters as a 7-year-old and served as full-time equipment manager from 2008-10, now holds the same position for the Spirit. … LW Dane Fox (53 goals, 35 assists, 88 points) needs one goal to break Cory Pecker‘s single-season franchise record of 53 set in the 2001-02 season. … RW Connor Brown (37-66-103) and D Adam Pelech (8-33-41) were named OHL player and defenseman of the month for January. Brown had 13 goals and 29 points in 12 games, while Pelech had 17 points and a plus-13 rating in 10 games. … C Connor McDavid (16-52-68) has set a new career high in points. He had 65 as a rookie a season ago. … RW Andre Burakovsky (30-34-64) had a career-high, 17-game point streak – one shy of the franchise record shared by Tim Connolly (1997-98) and Rob Hisey (2004-05) – snapped in last Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Owen Sound. … The Spirit are sixth in the Western Conference. … C Kristoff Kontos (19-43-62) leads their offense. … D Jesse Graham has 23 points and a plus-9 rating in 26 games since being acquired from Niagara. … Former Otters C Luke Cairns has five goals and 17 points in 26 games for the Spirit since being acquired from Belleville.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 18th, 2013

The next two weekends will start proving just how good the Erie Otters are…2 games they need to win against seemingly inferior competition (last-place Belleville Bulls & rebuilding Ottawa 67′s). Then next Friday, it’s on to Budweiser Gardens in London to face the rival Knights in what could be a battle for first place in the Western Conference.

* denotes starters

Evans-Curtis (former Belleville Bull)*-Wigle


Oscar Dansk*
Devin Williams

Scratches: RW Patrick Murphy (healthy), C Quentin Maksimovich (healthy), C Kyle Pettit (lower-body injury)


Cairns (former Otter)-Gaunce-Elie*
Heffernan-Laishram-Bricknell (or Ming) – will be determined after the pre-game skate


Charlie Graham*
Jason Da Silva

Scratches: D Justin Bean, Scott Simmonds, Andrew Ming

Referees: Bob Langdon, Jeff Campbell ; Linesmen: Mike Harrington, Ryan Holmstead

Posted: August 16th, 2013

Here’s what Erie Otters managing partner/GM Sherry Bassin had to say about trading veteran C Luke Cairns to Belleville for overage F Michael Curtis:

“We were looking for a good overager. (Cairns is) a very good kid. I think he was looking for a change. He never said that to me, but he was happy (about the move to Belleville). We had a really nice visit. It’s very healthy for him, (and) it’s a good opportunity for us to (trade) a player that (Belleville) coveted.”

- Victor Fernandes