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 ‘mike mckeown’
Posted: February 5th, 2011

Brett Thompson (Contributed/Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

The Erie Otters’ milestone night nearly became a record-setting night.

Brett Thompson had four goals and six points to headline an 8-2 win against Windsor in front of 5,417 at Tullio Arena Saturday night. He tied the franchise’s single-season record for goals in a game and fell one point short of the franchise mark of seven on a night when the Otters celebrated their 1,000th game.

Thompson teamed with linemates Phil Varone (goal, four assists) and Anthony Luciani (goal, three assists) for six goals and 15 points in the game. They combined for nine goals and 24 points in the two-game weekend sweep of the Spitfires (27-17-2-3) and Sault Ste. Marie.

The Otters (27-23-1-1) watched the pregame ceremony honoring the 1,000th game in the 15-year-old franchise’s 1,000th game, starting with Sean Courtney’s title-clinching goal in the 2002 OHL finals.

Then they watched DVD messages from former Otters Brad Boyes, Chris Campoli and Ryan O’Reilly, followed by the introduction of alumni T.J. Aceti, Chris Berti, Courtney, Mike McKeown, Steve Nimigon and Brad Yeo. But the current Otters didn’t initially turn the emotion into momentum.

Instead, the Spitfires took a 1-0 lead on defenseman Ryan Ellis’ rocket from the left point 3:43 into the opening period. Meanwhile, the Otters failed to capitalize on several early scoring chances.

Yet they finally tied the score at 1 on Thompson’s goal with 2:59 left in the period. He poked a rebound of Luciani’s shot past Spitfires goaltender Jack Campbell. Then 1:41 into the second, Shawn Szydlowski scored his 29th goal of the season off an assist from Brady Austin to snap the tie.

Thompson added his second goal of the night to extend the Otters’ lead to 3-1 at the 4:18 into the period.

He assisted on rookie Luke Cairns’ power-play goal – his first goal in 30 games – at the 7:04 mark for a 4-1 Otters’ lead. Then Thompson recorded his second hat trick of the season and third of his OHL career to cap the Otters’ fourth-goal outburst in a 6-minute span. Thompson has five goals in his past two games.

The Otters’ barrage ended Campbell’s night after five goals on 17 shots. But Thompson and the Otters weren’t done, as he assisted on Varone’s power-play goal with 58 seconds left in the period. Luciani and Thompson added another goal apiece early in the third to complete the best night of his career. Varone’s five points also were a career high.


Otters 8, Spitfires 2

Windsor  1  0  1  —  2

Erie  1  5  2  —  8

1st Period — 1. Windsor, Ryan Ellis 17 (unassisted), 3:45. 2. Erie, Brett Thompson 31 (Luciani, Varone), 17:01. Penalties — Sadikov (E) tripping (served by Luciani), :19; McGuire (E) 5-min. fighting, 5:10; Czinder (W) 5-min. fighting, 5:10; Appio (E) 5-min. fighting, 6:06; Duininck (W) 5-min. fighting, 6:06; Crisp (E) 5-min. fighting, 9:12; Rychel (W) 5-min. fighting, 9:12; Vail (W) hooking, 14:21.

2nd Period — 3. Erie, Shawn Szydlowski 29 (Austin), 1:41. 4. Erie, Thompson 32 (McKegg, Holden), 4:18. 5. Erie, Luke Cairns 4 (Thompson), 7:04 (pp). 6. Erie, Thompson 33 (Varone), 7:54. 7. Erie, Phil Varone 24 (Thompson, Luciani), 19:02 (pp). Penalties — Cook (E) holding, 4:44; Rychel (W) tripping, 6:56; Brown (W) charging, 14:45; Ellis (W) interference, 17:59.

3rd Period — 8. Erie, Anthony Luciani 19 (Cairns, Varone), 4:13 (pp). 9. Erie, Thompson 34 (Varone, Luciani), 9:06. 10. Windsor, Brady Vail 2 (Rychel, Webermin), 14:16. Penalties — Carnevale (W) goaltender interference, 2:51; Vail (W) goaltender interference, 3:58; Windsor, bench minor (served) Czinder), 4:13; Luciani (E) tripping, 11:51; Cazzola (E) slashing, 12:14.

Shots on goal — Windsor, 14-8-13—35; Erie, 13-20-8—41.

Goaltenders — Windsor, Jack Campbell 16-11-1-2 (17 shots, 12 saves), Michael Nishi (24 shots, 21 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 27-16-1-1 (25 shots, 24 saves), Festarini (10 shots, 9 saves).

Power plays — Windsor (0-4), Erie (3-7).

Referees — Darcy Burchell, Dave Gauthier. Linesmen — Matthew Traub, Mike Malott.

Attendance — 5,417.

Three stars

* Brett Thompson, Otters (4 goals, 2 assists) ** Phil Varone, Otters (goal, 4 assists) *** Anthony Luciani, Otters (goal, 3 assists)

Posted: February 4th, 2011

What: Windsor Spitfires (27-16-2-3) at Erie Otters (26-23-1-1)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Tullio Arena

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

Players to watch

Erie – C Greg McKegg (34 goals, 31 assists, 65 points), C Brett Thompson (30-24-54), RW Shawn Szydlowski (28-24-52), C Phil Varone (23-29-52), RW Anthony Luciani (18-32-50)

Windsor – D Ryan Ellis (16-44-60), C Alexander Khokhlachev (28-31-59), RW Zack Kassian (21-38-59), C Taylor Carnevale (28-28-56), C Tom Kuhnhackl (25-24-49)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters play the 1,000th game in franchise history tonight. Former Otters T.J. Aceti (2001-03), Chris Berti (2000-02), Sean Courtney (2001-04), Mike McKeown (2000-03), Steve Nimigon (1996-97) and Brad Yeo (1998-2001) will attend the milestone game. … The team will wear special yellow sweaters with “ERIE” in diagonal letters on the front for the game. … The Otters snapped a two-game losing streak with a 4-3 home win against Sault Ste. Marie on Friday. … They have won four straight home games and five of their last six to improve to 14-9-0-1 overall. … Varone has seven goals and 18 points in a nine-game point streak, two shy of equaling his career high set in 2007-08 with London. He has secured his third career 50-point season. … Luciani has points in four straight games (one goal, eight points). … The Otters have lost two of three against the Spitfires, including a 3-2 home defeat Oct. 29.

Windsor – The Spitfires have two straight to slip into fifth in the Western Conference, one point out of a top-four spot and five points ahead of the No. 7 Otters. … Ellis, the OHL’s defenseman of the month for January, ranks first in assists and second in points among the league’s defensemen. … Khokhlachev ranks second among rookies in scoring. … D Nick Ebert (9-22-31) leads all rookie defensemen in scoring. … Carnevale has four goals and 12 points in 10 games since being acquired from Barrie on Jan. 9. … The Spitfires are fifth on the penalty kill (81.9 percent) and ninth on the power play (20.5).

Up next: at Ottawa (Friday, 7:30 p.m.), at Belleville (Feb. 12, 7:05 p.m.)

– Victor Fernandes

Posted: January 24th, 2011

The Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League have announced the alumni that are returning to celebrate the team’s 1000th regular season game on Feb. 5 against the Windsor Spitfires.

Returning for Alumni Night (presented by M.A. Sprickman Heating & Cooling, Lake Erie Spine & Injury Center, Erie Times-News, IBEW Local No. 3, Sluggers Sports Bar and Grill and WJET-TV/FOX 66) are former Otters forwards Chris Berti, Sean Courtney, Brandon Cullen, Steve Nimigon and Brad Yeo; defenseman Mike McKeown and goaltender T.J. Aceti.

Berti is one of five Otters returning from the 2001-02 OHL Championship team. The native of Oshawa, Ont. played 80 games for the Otters after coming to the team in a trade from Sarnia on January 7, 2001.

Courtney was the hero of the 2002 OHL championship, scoring the overtime goal in Game 5 that set off a huge celebration at Tullio Arena. He played three seasons in Erie, tallying 90 points in 167 games with the Otters.

Cullen suited up in 89 games for the Otters and posted 73 points and 249 penalty minutes in a season and a half with the Otters. The St. Catharines, Ont. native collected 29 points during the 2002 OHL Playoffs, placing third on the Otters. He played professional hockey for four seasons with the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers and American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack.

Nimigon was the first captain in Otters history during the 1996-97 season. In his lone season in Erie, Nimigon picked up 61 points and collected 111 penalty minutes. He was also very active in the community while with the Otters and the team’s humanitarian award was named after him following the season.

Yeo played parts of three seasons in Erie from 1998 to 2001, appearing in 176 games and scoring 125 points. Yeo’s 435 penalty minutes are fifth on Erie’s all-time list.

McKeown played in 150 games for the Otters from 2000 to 2003. The defenseman appeared in all 21 games of the 2002 OHL Playoffs and was a steady presence on the blue line during his time in Erie.

Aceti was the goaltender that helped lead the Otters to their only championship to date. The popular netminder came over in a trade from Oshawa on October 22, 2001 and proceeded to post some of the best goaltending numbers in team history, as he is second in goals-against-average (3.08), fifth in wins (37) and fourth in shutouts (4). He was named as the best goaltender at the 2002 Memorial Cup.

The first 2,500 fans through the gates on Feb. 5 will receive a commemorative poster featuring the players returning for the night. Following the game, there will be a special meet and greet with the alumni and current players and a post-game VIP party at Sluggers Sports Bar and Grill.

For further information contact the Erie Otters at 814-455-7779 or e-mail the Otters at

- From Erie Otters news release

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