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 ‘ohl’
Posted: April 22nd, 2014

Now that looked like the Erie Otters club that won 52 games in the regular season.
The Otters finally played their game for the first time in this best-of-7 Western Conference championship series against Guelph in a game they had to win – Game 4 tonight at Erie Insurance Arena. It took facing playoff elimination and the end of their season to bring that out of this team. But they needed something after losing three straight in disappointing fashion.

* Goaltending - Devin Williams shook a subpar Game 3 – 5 goals on 27 shots before being pulled early in the third period – and two first-period goals (including one on the game’s first shot for the second straight night) to make 26 saves tonight.
Williams made the saves he needed to make – and a few more he had to make to keep momentum in the Otters’ favor. He (and Oscar Dansk, for that matter) didn’t make those saves in the first three games.
But tonight, Williams stymied the Storm on a couple of break-ins and a few odd-man rushes to maintain the two-goal lead.

* Responsible defense - The Otters allowed an early goal for the second straight game, but that wasn’t too alarming, even in that must-win situation. This team gave up early goals at times throughout the season, and they responded in typical fashion – blocking shots, clearing out the front of the net and limiting rebounds. They were finally back at it on D tonight.

* Puck possession & hard drives to the net - The Storm didn’t score over the final 2 periods. The D deserves credit, so do a group of forwards who helped out the D with puck possession and patience on the offensive end. And credit linemates Connor Brown and Dane Fox for looking like the players that led the OHL with 128 points (Brown) and 64 goals (Fox).
Brown had 2 goals and an assist. Fox had his first goal of the series and assist. And both had more chances to score.

But now comes the bigger test – Game 5 in Guelph on Friday night. The Otters are 0-5 in Sleeman Centre this season, including 5-4 and 7-2 losses in the first two games of the series. Storm captain Matt Finn said they were a bit overconfident because of the 3-0 series lead. Head coach Scott Walker said his team didn’t match the intensity that they expected to see from the Otters. I can’t imagine that will happen again Friday. The Storm want to close it out that night, because if they lose then it’s a brand-new series heading back to Erie for Game 6 on Saturday.

- Victor Fernandes

 

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 22nd, 2014

OHL playoffs at a glance
Western Conference finals, Game 3
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 1 Guelph Storm
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WJET-AM/1400, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Series update: Guelph leads 3-0 (5-4 win in Game 1, 7-2 win in Game 2, 7-1 win in Game 3)
Players to watch

Connor Brown

Erie – G Devin Williams (8-2-1 record, 2.55 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, 2 shutouts), LW Dane Fox (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points), C Connor McDavid (4-13-17), C Brendan Gaunce (6-9-15), RW Connor Brown (6-9-15), LW Andre Burakovsky (10-3-13), D Adam Pelech (2-4-6, plus-5 rating), C Dylan Strome (2-6-8); Guelph – RW Scott Kosmachuk (9-11-20), RW Zack Mitchell (7-13-20), LW Kerby Rychel (6-13-19), LW Jason Dickinson (5-13-18), G Justin Nichols

Justin Nichols

(11-2-0, 2.66, .919, 1 SHO), C Robby Fabbri (9-7-16), LW Tyler Bertuzzi (8-6-14), D Matt Finn(2-6-8, +10)
Fast facts: The Otters face playoff elimination and the end of their season tonight. … Only four teams in league playoff history have overcome a 3-0 deficit in games to win a series. Peterborough (1st round vs. Kingston this season) was the most recent. Windsor was the last team to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win in the conference finals (2010 vs. Kitchener). … The Otters have faced 3-0 series deficits five times in franchise history. They have been swept twice and lost in five games three other times, including in five games to Guelph in the opening round of the 1999 playoffs. Erie rallied to tie London in the first round in 1998 before losing Game 7. … The Otters’ loss in Game 3 was only their only fifth defeat at home this season (34-4-1). They had won the first four playoff games on home ice. … Guelph has outscored the Otters 14-3 in the last two games and 19-7 in the series. … Williams will start in net tonight. … Guelph’s top six forwards (16 goals, 33 points) have outscored Erie’s top two lines (5 goals and 11 points) in the series. … The Otters are 2-for-13 on the power play with two short-handed goals against in the series. The Storm are 4-for-21 with no short-handed goals against.
Outlook: Either win or the season is over for the Otters – and OHL careers end for overagers Fox, Spencer Abraham and Michael Curtis 

- Victor Fernandes

Series schedule
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 1 Guelph
Storm lead series 3-0
Game 1 – Guelph 5, Erie 4
Game 2 – Guelph 7, Erie 2
Game 3 – Guelph 7, Erie 1
Game 4 – Today at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – Saturday at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – Monday at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary

 

Posted: April 20th, 2014

OHL playoffs at a glance
Western Conference finals, Game 3
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 1 Guelph Storm
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WJET-AM/1400, www.ottershockey.com (live stream), Image Sports Network
Series update: Guelph leads 2-0 (5-4 win in Game 1, 7-2 win in Game 2)
Players to watch
Erie – G Devin Williams (8-1-1 record, 2.11 goals-against average, .922 save percentage, 2 shutouts), LW Dane Fox (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points), C Connor McDavid (4-12-16), C Brendan Gaunce (6-9-15), RW Connor Brown (5-9-14), LW Andre Burakovsky (10-3-13), D Adam Pelech (2-3-5, plus-7 rating), C Dylan Strome (2-6-8); Guelph – RW Zack Mitchell (7-12-19), LW Jason Dickinson (5-12-17), G Justin Nichols (10-2-0, 2.81, .916, 1 SHO), LW Kerby Rychel (5-12-17), RW Scott Kosmachuk (8-9-17), LW Brock McGinn (2-1-3 in 4 games), LW Tyler Bertuzzi (7-6-13), D Matt Finn(2-4-6, +8)
Fast facts: The Otters play the next two games at home, where they are 34-3-1 this season – including 4-0 in the playoffs. … They were 2-1 against the Storm at home in the regular season. … Nichols shut out the Otters 1-0 at EIA on Jan. 18. … Guelph has outscored the Otters 12-6 despite being outshot 63-56 in the series. … Williams could get the start tonight after Oscar Dansk allowed seven goals on 30 shots in Game 2 Friday night. Williams allowed five goals on 26 shots in the Game 1 loss. … Gaunce had an eight-game playoff scoring streak snapped in the Game 2 loss. … The Otters’ No. 1 line of Brown, Fox and McDavid, who finished among the league’s top four scorers in the regular season, has been held to a combined one goal and three assists in the series. … Mitchell leads the league in playoff scoring. Fox, Kosmachuk, Dickinson and Rychel are tied for second. … The Otters, which lead the league on the power play this season, are 1-for-7 with the man advantage and have alllowed a short-handed goal.
Outlook: The Otters have said they won’t be in trouble in this series until they play at home. Now they’re at home, and they have to win.

- Victor Fernandes

Check out the latest edition of Knoblauch Korner here
Western Conference finals and check out what D Kurtis MacDermid has to say about moving forward in this series.

Series schedule
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 1 Guelph
Storm lead series 2-0
Game 1 – Guelph 5, Erie 4
Game 2 – Guelph 7, Erie 2
Game 3 – Today at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – Saturday at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 28 at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary

Posted: April 18th, 2014
Oscar Dansk

GUELPH, Ontario – Oscar Dansk‘s struggles in net continued tonight, but he had plenty of help in allowing seven goals on 30 shots in a 7-2 loss to Guelph tonight in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
The OHL’s stingiest scoring defense in the regular season has been unable to handle wave after wave of attacks from the league’s highest-scoring offense this season. The Otters succumbed to a series of 2-on-1s and 3-on-2s, especially in the third period. The Storm deserve lots of credit, because they capitalized on scoring chances with their speed, pinpoint passing and even better shots. But the Otters need to slow down the Attack in a pair of must-win games in Erie on Monday and Tuesday.
“We’ve got to be better,” D Spencer Abraham said. “We know we can’t give them much. They have so much talent up front, much like us. Their top 6 is amongst the best in the league. … Everyone just has to tighten up. One mistake here and there, and it’s been ending up in the back of our net.” 

That begins with better puck possession, which was a staple through the Otters’ success in the regular season and through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Otters started strong for the second straight game, to the tune of a 13-1 advantage in shots. “They capitalized on their opportunities. We didn’t,” head coach Kris Knoblauch said.
He needs more consistent play from the team’s top line of OHL goals leader Dane Fox, OHL scoring leader Connor Brown and second-year phenom Connor McDavid. They were held to one point in Game 2 – McDavid’s assist on D Cory Genovese‘s goal – and four points (including one goal) in the first two games. They were arguably the league’s best line in the regular season, and were on fire against Saginaw and Sault Ste. Marie. It’s time to raise their game again.

*** As expected, Knoblauch didn’t reveal whether Dansk or Devin Williams will start in goal for Game 3. Yet he did say he started Dansk tonight because Williams needed rest. Williams allowed five goals on 26 shots in a Game 1 loss. But before that, he and the Otters had nine days off after eliminating Sault Ste. Marie in a four-game sweep. So how was he tired?

*** The Otters deserved a better fate early in the game for the second straight night. Shots were 13-1 Otters at one point in the first period. Yet the Storm scored first on their 2nd shot. The Otters built a 16-9 shot advantage in the period, but were still down 3-0. It just shows strong how dangerous the Storm really are.

- Victor Fernandes

Series schedule
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 1 Guelph
Storm lead series 2-0
Game 1 – Guelph 5, Erie 4
Game 2 – Guelph 7, Erie 2
Game 3 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 26 at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 28 at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
No. 1 Oshawa vs. No. 2 North Bay
Battalion lead series 1-0
Game 1 – North Bay 1, Oshawa 0
Game 2 – Sunday at Oshawa, 6:05 p.m.
Game 3 – Tuesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Wednesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 26 at North Bay, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 28 at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.*

* If necessary

 

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 18th, 2014

Western Conference finals, Game 2 (best-of-7 series)
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 1 Guelph Storm
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Sleeman Centre – Guelph, Ontario
On the air: WJET-AM/1400, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Series update: Guelph leads 1-0 (5-4 win in Game 1 Thursday)
Players to watch

Brendan Gaunce

Erie – G Devin Williams (8-1-1 record, 2.11 goals-against average, .922 save percentage, 2 shutouts), LW Dane Fox (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points), C Brendan Gaunce (6-9-15), C Connor McDavid (4-11-15), RW Connor Brown (5-9-14), LW Andre Burakovsky (9-3-12), D Adam Pelech (2-3-5, plus-9 rating), C Dylan Strome (2-6-8); Guelph – LW Jason

Brock McGinn

Dickinson (4-10-14), RW Zack Mitchell (5-10-15), G Justin Nichols (9-2-0, 2.89, .914, 1 SHO), LW Kerby Rychel (2-11-13), RW Scott Kosmachuk (6-7-13), LW Brock McGinn (2-1-3 in 3 games), LW Tyler Bertuzzi (7-4-11), D Matt Finn(2-4-6, +9)
Fast facts: The Game 1 loss was the Otters’ second defeat in their last 18 games dating back to the final eight games of the regular season. … They are 0-4 in Guelph this season. … The Otters allowed more than three goals in a game for only the second time in 10 playoff games. He had allowed eight goals in their previous six games. … Williams allowed five goals on 26 shots in the Game 1 loss after surrendering three goals on 122 shots in the four-game sweep of Sault Ste. Marie in the conference semifinals. … McGinn (43-42-85 in the regular season) makes his series debut after completing an eight-game suspension Thursday. … Bertuzzi scored twice in Game 1. … Gaunce has points in eight straight games – tied for the second-longest streak in the playoffs – and in nine of 10 postseason games overall.
Outlook: The Otters began the series wanting to split the first two games in Guelph. Game 1 slipped away. They have one more chance tonight.

- Victor Fernandes

Series schedule
Storm lead series 1-0 
Game 1 – Guelph 5, Erie 4
Game 2 – Today at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Tuesday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – April 25 at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – April 26 at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 28 at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
* If necessary
 

 

Posted: April 17th, 2014

GUELPH, Ontario – Even in a game with nine goals, five lead changes and four ties, Dane Fox – the OHL’s leading goal scorer in the regular season – was seemingly non-existent offensively in the Erie Otters’ Game 1 loss to Guelph tonight.
Fox never found his rhythm offensively, because he wasn’t his usual aggressive self. When Fox is at his best, he works relentlessly to get into open ice, puts constant pressure on defenses and utilizes on one of the league’s quickest shots.
But on this night, he seemed stagnant. He didn’t move his feet as well as he ordinarily does. At one point, Fox seemed hurt, as he skated to the bench hunched over with what appeared to be a grimace on his face.
He certainly was frustrated as the game progressed. That frustration boiled over in a big way late in the third period, as he vehemently argued a tripping penalty – his third minor penalty of the game – which led to an early trip to the dressing room with a 10-minute misconduct after being given a good bit of leeway from the officials. That left the Otters short-handed for two minutes, and then during a 6-on-4 power play in the closing seconds that included a final faceoff with 4 seconds left.
Fox joins Brendan Gaunce (who took that draw) as the team’s top faceoff guys.
Fox didn’t speak with the media after the game. Instead, he boarded the team bus early. Yet when asked to assess Fox’s late-game outburst, head coach Kris Knoblauch said, “I’m disappointed when anybody on my team loses it like that.”
“Certainly we could have them at the end of the game for that last shift and that last faceoff,” Knoblauch added. “But certainly we have to stay much more composed and focused, because certainly that’s not who we are. This time of the year, obviously emotions run hot. But certainly we have to look forward to our next shift.”
On the bright side, Fox is too good not to bounce back. Expect a much better effort from him in Game 2 Friday night.

*** Knoblauch didn’t want to comment on the controversial tripping penalty against Fox. Then he ended up commenting anyway. “I didn’t think that was tripping at the end,” he said. “Fox was trying to lift his stick. (Fox) was on his hands, and (the Storm player) falls down.”
The officiating was consistent for the most part. But that was a tough spot to call a penalty that was borderline at best.

*** Defenses didn’t struggle as much as the 5-4 score would indicate. Both offenses were simply in top form.
There wasn’t a bad goal all night. Instead, there were deflections and redirects, strong finishes on odd-man rushes, 2 or 3 wicked wrist shots (including Connor Brown‘s power-play goal in the first period) and a slap shot from Tyler Bertuzzi that sailed through D Travis Dermott‘s legs and past G Devin Williams.

*** However, the Otters’ D has to step up Friday, because a Storm club that scored 5 goals on 26 shots in Game 1 gets suspended 40-goal scorer Brock McGinn back in the lineup.

*** Speaking of the Storm’s attack, this game showed how dangerous they are. They have more quality scorers beyond frontline guys like McGinn, Scott Kosmachuk, Zack Mitchell and Kerby Rychel. Bertuzzi had 2 goals tonight, while Ryan Horvat scored the GW goal 6 minutes into the third period.
“The other lines have to be able to chip in and take some of the pressure off the guys,” head coach Scott Walker said.

- Victor Fernandes
 

 

 

 

Posted: April 17th, 2014

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

TONIGHT’S LINEUPS
Starters in bold italics (starting lines/D pairings coming soon)

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

Defense
Genovese-Pelech
MacDermid-Abraham
Dermott-Donnay

Goaltenders
Williams
Dansk

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

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

Defense
Finn-Trojanovic
Leslie-Ebert
Baltisberger-Harpur

Goaltenders
Nichols
Mancina

Scratches: Craievich, McGinn (suspension), 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

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