Greg McKegg made sure of that.
The Otters captain redirected rookie Adam Pelech’s pass past Sudbury goaltender Alain Valiquette 1 minute, 2 seconds into overtime to seal Erie’s 3-2 win in front of 3,987 at Tullio Arena on Saturday night.
With the victory, the Otters head into the Christmas break with a 17-16-1-1 record.
“We know we can win now,” McKegg said. “We’ve beaten the best teams.”
The Otters controlled play in the opening period. They enjoyed continued stretches in the offensive zone.
But Valiquette stymied the Otters every time. Valiquette stopped all 12 shots he faced in the period.
Meanwhile, Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov stopped all seven shots in the period.
Sadikov and Valiquette remained in the spotlight during the opening half of the second period.
But a faceoff win late in the period allowed the Wolves (11-20-2-0) to score the game’s first goal. Michael Sgarbossa deflected Ryan Hanes’ shot from the blue line past Sadikov with 7:25 left in the period. Sgarbossa set up the scoring play by winning the faceoff and then crashing the net. He has four goals and five points in three games since being acquired from Saginaw last week in the John McFarland trade.
Otters defenseman David Shields matched Sgarbossa’s goal less than four minutes later. His point shot slipped through Valiquette for Shields’ third goal of the season. McKegg and rookie Macaulay McDonnell assisted on the goal with 4:02 left in the period.
The teams headed into the third still tied at 1 – just like the Otters and Brampton did Friday night.
Unlike Erie’s 2-1 loss to the Battalion, the Otters took a one-goal lead on Derek Holden’s power-play goal 4:07 into the period. Anthony Luciani and Phil Varone assisted on Holden’s third goal of the season.
Yet Sgarbossa’s second goal of the night and 12th goal of the season – a rebound of his own shot in front of Sadikov – tied the score at 2 with 7:18 left. But McKegg’s heroics ended the first half on a high note.
“It’s definitely huge,” Shields said. “We’re coming back hard (in the second half).”
* News and notes: The Otters finish the half tied for fifth in the Western Conference. … Sadikov joins Team Russia on Sunday in Jamestown, N.Y., for an evaluation camp leading into the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, which begins Dec. 26 in Buffalo. If Sadikov makes the team, the Otters would be without him for the start of the second half. The Otters return to action Dec. 28 in Plymouth. … Defenseman Brady Austin, who missed Friday’s game, replaced winger Jordan Coccimiglio in the lineup. … Coach Robbie Ftorek’s Hoses team defeated assistant coach Peter Sidorkiewicz’s Guns 9-3 in the inaugural Guns & Hoses Charity Hockey Game at Tullio on Saturday. Team captains John Sorge (Hoses) and Rick Skonieczka (Guns) from the game, which benefited the Children’s Advocacy Center of Erie County, dropped a ceremonial first puck before the Otters’ game.
- Victor Fernandes
Otters 3, Wolves 2 (OT)
Sudbury 0 1 1 0 — 2
Erie 0 1 1 1 — 3
1st Period — None. Penalties — Erie, too many men (served by McDonnell), 3:46; Silk (S) boarding, 3:46; Dodero (S) hooking, 5:38; Marchese (E) unsportsmanlike conduct, 10:59; Silk (S) unsportsmanlike conduct, 10:59; Appio (E) 5-min. fighting, 11:01; Hanes (S) 5-min. fighting, 11:01; Cook (E) interference, 11:25; Sefton (S) slashing, 11:25; McKegg (E) interference, 15:32; Sefton (S) high sticking, 19:31.
2nd Period — 1. Sudbury, Michael Sgarbossa 11 (Hanes, Jambrosich), 12:35. 2. Erie, David Shields 3 (McKegg, McDonnell), 15:58. Penalties — Pelech (E) tripping, 1:58.
3rd Period — 3. Erie, Derek Holden 3 (Luciani, Varone), 4:07 (pp). 4. Sudbury, Sgarbossa 12 (Lomas), 12:42. Penalties — Sgarbossa (S) hooking, 3:55; Sgarbossa (S) high sticking, 7:34; Appio (E) 5-min. fighting, 15:07; Sefton (S) 5-min. fighting, 15:07.
Overtime — 5. Erie, Greg McKegg 25 (Pelech), 1:02. Penalties — None.
Shots on goal — Sudbury, 7-12-4-0—23; Erie, 12-13-1—34.
Goaltenders — Sudbury, Alain Valiquette 11-15-2-0 (34 shots, 31 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 17-12-1-1 (23 shots, 21 saves).
Power plays — Sudbury (0-2), Erie (1-4).
Referees — Bob Langdon, Dave Gauthier. Linesmen — Daryl Wolfe, Jesse Wilmot.
Attendance — 3,987.
* Greg McKegg, Otters (GW goal, assist) ** David Shields, Otters (goal) *** Michael Sgarbossa, Wolves (2 goals)