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 ‘Oscar Dansk’
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, (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

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

GUELPH, Ontario – The turning point in the Western Conference finals will occur tonight in Game 2.
Erie Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch is starting Oscar Dansk in net, a night after Devin Williams allowed 5 goals on 26 shots in a 5-4 Game 1 loss – but more importantly, after Williams played so well through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Knoblauch has gone down this road once before this postseason – Game 3 against Saginaw in the first round. Dansk allowed five goals on 25 shots and was replaced by Williams in what became a 7-6 OT loss. That momentarily gave the Spirit life in the series after they lost the first two games in Erie. And that move could have changed the overall series.
I’m not 100 percent surprised by the move. Williams wasn’t bad – average but not bad – in Game 1. But it seemed like the time Knoblauch would consider making the switch. Williams also hasn’t enjoyed a ton of success against the Storm this season – 21 goals against on 182 shots (.884 save percentage) in 5 games this season.
If this move produces a win tonight, the Otters will gain more than home-ice advantage. They will gain added confidence and mometum as they head back to Erie for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Tuesday. If it doesn’t work, the Otters are in trouble.

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: April 16th, 2014

Posted: April 11th, 2014

Erie Otters C Kyle Pettit was back on the ice for a full practice for the first time since having his left calf slashed by a skate blade in Game 4 of the opening-round series against Saginaw. He’s expected to rejoin the lineup for the start of the Western Conference finals. For now, he will focus on regaining his game shape.
“It’s pretty exciting again. It’s been a slow process, but it’s getting a lot better, ” said Pettit, who skated on his own twice earlier in the week without pain. “That was really surprising to me,” he said. “Maybe I’m a little hesitant, but it’s going to take some time just to get back to normal. … It’s what the practice is for.”


Some players watched the webcast Game 4 in the Guelph-London series on their off night Thursday. Some enjoyed a second day away from hockey. But the coaching staff was hard at work, as they traveled to London, Ontario, to watch the Storm’s 6-3 win at Budweiser Gardens. They are familiar with the Storm and Knights, as the Otters faced their Midwest Division rivals six times apiece in the regular season. But the Otters have tinkered with their strategy from series to series, head coach Kris Knoblauch said. Those teams have done that as well.
“They’re always changing their game a little bit, and they’ll change their game when they play us,” Knoblauch said before Friday’s practice at Erie Insurance Arena, the team’s first time back on the ice since completing a four-game sweep of Sault Ste. Marie on Tuesday in the conference semifinals. “You can watch games on video, but you only see a third of the ice. (Watching games live) gives you a better idea of what’s going on. It gives you a little bit better perspective of what they’re doing.”


Looks like the Otters will have a full week of practice before starting the conference finals. Knoblauch said he expects the best-of-seven series to begin next Friday. So he will need to keep practice fresh to keep his players sharp.
“This time of year you can only practice so much,” he said. Pettit is happy about the long break, though. “I’m getting a lot of rest and working on (my leg),” he said. ”


Oscar Dansk

Oscar Dansk seems like a more confident goaltender these days. He’s still adjusting to what he called a “new experience” – life as a backup to Devin Williams. But Dansk has worked hard in practice to regain the form that made him one of the league’s top goaltenders in the regular season. He also has returned to the old pads he used in the regular season.
“I just have to learn how to handle this kind of situation myself,” he said. “A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to get my feel back, getting back in the groove. I’ve felt really good in practice.”
Posted: April 1st, 2014

Finalists for the OHL’s seven major awards:

Red Tilson Trophy (Most Outstanding Player of the Year)
Barrie – D Aaron Ekblad (23 goals, 30 assists, 53 points, +7 rating)
Belleville – LW Remi Elie (29-39-68)

Connor Brown

Erie – RW Connor Brown (45-83-128)
Guelph – LW Brock McGinn (43-42-85)
Kingston – C Sam Bennett (36-55-91)
Kitchener – RW Justin Bailey (25-18-43)
London – LW Max Domi (34-59-93)
Mississauga – C Bryson Cianfrone (17-27-44)
Niagara – LW Brendan Perlini (34-37-71)
North Bay – RW Barclay Goodrow (33-34-67)
Oshawa – C Scott Laughton (40-47-87)
Ottawa – G Philippe Trudeau (22-32-3-3 record, 4.03 GAA, .900 save %, 1 SHO)
Owen Sound – D Chris Bigras (4-22-28, -11)
Peterborough – LW Nick Ritchie (39-35-74)
Plymouth – G Alex Nedeljkovic (26-27-0-7, 2.88, .925, 1 SHO)
Saginaw – LW Dylan Sadowy (27-9-36)
Sarnia – RW Nikolay Goldobin (38-56-94)
Sault Ste. Marie – G Matt Murray (32-11-1-0, 2.57, .921, 6 SHO)
Sudbury – RW Nick Baptiste (45-44-89)
Windsor – D Slater Koekkoek (15-38-53, +44)

Matt Leyden Trophy (Coach of the Year)
Bob Boughner, Windsor (37-28-3-0 record, 1st round of playoffs)
Stan Butler, North Bay (38-24-4-2, 1st round of playoffs)
Todd Gill, Kingston (39-23-3-3, 1st round of playoffs)
Kris Knoblauch, Erie (52-14-2-0, 2nd round of playoffs)
D.J. Smith, Oshawa (42-20-0-6, Eastern Conference champion, 2nd round of playoffs)
Scott Walker, Guelph (52-12-2-2, OHL regular-season champion, 2nd round of playoffs)

Goaltender of the Year
Daniel Altshuller, Oshawa (31-13-0-3, 2.56, .917, 2 SHO)

Oscar Dansk

Oscar Dansk, Erie (29-9-1-0, 2.39, .909, 6 SHO)
Matt Murray, Sault Ste. Marie (32-11-1-0, 2.57, .921, 6 SHO)
Alex Nedeljkovic, Plymouth (26-27-0-7, 2.88, .925, 1 SHO)
Franky Palazzese, Sudbury (27-23-2-7, 2.97, .916, 5 SHO)
Jake Smith, North Bay (23-12-3-1, 2.52, .904, 4 SHO)

Defenseman of the Year
Trevor Carrick, Sudbury (22-29-51, -6)
Aaron Ekblad, Barrie (23-30-53, +7)
Slater Koekkoek, Windsor (15-38-53, +18)
Roland McKeown, Kingston (11-32-43, +38)
Adam Pelech, Erie (9-45-54, +52)

Adam Pelech

Nikita Zadorov, London (11-19-30, +30)

Emms Family Award (Rookie of the Year)
LW Lawson Crouse, Kingston (15-12-17)
D Travis Dermott, Erie (3-25-28, +35)
C Travis Konecny, Ottawa (26-44-70)
LW Andrew Mangiapane, Barrie (24-27-51)
C Mitchell Marner, London (13-46-59)
RW Blake Speers, Sault Ste. Marie (19-21-40)

Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy (Overage Player of the Year)
C Cameron Brace, Belleville (31-26-56)
LW Dane Fox, Erie (64-43-107)
C Tyler Gaudet, Sault Ste. Marie (26-35-61)
RW Barclay Goodrow, North Bay (33-34-67)
RW Eric Ming, Niagara (33-17-50)
RW Zack Mitchell, Guelph (31-52-83)

William Hanley Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year)
LW Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa (39-56-95, 34 PIM)
LW Jason Dickinson, Guelph (26-52-78, 42 PIM)
C Stephen Harper, Belleville (13-35-48, 37 PIM; former Otter)
C Connor McDavid, Erie (28-71-99, 20 PIM)
C Chris Tierney, London (40-49-89, 12 PIM)
RW Spencer Watson, Kingston (33-35-68, 16 PIM)

Posted: March 24th, 2014

SAGINAW, Mich. – Tonight’s wild back-and-forth between the Erie Otters and Saginaw Spirit has left the Otters with a 2-1 series lead in this Western Conference quarterfinal series heading into Game 4 on Wednesday at Dow Event Center.
Head coach Kris Knoblauch wasn’t happy with his team’s subpar defense, while Oscar Dansk wasn’t happy with his performance in his OHL playoff debut – five goals against on 25 shots.
Dansk doesn’t warrant all of the blame. The Otters had breakdown after breakdown against the Spirit, which got more production from the No. 1 line of Kristoff Kontos (2 assists), Eric Locke (goal) and former Otter Luke Cairns (assist) and also had big nights from Jimmy Lodge (2 goals, assist), Dylan Sadowy (2 goals) and OT hero Cody Payne.
The Otters were in rhythm offensively, led Brendan Gaunce (2 goals, assist) and Andre Burakovsky, who scored two more goals to give him five in three games.
Dylan Strome had another solid game with two assists.
But their offensive play wasn’t good enough to overcome the Otters’ play at the other end of the ice. Now they to get back to work at practice Tuesday.
They have plenty work on…

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: March 24th, 2014

SAGINAW, Mich. – The Otters look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead over Saginaw in Game 3 tonight at Dow Event Center. How they fare against the Spirit’s top line of Kristoff Kontos, Eric Locke and former Otter Luke Cairns will play in a key role in making that happen.
The trio combined for four goals and 11 points in the first two games at Erie Insurance Arena. Otters Ds Spencer Abraham and Kurtis MacDermid, who were primarily matched up against that line in those games, is a combined minus-7 in the series.
* G Oscar Dansk makes his OHL playoff debut tonight. Apparently, he didn’t find out until around 5:30 or so. I spoke with G Devin Williams, a Saginaw native, about 15 minutes earlier, and he said they hadn’t been told who was starting in net.
* C Kyle Pettit, who missed the final month of the regular season with an upper-body injurt, says he felt good in the first two games of this series.
In other news, LW Dane Fox (3 goals, 1 assist in 2 games) was considered for the league’s player of the week honor. It went to Oshawa’s Hunter Smith, who had a goal and six assists in two games.

The Otters have the same lineup from Game 2, with the exception of Dansk in net. Jake Evans has moved to C on the 4th line, with Pettit out to the wing. Daniel DeSousa moves from D to 4th line C for Andrey Alexeev, while Sean Callaghan returns to the lineup after missing Game 2.




SCRATCHES: D Justin Felker, RW Patrick Murphy (ill), D Darren Raddysh, C Quentin Maksimovich


Locke-Kontos-Cairns (former Otter)*



SCRATCHES:G David Ovsjannikov, D Ryan Orban, D Ryan Orban, D Michael Holmes, LW Blake Clarke

Posted: March 22nd, 2014

The Erie Otters were nervous during Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series against Saginaw on Friday night. It nearly cost them.
They looked relaxed in Game tonight – too relaxed down the stretch in regulation. “I think we got a little too comfortable. That happens sometimes,” left wing Dane Fox said. They need to find a happy medium now that the series head to Dow Event Center in Saginaw, Mich., for Games 3 and 4 and, possibly, Game 5.

* Rookies Travis Dermott and Dylan Strome got into the act for the second straight game, this time with an assist apiece. Dermott has three points in the series, while Strome has two. Seems like the pressure of the playoffs hasn’t gotten to these young players.

It will be interesting to see how head coach Kris Knoblauch handles his goaltending situation moving forward in this series and beyond. Traditionally, coaches want one goaltender to get hot and run with the No. 1 job. Devin Williams has played well enough so far, but Oscar Dansk is a quality goaltender who has succeeded in the playoff atmosphere (see the most recent IIHF World Junior Championship)…

Posted: March 22nd, 2014

Looks like Devin Williams gets the start in net tonight for the Erie Otters in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series at Erie Insurance Arena. Oscar Dansk, who was considered the No. 1 goaltender all season, seems to be handling it well…
* Also looks like the Otters will have the same scratches tonight – Ds Justin Felker and Darren Raddysh and Fs Patrick Murphy and Quentin Maksimovich. Raddysh spoke with me about the lessons he’s learned while not being in the lineup lately.
* RW Joel Wigle is one of only 3 Otters who have advanced deep into the

Joel Wigle

OHL playoffs. Wigle (Niagara), Brendan Gaunce (Belleville) and Michael Curtis (Belleville) have shared their past experiences with teammates to help overcome lack of experience on a team that was noticeably nervous early in Game 1 Friday night. Meanwhile, former Otter Luke Cairns has experienced a season that began with a trade from Erie to Belleville 2 weeks before training camp last summer and included a move to Saginaw earlier in the season. He shared thoughts on his season, as well as how the Spirit are coping with a tumultuous season off the ice.

Now here are the lineups for tonight’s games (starters to follow):




SCRATCHES: D Justin Felker, RW Patrick Murphy, D Darren Raddysh, C Quentin Maksimovich


Locke-Kontos-Cairns (former Otter)*



SCRATCHES:G David Ovsjannikov, D Sean Callaghan, D Ryan Orban, D Michael Holmes, LW Blake Clarke

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