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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Posted: December 17th, 2010

What: Sudbury Wolves (11-20-1-0) at Erie Otters (16-16-1-1)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Tullio Arena

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

Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (24 goals, 27 assists, 51 points), RW Shawn Szydlowski (17-15-32), RW Anthony Luciani (13-17-30), G Ramis Sadikov (16-11-1-1 record, 2.92 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, 2 shutouts), C Phil Varone (12-13-25)

Sudbury – LW Mike Lomas (17-15-32), LW Michael MacDonald (12-15-17), D Josh McFadden (6-20-26), C Michael Sgarbossa (10-14-24), D Frank Corrado (2-14-16)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters have a 3-3 record in December after posting a 9-3 mark in November. … They look to split the two-game season series after losing to the Wolves 3-1 in Sudbury Oct. 23. … The Otters have nearly identical home (8-8-0-1) and road (8-8-1-0) records. They have dropped their last two home games. … They are third in the OHL on the power play (22.5 percent), two spots ahead of the Wolves (21.4). … The Otters have dropped to 16th on the penalty kill (78.5). … Before the game, coach Robbie Ftorek and assistant Peter Sidorkiewicz will serve as coaches in the inaugural Guns & Hoses Charity Hockey Game. The 4 p.m. game features local police officers facing local firefighters/EMS and paramedics in a game that benefits the Children’s Advocacy Center of Erie County.

Sudbury – The Wolves will play without leading scorer Marcus Foligno (15-18-33), who remains with Team Canada to prepare for the IIHF World Junior Championship, which begins Dec. 26 in Buffalo. … The Wolves traded former No. 1 pick John McFarland and veteran D Ben Chiarot to Saginaw last week for Sgarbossa, LW Alex Racino and D Frank Schumacher. … Sgarbossa has three goals and four points in two games with the Wolves. … The Wolves rank in the league’s bottom five in goals scored (91) and goals against (133). … They enter tonight’s game off a 9-3 loss to Mississauga St. Michael’s.

Up next: at Plymouth (Dec. 28, 2 p.m.), at Saginaw (Dec. 29, 7:11 p.m.)

– Victor Fernandes

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 12th, 2010

What: London Knights (10-5-2-1) at Erie Otters (7-13-1-0)

When: Saturday, 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 (7-10-1-0 record, 2.97 goals-against average, .910 save percentage, 1 shutout), RW Shawn Szydlowski (7-11-18), D Tyler Hostetter (4-13-17), RW Anthony Luciani (4-3-7 in 7 games)

London – RW Vladislav Namestnikov (9-15-24), C Daniel Erlich (7-14-21), RW Jared Knight (7-12-19), LW Michael MacDonald (5-11-16), RW Seth Griffith (4-11-15)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters have split the first eight games of a key nine-game stretch that concludes tonight with the last of eight home games. … They are 4-7-0-0 at home, which ranks near the bottom in the OHL, despite outscoring opponents 37-34. … The Otters and Knights split the first two games of their six-game season series. Erie won 5-2 at home Oct. 2 and lost 5-3 in London Oct. 15. … Varone faces his former team for the first time since being traded to the Otters three weeks ago. … Hostetter and the Knights’ Michael D’Orazio (4-13-17) are tied for second overall in scoring by defensemen. Hostetter has multi-point outings in three of his last four games. … Sadikov has started 11 straight games.

London – The Knights have lost six of their last 10 games. But they enter tonight’s game off an 8-1 home win against Barrie on Friday. … D’Orazio completes a two-game suspension tonight. He earned a game misconduct in Wednesday’s overtime loss at Windsor for being in a second fight during the same stoppage. … The Knights have played 12 of their first 18 games at home. They are 2-3-1-0 on the road. … Their once vaunted power play stands 15th in the league at 17 percent (18-for-106).

Up next: at Peterborough (Thursday, 7 p.m.), at Oshawa (Friday, 7:35 p.m.)

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 21st, 2010

Toronto – The Canadian Hockey League in association with the Ontario Hockey League, London Knights and Sudbury Wolves announced on Thursday the rosters for Team OHL that will compete against Team Russia in the 2010 SUBWAY® Super Series.

Following two games hosted in the QMJHL, the OHL leg of the six-game series begins in London on Nov. 11 at the John Labatt Centre before moving north to the Sudbury Community Arena on Nov. 15.  Erie Otters captain Greg McKegg will play in the Nov. 15 game.

The series then shifts west for two games hosted in the WHL.

“The SUBWAY® Super Series provides these players with a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate that they can compete amongst the best players eligible for the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship,” said Dave Cameron of the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, who will serve as head voach of both Team OHL and Team Canada.  “The OHL has had a lot of success against the Russians in this event and I am confident that we have assembled another strong group of players in all positions that will make us competitive in these games, and with players who will make a strong push to represent the OHL on Team Canada in Buffalo this December.”

A total of 36 players in total were selected for Team OHL rosters, including 2010 Team Canada members Calvin de Haan of the Oshawa Generals and Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires who won silver last year at the IIHF World Junior Championship.

The rosters are also highlighted by three first round picks in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, including Erik Gudbranson of the Kingston Frontenacs, Joey Hishon of the Owen Sound Attack and Mark Visentin of the Niagara IceDogs.

In addition to de Haan and Ellis, 2009 first-round picks Peter Holland of the Guelph Storm and Zack Kassian of the Spitfires will compete in the series.  London’s Scott Harrington is one of seven players competing that are eligible for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.  He will represent the host Knights in London alongside forward Michael MacDonald, while Wolves forwards Marcus Foligno and John McFarland will represent the host team in Sudbury.

The Team OHL rosters were assembled by a selection committee that includes Brampton Battalion general manager and coach Stan Butler and London general manager Mark Hunter.  They worked in conjunction with Hockey Canada head scout Kevin Prendergast.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: October 14th, 2010

What: Erie Otters (3-5-1-0) at London Knights (4-2-0-0)

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: John Labatt Centre – London, Ontario

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

Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points), C Mike Cazzola (4-9-13), RW Shawn Szydlowski (3-7-10), LW David Broll (2-4-6), D Tyler Hostetter (2-5-7)

London – RW Vladislav Namestnikov (3-5-8), RW Jared Knight (4-2-6), RW Seth Griffith (0-6-6), LW Michael MacDonald (2-2-4), C Daniel Erlich (1-2-3)

Fast facts

Erie – A night after losing for the ninth straight time in Windsor, the Otters look to snap an 18-game losing streak and 23-game winless skid in London. The Otters’ last win in London was on Dec. 27, 2002 – their first visit to John Labatt Centre. … They are 2-4-0-0 on the road this season. … They have won two straight overall against the Knights, including a 5-2 home win on Oct. 2. … McKegg’s seven-game point streak ended in Windsor on Thursday. … Szydlowski has points in five straight games (three goals, eight points). … The Otters remain without RW Anthony Luciani (undisclosed injury), D Brett Cook (undisclosed injury) and rookie C Connor Crisp (concussion). Crisp, a second-round pick in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection, still hasn’t made his OHL debut. … D David Shields and LW Brett Appio also missed Thursday’s game. … Rookie D Mark Gazdic and RW Scott Mitchell (season debut) replaced them in the lineup. … The Otters have allowed power-play goals in eight of nine games this season.

London – The Knights have scored a league-low 19 goals, but are third best in goals against (18). … They followed their loss to the Otters with a 3-0 home win against Belleville and 5-4 shootout win in Windsor last weekend. … G Michael Houser, who backed up rookie Igor Bobkov in the loss to the Otters, earned his first OHL shutout in the win against Belleville. Houser has a 4-1-0-0 record, 2.29 goals-against average and .929 save percentage in five games this season. … C Phil Varone, who missed half of last season with a shoulder injury, has missed the past two games since reportedly injuring his knee against the Otters. … The Knights have a league-low 99 penalty minutes.

Up next: vs. Ottawa (Saturday, 7 p.m.), at Sault Ste. Marie (Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m.)

- Victor Fernandes

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