The Majors scored three power-play goals on six chances – headlined by Dylan DeMelo’s go-ahead goal 8:12 into the third period – to rally past the Erie Otters 4-2 in front of 2,218 fans at Tullio Arena.
DeMelo led the Majors (8-1-0-0) with a goal and two assists, while goaltender Spencer Martin earned the win in his OHL debut after being a late addition to the lineup in place of veteran J.P. Anderson.
Meanwhile, injury woes and third-period struggles led to the Otters’ second straight loss and sixth defeat in seven games to start the season. The Otters allowed three goals in the final period.
Before the game, the Otters added veteran center Mike Cazzola to an injury list that includes defenseman Adam Pelech (wrist surgery) and forward Connor Crisp (shoulder surgery).
Cazzola undergoes surgery today in Erie to repair a small fracture in his hand and will miss the next month. The Otters also were without veteran forward Brett Thompson, a 40-goal scorer the past two seasons, because of the flu.
Yet the surging Majors also were short-handed, as they were without veterans Devante Smith-Pelly (who remains with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks), Joseph Cramarossa, Jordan Mayer and Stuart Percy.
So the teams were evenly matched in the opening period, with the Otters taking a 1-0 lead on rookie Connor Brown’s second career goal. He stole the puck at the Majors’ blue line, raced in on net and fired a shot under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead with 4:06 left in the period.
The Majors tied the score at 1 on the power play, as Sergey Kuptsov scored his sixth goal of the season on assists from David Corrente and DeMelo with 49 seconds left in the period. But the Otters capitalized on a power play early in the second.
Chris Marchese turned rookie defenseman Travis Wood’s point shot into a rebound goal 6:37 into the period. Rookie Sondre Olden also assisted on the goal. The Otters seemed to gain momentum from that goal. They outshot the Majors 15-9 in the period. Erie nearly capitalized on several of them, especially during a 5-minute power play that carried into the third.
However, the Otters didn’t extend their one-goal lead. The inability to finish proved costly for the Otters.
Derek Schoenmakers scored on the power play, with assists from Riley Brace and DeMelo, to tie the score at 2 at the 3:18 mark of the third. Then the Majors turned a 5-minute charging penalty against Otters rookie Tyler McCarthy into their third power-play goal of the game. DeMelo scored on assists from Justin Rasmussen and Corrente with 11:48 left. McCarthy also received a game misconduct.
Spencer Cobbold capped the Majors’ win with his first OHL goal late in the game.
- Victor Fernandes