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 ‘michael curtis’
Posted: August 22nd, 2014

Connor McDavid heads into 3rd - and likely - final season with the Erie Otters (Erie Times-News)

Connor McDavid heads into 3rd – and likely – final season with the Erie Otters (Erie Times-News)

Connor McDavid arrived in Erie two years ago with an immense spotlight around him that seemingly extended from one end of North America to the other. The OHL’s most highly anticipated prospect in recent memory has been as advertised – and more – on the way to being a cornerstone of the Otters’ long-awaited turnaround a season ago and the projected No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
But the face of the franchise – and the league – hasn’t been the consensus leader of the Otters until now. Expect him to wear the ‘C’ in what should be one of the more uniquely challenging season for an Otters’ captain.
These Otters have potential, but they will be markedly younger and less experienced than the team Connor Brown led to a franchise-record 52 wins and its first trip to the conference finals since the 2001-02 league championship season. McDavid will have to keep this team even-keeled through the highs and lows – something he didn’t need to do the past two seasons – while dealing ramped-up distractions during his draft year.
So who will wear the As worn by Michael Curtis, Troy Donnay and Adam Pelech last season?
Donnay would get one, or D Kurtis MacDermid, if either returns to the team for their OA season. Yet no one on the current roster instantly jumps out at me. D/W Cory Genovese and RW Joel Wigle are the most experienced players on the team. But being a veteran doesn’t automatically make a player the right candidate.
Goaltenders have enough pressure on them to be the last line of defense, so count Devin Williams out. C Dylan Strome is a future captain in the making, but it may too much to ask a high-profile 17-year-old to take on that role in his second season.
So upon further review, here are two choices I would make – D Travis
Travis Dermott

Travis Dermott

Dermot
t and C Kyle Pettit, two hard-working players on and off the ice who have the even-keeled temperament needed to provide a calming influence. After that, veterans like Fs Jake Evans and Nick Betz need to step up into a possible alternate’s role.
Ultimately, though, this is McDavid’s team. He has the right makeup to lead the way.

- Victor Fernandes

Up next: The Williams’ era in net finally begins this season. Can he become the next great goaltender in Otters’ history? Find out on the Shootout blog and Twitter at www.Twitter.com/GoErieHockey on Saturday.

* Let’s talk Otters: Join Victor Fernandes for the training camp edition of Otters Talk on Monday from 7-8 p.m. by heading to the Shootout blog. Can’t join in at that time? Post your questions on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GoErieHockey or send an e-mail to victor.fernandes@timesnews.com, and then check out a recap of the chat on Shootout and Twitter.

Posted: August 20th, 2014

The Erie Otters need to replace several key scorers from the 2013-14 team. (Erie Times-News)

The Erie Otters need to replace several key scorers from the 2013-14 team. (Erie Times-News)

The Erie Otters won’t score 312 goals in the 2014-15 OHL season.
That’s an easy statement to make, even with Connor McDavid, who’s coming off a 99-point season, leading the way. The Otters are losing as much offense as any team in the league – Connor Brown (45 goals, 83 assists, 128 points), Dane Fox (64-43-107), Brendan Gaunce (31-41-72), Michael Curtis (28-28-56) and Adam Pelech (10-45-55).
They also could lose Andre Burakovsky (41-46-87), if he earns a roster spot with the NHL’s Washington Capitals or is assigned to the AHL’s Hershey Bears. The Otters have some promising young players – second-year C Dylan Strome as well as skilled incoming rookies like Shaun Bily and Alex DeBrincat. But aside from Strome, these young players likely aren’t ready to become frontline scorers.
So the Otters will need to manufacture goals more so than last season. They need offense from players that weren’t needed to produce as much in 2013-14.
Jake Evans

Jake Evans

* Jake Evans has that potential. He’s had it since being picked in the 2nd round of the 2011 OHL draft. Yet he hasn’t put it all together in his first three seasons, to the tune of 28 goals and 57 points in 180 games.
He set career highs with 12 goals and 23 points in 67 games a season ago. He needs much more production than that to help these Otters win.
* Kyle Pettit has become a key figure on defense, the penalty kill
Kyle Pettit

Kyle Pettit

and faceoffs. He will be a key figure in those aspects of the game this season.
But offense was non-existent the first two seasons (8 goals, 16 points in 120 games), even after he focused more on his offensive game last offseason. He needs to at least double those numbers this year.
Nick Betz has been a grinder on the third and fourth lines in his three-year career. But every once in awhile, he shows glimpses of offensive skill. If he becomes more of a prototypical power forward. He doesn’t have to be Michael Blunden, who improved from 10 goals and 17 points as a rookie in 2002-03 to 46 goals and 84 points in his fourth and final season in 2005-06.

- Victor Fernandes

Top returning scorers

Nick Betz

Nick Betz


C Connor McDavid – 28 goals, 71 assists, 99 points, 7 PPG, 2 SHG (56 games)
C Dylan Strome – 10 goals, 29 assists, 39 points, 2 PPG (60 games)
D Travis Dermott – 3 goals, 25 assists, 28 points, 1 PPG (67 games)
C Jake Evans – 11 goals, 7 assists, 18 points (57 games)
RW Nick Betz – 5 goals, 13 assists, 18 points (66 games)
RW Joel Wigle – 6 goals, 7 assists, 13 points (41 games)
D Darren Raddysh – 3 goals, 10 assists, 13 point, 1 PPG (60 games)
C Kyle Pettit – 5 goals, 5 assists, 10 points, 1 SHG (53 games)
Note: Lists players expected to return

Up next: Pelech has moved on to the pros. So who will be the Otters’ No. 1 D? Find out Wednesday on the Shootout blog and Twitter at www.Twitter.com/GoErieHockey.

* Let’s talk Otters: Join Victor Fernandes for the training camp edition of Otters Talk on Monday from 7-8 p.m. by heading to the Shootout blog. Can’t join in at that time? Post your questions on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GoErieHockey or send an e-mail to victor.fernandes@timesnews.com, and then check out a recap of the chat on Shootout and Twitter.

Posted: August 16th, 2014

Joel Wigle

Joel Wigle

Spencer Abraham, Michael Curtis and Dane Fox brought different skills to the ice every night as the Erie Otters’ overagers in the 2013-14 season.
Abraham, who I thought would be the odd OA out when training camp opened last August, saved his best OHL season for last with a more solid two-way game (8-27-35, +29, 7 PPG, 1 SHG in 68 games). Curtis added an offensive side (28-28-56, 3 SHG in 68 games) to a overall skill set best known for leadership and defensive reliability. And Fox…he only led the CHL with 64 goals and finished second to linemate Connor Brown (CHL-best 128 points) in the OHL scoring race (107 points).
They’re all gone – Brown included (because I can’t imagine any scenario where the
Connor Brown (right) isn't expected to rejoin the Erie Otters for  his overage season (Erie Times-News)

Connor Brown (right) isn’t expected to rejoin the Erie Otters for his overage season (Erie Times-News)

Toronto Maple Leafs would send him back to the OHL instead of playing his first AHL season). Most, if not all, of the team’s 1994s – G Oscar Dansk, Ds Troy Donnay, Kurtis MacDermid and Adam Pelech, and C Brendan Gaunce aren’t expected back.
At this point, I suspect either Donnay (N.Y. Rangers) or MacDermid (L.A. Kings) would be the only signed prospect that could be sent back by their NHL club.
Cory Genovese

Cory Genovese

That leaves D/W Cory Genovese (0-3-3, +14, 91 PIM in 58 games) and RW Joel Wigle (6-7-13, 69 PIM in 41 games) as the OA headliners.
Here’s the long-standing rule about OAs: They have to be among the best players on the team. Wigle showed some potential as a power forward early in his OHL career with Niagara, but he’s been hampered by injuries since joining the Otters. Genovese had trouble cracking the D lineup some night this past season, and even was moved to the wing before Darren Raddysh‘s struggles prompted a move back to the blue line late in the season. That’s simply not good enough for a team that again considers itself a contender.
GM Sherry Bassin made a shrewd move to acquire Curtis from Belleville last August. Bassin needs to do that again, either before the season (where he could get a better deal) or in a higher-profile trade closer to the January trade deadline. These Otters will be a younger bunch with new faces in key roles (Ds Jesse Saban and Cole Mayo, Fs Shaun Bily and Alex DeBrincat).
They will need frontline 20-year-olds to lead the way.

- Victor Fernandes

Up next: The 2014-15 Otters are Connor McDavid’s team. But will he replace Brown as captain? Head to the Shootout blog or Twitter at www.Twitter.com/GoErieHockey on Sunday to read more.

* Let’s talk Otters: Join Victor Fernandes for the training camp edition of Otters Talk on Aug. 25 from 7-8 p.m. by heading to the Shootout blog. Can’t join in at that time? Post your questions on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GoErieHockey or send an e-mail to victor.fernandes@timesnews.com, and then check out a recap of the chat on Shootout and Twitter.

Posted: April 25th, 2014

Overagers Spencer Abraham, Michael Curtis and Dane Fox played their final OHL games tonight. But the Otters could lose X players of this team.
Here’s the list…

D Spencer Abraham (overager)
RW Connor Brown (Toronto – signed)
LW Andre Burakovsky (Washington – signed)
LW Michael Curtis (overager)
G Oscar Dansk (Columbus – unsigned)
D Troy Donnay (N.Y. Rangers – signed)
LW Dane Fox (Vancouver – signed & overager)
C Brendan Gaunce (Vancouver – signed)
D Kurtis MacDermid – (Los Angeles – signed)
D Adam Pelech (N.Y. Islanders – signed)

Brown, Burakovsky, Kurtis MacDermid, Troy Donnay, Brendan Gaunce and Adam Pelech may have played their final games in Erie, since all have signed NHL contracts. Oscar Dansk remains unsigned with Columbus. …

Posted: April 22nd, 2014

TONIGHT’S LINEUPS
(starters in bold italics)

 

ERIE OTTERS
Forwards
Fox-McDavid-Brown
Curtis-Strome-Burakovsky
Wood-Gaunce-Wigle
Evans-Pettit-Murphy

Defense
Genovese-Pelech
MacDermid-Abraham
Dermott-Donnay

Goaltenders
Williams
Dansk

Scratches: Felker, Raddysh, Maksimovich, Betz

GUELPH STORM
Forwards
Rychel-Fabbri-Mitchell
Bertuzzi-Dickinson-Kosmachuk
McGinn-Horvat-Auger
Bauman-Suter-Pierog

Defense
Finn-Trojanovic
Leslie-Ebert
Baltisberger-Harpur

Goaltenders
Nichols
Mancina

 Scratches: Craievich, Stevens, McFadden
 

Posted: April 18th, 2014

Western Conference finals, Game 1
Erie Otters vs. Guelph Storm

TONIGHT’S LINEUPS
Starters in bold italics

ERIE OTTERS
Forwards
Burakovsky
-Gaunce-Wigle
Fox-McDavid-Brown
Curtis-Strome-Evans
Murphy-Pettit-Betz

Defense
Genovese-Pelech
MacDermid-Abraham
Dermott-Donnay

Goaltenders
Dansk
Williams

Scratches: Felker (healthy), Raddysh (healthy), Maksimovich (healthy), Wood (healthy)

GUELPH STORM
Forwards
Rychel-Fabbri-Mitchell
Bertuzzi-Dickinson-Kosmachuk
McGinn-Horvat-Auger
Bauman-Suter-Pierog

Defense
Finn-Trojanovic
Leslie-Ebert
Baltisberger-Harpur

Goaltenders
Nichols
Mancina

Scratches: Craievich, Stevens, McFadden

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, www.ottershockey.com (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 16th, 2014
 

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: January 27th, 2014

Brendan Gaunce

Erie Otters (36-9-2-0) at Belleville Bulls (13-29-2-2)
When: Today, 7:05 p.m.
Where: Yardmen Arena – Belleville, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Up next: at Niagara (Thursday, 7 p.m.), at Owen Sound (Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters face the Bulls in a game that was postponed Saturday because of inclement weather and bad travel conditions. … The Otters’ magic number to clinch their first OHL playoff spot since the 2010-11 season stands at 3 points. … C Connor McDavid (lower body) has missed the past two games. No word yet if will play tonight. … The Otters can complete a two-game sweep of the Bulls. Erie won 4-3 at home Oct. 18. … LW Dane Fox (51 goals, 31 assists, 82 points) has no goals in his past four games. He still needs three goals to break Cory Pecker‘s franchise record of 53 goals set in the 2001-02 season. … RW Connor Brown (35-63-98) has set a new single-season franchise record for assists. …

Stephen Harper

Brown has 98 points this season, which stands two shy of breaking Pecker’s single-season record of 99 points in 2001-02 and becoming the Otters’ first 100-point scorer. Brown has a 14-point lead over Fox in the race for the league’s scoring title. … The Bulls are last in the Eastern Conference, but only 10 points out of the final playoff spot. … They have lost three straight and seven of their last 11 games. … The Otters face former teammate Stephen Harper for the first time since the LW was traded to Belleville in late November in the deal for C Brendan Gaunce. Harper has four goals, 13 points and 14 penalty minutes in 20 games with the Bulls. … Gaunce (12-14-26 in 22 games with the Otters) faces his former team for the first time, while C/LW Michael Curtis (18-18-36) plays in Belleville for the first time since traded to Erie this past August. … LW Remi Elie (18-25-43) leads the Bulls in scoring, while D Jordan Subban – brother of Montreal Canadiens D P.K. Subban and Boston Bruins G prospect Malcolm Subban – has 32 points and a plus-4 rating in 45 games.

- Victor Fernandes