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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Posts tagged ‘ohl priority selection’
Posted: August 15th, 2013

The Erie Otters traded center Luke Cairns to Belleville late Thursday night in exchange for left wing Michael Curtis and Mississauga’s third-round pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection.
Cairns, 19, had 12 goals and 41 points in 68 games a season ago and finished his three-year stint in Erie with 31 goals and 92 points in 191 games. Curtis, 20, a 6-foot, 186-pounder from Mississauga, Ontario, had 10 goals and 20 points in 55 games with the Bulls last season. He has 51 goals and 99 points in 243 career OHL games, all with Belleville.
Bassin wants Curtis to fill the role J.P. Labardo played a season ago – a defensively responsible leader who chips in on offense. Meanwhile, Bassin said Cairns should benefit from a change of scenery.
The deal leaves the Otters with four potential overagers – forwards Curtis and Dane Fox and defensemen Jimmy McDowell and Spencer Abraham. GM Sherry Bassin said Fox and Curtis are set with the team. That leaves McDowell and Abraham to battle for the final spot. At this point, the Otters will head into camp with four OAs.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: August 14th, 2013

Five Erie Otters picks in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection – C Dylan Strome (1st round), D Jesse Saban (2nd), D Cole Mayo (3rd), LW Sean Kohler (6th) LW and Patrick Fellows (7th) – will join 63 other players at Team Ontario’s Under-17 Provincial Camp today through Sunday at General Motors Centre in Oshawa, Ontario.
They are vying for spots on the team that will play in the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, which is set for Dec. 27-Jan. 5 in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Posted: July 15th, 2013

Here are the highlights from a busy day of news from the Erie Otters …

* Lease talks: GM Sherry Bassin said he and Casey Wells, executive director of the Erie County Convention Center Authority, initiated today on a new lease agreement. Wells suggested a 2-year or 3-year extension of the current deal, which has 1 year left. Wells will work on the framework of a new deal before he meets with Bassin again.
“The terms and conditions will start with our existing framework and go from there,” Wells said.
* Otters’ future: Bassin continues receiving inquiries about selling the franchise. But a new lease would mean a new owner (or owners) would have the lease as part of a sale agreement. Bassin said only one prospective buyer has spoken about the idea of moving the franchise, “but I don’t know how serious they are.” The others, he said, haven’t “said automatically that they want to move (the franchise).”
* Burakovsky coming to Erie?: Bassin had encouraging talks with CHL 1st-round pick Andre Burakovsky and Washington Capitals officials last week during the NHL club’s development camp in Arlington, Va. Bassin said Capitals officials want Burakovsky in Erie this coming season. Burakovsky didn’t come out and say that, but Bassin felt confident after meeting with him. Bassin also has heard that Burakovsky has said to Capitals officials that he would be open to playing in Erie. Bassin doesn’t have a timetable as to when a deal will be finalized.
* Prospect signings: The club officially signed D prospects Travis Dermottand Jesse Saban, and is close to signing D Cole Mayo. Dermott was a ninth-round pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection who was being recruited by major NCAA Division I schools. Saban and Mayo were second-round and third-round picks in 2013. … In other news, Bassin said he expects to hire a goaltending coach in the next week or so.

Posted: June 13th, 2013

Millcreek Township native Bryan Sienerth, who played for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite’s Under-16 hockey club this past season, has verbally committed to Miami University, a NCAA Division I school in Oxford, Ohio. Sienerth, 17, chose the RedHawks over scholarship offers from Dartmouth and Mercyhurst.
Sienerth also had interest from other schools both in and out of the Ivy League. “I pretty much fell in love (with the school) as soon as I got there,” Sienerth said of Miami. He credited advice from Justin Mercier, a Millcreek Township native and former Miami standout who has played professionally in the NHL (Colorado Avalanche) and overseas, for helping him make his decision. “Everything fell into place,” Sienerth said.
Sienerth would join the RedHawks as part of the incoming freshman class for the 2015-16 season or 2016-17 season, depending on how well he plays in the next two seasons. He will play for the Penguins Elite’s Under-18 team next season, and possibly some games for the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Stampede, which selected Sienerth in the eighth round of the United States Hockey League draft last month. He hopes to play full time for Sioux Falls in the 2014-15 season.
The Erie Otters chose him in the 13th round of the 2012 OHL Priority Selection. He attended training camp in Ancaster, Ontario, last August as well as the club’s rookie development camp a month ago. He hasn’t ruled out the OHL in the future, since NCAA players can leave school to play at the major junior level.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: May 16th, 2013

Add another major publication – Sports Illustrated – to the always growing list of media outlets throughout North America that have done feature stories on hockey phenom Connor McDavid since he joined the Erie Otters as a 15-year-old at the start of the 2013-14 OHL season.
Sports Illustrated has a four-page article in its latest magazine entitled “The Next Next Next One.” McDavid, the highly touted No. 1 pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection who’s already expected to be the top pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, also has been featured by media outlets such as the New York Times, USA Today and, The Hockey News, Toronto Sun, The Globe and Mail in Toronto) and Le Journal de Montreal.
McDavid, 16, a native of Newmarket, Ontario, finished second among all OHL rookies with 66 points in the regular season. He won a gold medal, and led all scorers with 14 points in seven games, with Canada in the IIHF U18 World Championship in Sochi, Russia.

Posted: May 5th, 2013

Veteran D Spencer Abraham figures Dane Fox and Jimmy McDowell are locks for two of the Erie Otters’ three overager spots for the 2013-14 OHL season. The departure of D Jack Kuzmyk, who recently informed club officials he has chosen to enroll in school instead of trying to play his final season in major juniors, leaves as Abraham as the only other OA on the current roster.
Yet Abraham doesn’t think he’s a sure thing right now. “I’m going to have to earn my spot,” he said. OAs need to be among the best players on the team. So where doe Abraham feel he fits in?
“I can be a depth guy,” he said, who can serve as a mentor to younger Ds like returnees Justin Felker and Darren Raddysh, soon-to-be signed 2013 second-round pick Jesse Saban and highly-touted 2012 pick Travis Dermott.
“They’re young guys coming into the league,” said Abraham, who heads into his fourth year in the OHL. “It’s a tough league. I can show them the way they need to work and the way they need to act.”
* Taking the next step: Defense prospect Patrick Murphy needed to get thinner, faster and stronger to have a chance to play for the Otters next season. He’s spending the offseason doing just that.
A more streamlined version of the Otters’ fifth-round pick in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection looked impressive during the club’s rookie development camp this weekend at Mercyhurst Ice Center.
“I wasn’t fast enough and too soft in the corners. That’s where I needed to step up to stick around,” said Murphy, who spent brief stints with the club the past two seasons.
* Hitting his mark: First-round pick Dylan Strome tossed a strike Friday night at Jerry Uht Park, when he threw the ceremonial first pitch before the Erie SeaWolves game. Strome wishes he was more accurate with his shots in Saturday’s scrimmages at MIC. He scored in the first scrimmage featuring mainly players with 1996 and 1997 birth years.
Yet he was stopped on a few quality chances in the second scrimmage.
Yet on the plus side, he quickly learned how much of a jump he will face from minor midgets to the OHL. Besides being a faster game, he said, “you’ve got to brace yourself for every hit.”
* A weekend off: C Connor McDavid enjoyed a leisurely weekend at MIC. He didn’t skate because he’s only a week removed from winning a gold medal at the IIHF U18 World Championship in Sochi, Russia. Besides, he’s still savoring the memorable experience, and not because he led all players in the tournament with eight goals and 14 points.
He enjoyed playing some of the best players in the world in that age group. McDavid also appreciated what he saw on the ice at MIC this weekend.
“It looks good out there,” he said. “I’m looking forward to training camp.”
* Getting offensive: C Kyle Pettit developed into a reliable defensive forward for the Otters last season as a 16-year-old rookie. Yet he focused on his offensive game this offseason. He has worked strictly on offense four days a week.
“It’s nice to get an offensive approach to my game,” he said.

Posted: May 3rd, 2013

Trent Fox has played hockey with his older brother, Dane, countless times in his life. But those times were in their driveway back home in Thamesville, Ontario. This weekend is different. This time, they’re both members of the Erie Otters organization.
“It’s exciting,” said Trent Fox, 16, the club’s fifth-round pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection who had 15 goals and 28 points in 27 minor midget games with London Knights Gold this season. “It will be a dream come true (if he earns a roster spot with the Otters. “I just have to do the hard work and do the little things to make it. That’s what I’ll do.”
Dane Fox, 19, who enters his overage season with the Otters, has served as his younger brother’s mentor heading into his first experience at the OHL level. “He’s been asking questions. I’ve just been calming him down and telling him what to expect and what to do and what not to do. He’s listening and asking questions. So I know that he’s ready to come out here and play.
Trent Fox didn’t last long in his first on-ice practice Friday during rookie development camp at Mercyhurst Ice Center. He left the ice early because of an ongoing battle with strep throat.
* News and notes: First-round pick Dylan Strome has officially signed with the Otters. … Strome will wear No. 19 as a rookie next season. Defenseman Artem Kuleshov wore that number as a rookie this season. But he isn’t expected to rejoin the club next season. Goaltender Oscar Dansk occupies one of two spots designated for European-born players. The Otters also hold the No. 5 overall pick in the CHL Import Draft this summer. … Defenseman Justin Felker was cleared to resume skating last week after being off the ice for four months because of a compression fracture in his neck that was originally feared to be career-threatening. … Center Jake Evans (knee) should be cleared to skate in the next two weeks.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: April 16th, 2013

Center Dylan Strome and defensemen Jesse Saban and Cole Mayo – the Erie Otters’ top three picks in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection – will play in the U16 OHL Gold Cup May 9-12 at Sportsworld Arena in Kitchener, Ontario.
The annual event features Ontario’s top Under-16 players, and serves as an evaluation and selection process for Team Ontario. Strome and Saban will play for Team GTHL Red, while Mayo will play for Team Alliance.

Posted: February 13th, 2013

Niagara IceDogs (25-25-2-2) at Erie Otters (16-30-3-5)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Upcoming schedule: Friday vs. London, 7 p.m.; Saturday vs. Kitchener, 7 p.m.
What to expect: The Otters snapped a season-high, seven-game losing streak with a 7-4 win Friday at Oshawa. … They lost 4-1 to Belleville Saturday night to fall 18 points behind eighth-place Saginaw in the chase for the final playoff spot in the OHL’s Western Conference with 14 games left in the regular season. … Any combination of Otters losses and Spirit wins totaling 11 points officially will eliminate the Otters from playoff contention. … The Otters have the league’s second-worst record. Ottawa, which has the league’s worst mark (15-35-0-4), has the inside track to the No. 1 pick in the OHL Priority Selection. Peterborough (18-29-3-4) ranks third on the list. … The Otters scored a season-high seven goals in the win at Oshawa. In contrast, they scored 13 goals in their seven-game skid, and rank 15th in the league with 166 goals scored. … The Otters have lost four straight at home by a combined 20-7 score to fall to 9-11-1-5 overall. … F Connor Crisp serves the fourth game of a five-game suspension for a game misconduct incurred Feb. 2 against Sudbury. He was ejected for being the aggressor in a fight with D Charlie Dodero, who was unwilling to trade punches. Crisp is eligible to play Saturday against Kitchener. … G Oscar Dansk (concussion) said he hopes to play tonight. … C Jake Evans (arm) rejoined the lineup last weekend. … C Connor McDavid (22 goals, 30 assists, 52 points) has seen his lead in the league’s rookie scoring race shrink to two points over Sarnia RW Nikolay Goldobin (24-26-50). Brampton LW Blake Clarke (18-25-43) trails McDavid by nine points. … McDavid leads all rookies with 30 assists and trails Goldobin by two goals. … The Otters have lost four of five meetings in the six-game season series with the IceDogs. … Niagara snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 5-1 win in Erie Feb. 1. … The IceDogs have lost 10-of-15 games since losing frontline D Dougie Hamilton, who played for Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship during Christmas break and now plays for the NHL’s Boston Bruins. … C Ryan Strome (29-44-73) ranks seventh in the league’s scoring race (67 points) despite playing in only 43 of the IceDogs’ first 54 games. He also played at World Juniors before attending New York Islanders training camp. … Former Otters G Chris Festarini has a 20-18-2-2 record, 3.09 goals-against average, .903 save percentage and four shutouts in 44 games with the IceDogs. … RW Brett Ritchie is tied for eighth overall with 31 goals. … F Steven Shipley joins Strome and Ritchie on a top line that has totaled 85 goals and 184 points this season.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 27th, 2012

PETERBOROUGH, Ontario – The Erie Otters handed rookie goaltender Oscar Dansk an early three-goal lead Thursday night.
Then Dansk took care of the rest with a stellar 47-save effort in the Otters’ first win of the season, 5-1 against Peterborough in front of 2,344 at Peterborough Memorial Centre. The Otters (1-2-0-0) won despite being outshot 48-30.
Stephen Harper and Connor McDavid, the Otters’ last two first-round picks in the OHL Priority Selection, sparked Erie’s surge to a 3-0 lead. McDavid set up both of Harper’s goals in a span of four minutes midway through the period, and then Jake Evans scored his first goal of the season with 6:46 left in the period. McDavid has a goal and four points in his first three games.
That was more than enough offensive support for Dansk. He rebounded from a rocky debut last weekend, as he allowed 11 goals in losses at Niagara and London. But against the Petes (1-2-0-0), he overcame a barrage of shots – 16 in the second and 29 through two periods – to keep his shutout intact. The Petes recorded 15 of the first 16 shots in the second and had four straight power plays, including a pair of two-man advantages that lasted nearly two minutes. Peterborough finished 0-for-8 on the power play. In contrast, the Otters were 1-for-3.
Yet while Dansk kept the Petes off the scoreboard, the Otters built a 4-0 lead with 15 seconds left in the period on Nick Betz‘s second goal of the season. Dansk’s bid for his first OHL shutout ended on Trevor Murphy’s goal 2:53 into the third.
But Dansk finished with 18 saves on 19 shots in the period. Travis Wood capped the scoring with his first goal of the season in the final minute. Rookie Hayden Hodgson had an assist for his first OHL point, while Nathan Glass added the last of his two assists. Evans added an assist to his goal for the Otters, which travel to Kingston today for a 7 p.m. game.