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 ‘saginaw spirit’
Posted: June 24th, 2014

The Erie Otters will headline opening night of the 2014-15 OHL season, when they visit Saginaw Sept. 24 at Dow Event Center in a rematch of a Western Conference first-round series won by the Otters in five games this past season. The other game features Kitchener traveling to Owen Sound for a Midwest Division matchup.
The league will unveil the complete season schedule on Wednesday.
 

Posted: April 1st, 2014

North Bay used two third-period goals to rally past Niagara in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series tonight and capture the series. Meanwhile, Peterborough completed an improbable comeback from a 3 games to none deficit in their series with Kingston with a 2-1 overtime win in Game 7 tonight. Check out the final first-round scores…by the way, I finished the first round with a 7-1 series record. Sudbury’s loss to Barrie was the lone blemish

Conference quarterfinals (best-of-7 series)
Western Conference
No. 1 Guelph vs. No. 8 Plymouth

Game 1 – Guelph 5, Plymouth 2
Game 2 – Guelph 3, Plymouth 0
Game 3 – Plymouth 2, Guelph 1
Game 4 – Guelph 7, Plymouth 2
Game 5 – Guelph 8, Plymouth 3
Guelph wins series 4-1

No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie vs. No. 7 Owen Sound
Game 1 – Owen Sound 5, Sault Ste. Marie 4, OT
Game 2 – Sault Ste. Marie 7, Owen Sound 3
Game 3 – Sault Ste. Marie 5, Owen Sound 3
Game 4 – Sault Ste. Marie 2, Owen Sound 0
Game 5 – Sault Ste. Marie 6, Owen Sound 1
Sault Ste. Marie wins 4-1

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Game 1 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3
Game 2 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3, OT
Game 3 – Saginaw 7, Erie 6, OT
Game 4 – Erie 7, Saginaw 3
Game 5 – Erie 3, Saginaw 2, OT
Erie wins series 4-1

No. 4 London vs. No. 5 Windsor
Game 1 – London 6, Windsor 1
Game 2 – London 6, Windsor 3
Game 3 – London 10, Windsor 2
Game 4 – London 4, Windsor 3
London wins series 4-0

Eastern Conference
No. 1 Oshawa vs. No. 8 Mississauga

Game 1 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 0
Game 2 – Oshawa 3, Mississauga 2, OT
Game 3 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 5, 2OT
Game 4 – Oshawa 4, Mississauga 3, OT
Oshawa wins series 4-0

No. 2 North Bay vs. No. 7 Niagara
Game 1 – North Bay 4, Niagara 0
Game 2 – Niagara 3, North Bay 2
Game 3 – Niagara 2, North Bay 0
Game 4 – Niagara 5, North Bay 3
Game 5 – North Bay 4, Niagara 3
Game 6 – North Bay 5, Niagara 1
Game 7 – North Bay 2, Niagara 1
North Bay wins series 4-3

No. 3 Kingston vs. No. 6 Peterborough
Game 1 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 1
Game 2 – Kingston 5, Peterborough 3, OT
Game 3 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 2
Game 4 – Peterborough 3, Kingston 1
Game 5 – Peterborough 6, Kingston 5, OT
Game 6 – Peterborough 5, Kingston 4
Game 7 – Peterborough 2, Kingston 1, OT
Peterborough wins series 4-3

No. 4 Barrie vs. No. 5 Sudbury
Game 1 – Barrie 3, Sudbury 2
Game 2 – Barrie 4, Sudbury 3, OT
Game 3 – Barrie 6, Sudbury 4
Game 4 – Sudbury 2, Barrie 1
Game 5 – Barrie 7, Sudbury 0
Barrie wins series 4-1

Posted: March 27th, 2014

The Erie Otters could learn their opponent in the Western Conference semifinals tonight. If Sault Ste. Marie beats Owen Sound at home in Game 5, the third-seeded Otters will face the No. 2 Greyhounds, with the Soo having home-ice advantage. The Otters would face fourth-seeded London only if Owen rallies to beat the Soo in their series. The Knights completed a sweep of Windsor with a 4-3 win Thursday.
* Devin Williams has proven he deserves to be the No. 1 goaltender until he cools off. Saginaw could have taken the lead on several occasions in regulation, and he turned the Spirit away – including a dive across the crease that kept Cody Payne from scoring into an open net late in the third period.
* The Otters and Spirit went to OT three times in their five-game series, which tied Erie’s franchise record for OT games in a series. In the 2005 playoffs, the Otters and Kitchener had three OT games in a six-game series won by the Rangers.
* RW Andre Burakovsky had a 10-game, goal-scoring streak dating back to the end of the regular season snapped Thursday.
* LW Dane Fox leads all scorers in the postseason with 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists). He’s tied with Burakovsky for the lead in goals. Fs Brendan Gaunce (4 goals, 4 assists), Connor Brown (2 goals, 6 assists) and Connor McDavid (2 goals, 6 assists) had eight points apiece.

Check out post-game interviews with head coach Kris Knoblauch, OT hero Michael Curtis and winning G Devin Williams.

Western Conference
No. 1 Guelph vs. No. 8 Plymouth

Game 1 – Guelph 5, Plymouth 2
Game 2 – Guelph 3, Plymouth 0
Game 3 – Plymouth 2, Guelph 1
Game 4 – Guelph 7, Plymouth 2
Game 5 – Today at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Plymouth, 4 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
Guelph leads series 3-1

No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie vs. No. 7 Owen Sound
Game 1 – Owen Sound 5, Sault Ste. Marie 4, OT
Game 2 – Sault Ste. Marie 7, Owen Sound 3
Game 3 – Sault Ste. Marie 5, Owen Sound 3
Game 4 – Sault Ste. Marie 2, Owen Sound 0
Game 5 – Today at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Owen Sound, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.*
Sault Ste. Marie leads 3-1

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Game 1 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3
Game 2 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3, OT
Game 3 – Saginaw 7, Erie 6, OT
Game 4 – Erie 7, Saginaw 3
Game 5 – Erie 3, Saginaw 2, OT
Erie wins series 4-1

No. 4 London vs. No. 5 Windsor
Game 1 – London 6, Windsor 1
Game 2 – London 6, Windsor 3
Game 3 – London 10, Windsor 2
Game 4 – London 4, Windsor 3
London wins series 4-0

Eastern Conference
No. 1 Oshawa vs. No. 8 Mississauga

Game 1 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 0
Game 2 – Oshawa 3, Mississauga 2, OT
Game 3 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 5, 2OT
Game 4 – Oshawa 4, Mississauga 3, OT
Oshawa wins series 4-0

No. 2 North Bay vs. No. 7 Niagara
Game 1 – North Bay 4, Niagara 0
Game 2 – Niagara 3, North Bay 2
Game 3 – Niagara 2, North Bay 0
Game 4 – Niagara 5, North Bay 3
Game 5 – Today at North Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Niagara, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.*
Niagara leads series 3-1

No. 3 Kingston vs. No. 6 Peterborough
Game 1 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 1
Game 2 – Kingston 5, Peterborough 3, OT
Game 3 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 2
Game 4 – Peterborough 3, Kingston 1
Game 5 – Today at Kingston, 7 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Peterborough, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Kingston, 7 p.m.*
Kingston leads series 3-1

No. 4 Barrie vs. No. 5 Sudbury
Game 1 – Barrie 3, Sudbury 2
Game 2 – Barrie 4, Sudbury 3, OT
Game 3 – Barrie 6, Sudbury 4
Game 4 – Sudbury 2, Barrie 1
Game 5 – Today at Barrie, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Sudbury, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Barrie, 7:30 p.m.*
Barrie leads series 3-1

* If necessary

Posted: March 27th, 2014

SAGINAW, Mich. – The Erie Otters can capture their first OHL playoff series win since the opening round of the 2003-04 playoffs with a victory over Saginaw in Game 5 tonight at Dow Event Center.
As expected, no Kyle Pettit (gash on left leg) at center and Kurtis MacDermid on defense for the Otters, while Patrick Murphy makes his OHL playoff debut on the 4th line between Quentin Maksimovich and Nick Betz.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s Game 4 between the Erie Otters and Saginaw Spirit…

ERIE OTTERS
FORWARDS
Fox-McDavid-Brown*
Curtis-Strome-Burakovsky
Evans-Gaunce-Wigle
Maksimovich-Murphy (OHL playoff debut)-Betz

DEFENSE
Pelech-Raddysh*
MacDermid/Genovese-Abraham
Dermott-Donnay

GOALTENDERS
Williams*
Dansk

SCRATCHES: D Justin Felker (healthy), C Kyle Pettit (gash on left calf), D Kurtis MacDermid (ill)

SAGINAW SPIRIT
FORWARDS

Locke-Kontos-Cairns (former Otter)*
Moutrey-Kea-Sadowy
Lodge-Stephens-Payne
Clarke-Bennett-Addison

DEFENSE
Ringuette-Sefton*
Callaghan-Graham
Orban-Prophet

GOALTENDERS
Paterson*
Serebryakov

SCRATCHES:D Daniel DeSousa, D Michael Holmes, RW Andrey Alexeev

Posted: March 27th, 2014

SAGINAW, Mich. – Here are a few thoughts on the Erie Otters’ pivotal Game 4 win over Saginaw on Wednesday night at Dow Event Center…

* Kudos to the team’s head athletic trainers, including the Otters’ Scott McLay, and the EMTs on hand for getting Kyle Pettit‘s medical situation – the 2nd-year forward’s left calf was gashed open by a skate blade – under control so quickly. Given what happened, it could have much worse. Instead, Pettit was able to celebrate the win with his team in the dressing room after the game.
* I was told the Otters wear cut-resistant Kevlar socks. So it will be interesting to find out if the sock helped keep the cut on Pettit’s leg from being worse…
* Head coach Kris Knoblauch said the gash on Pettit’s leg wasn’t as bad as the injury London G Anthony Stolarz suffered earlier this season that sidelined him for six weeks.
But Pettit will be missed if he has to sit out any length of time. The Otters were a different team – and not always in a good way – while Pettit was out with an upper-body injury, and F Jake Evans was out with with a sprained knee, at the end of the regular season. Pettit is solid at both ends of the ice, especially on the penalty kill and and as the third option behind C Brendan Gaunce and LW Dane Fox on faceoffs.

Andre Burakovsky

* Special teams have been a big part of the Otters-Spirit series. The Otters took control of the series Wednesday night with a pair of power-play goals and a 6-for-7 showing on the penalty kill. They overcame a stretch of six straight short-handed situations by killing off the final five chances.
* Andre Burakovsky continued his hot start to the playoffs with his sixth goal of the series. He also continued building a case for him to earn a spot in the NHL with the Washington Capitals next season, or at least in the AHL.

Posted: March 26th, 2014

SAGINAW, Mich. – The Erie Otters are one of five teams that can close out first-round series tonight. They are up 3-1 against Saginaw heading into Game 5 tonight at Dow Event Center following a 7-3 win in Game 4 Wednesday night. Check out interviews with head coach Kris Knoblauch, LW Dane Fox and D Adam Pelech following a win that moved the Otters one step closer to capturing their first OHL playoff series win since beating Sarnia in the opening round in 2004.
Meanwhile, London can sweep Windsor tonight at WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, while Oshawa, Kingston and Barrie also can cap off 4-game sweeps tonight on the road.
Here’s the updated schedule…

Western Conference
No. 1 Guelph vs. No. 8 Plymouth

Game 1 – Guelph 5, Plymouth 2
Game 2 – Guelph 3, Plymouth 0
Game 3 – Plymouth 2, Guelph 1
Game 4 – Guelph 7, Plymouth 2
Game 5 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Plymouth, 4 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
Guelph leads series 3-1

No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie vs. No. 7 Owen Sound
Game 1 – Owen Sound 5, Sault Ste. Marie 4, OT
Game 2 – Sault Ste. Marie 7, Owen Sound 3
Game 3 – Sault Ste. Marie 5, Owen Sound 3
Game 4 – Sault Ste. Marie 2, Owen Sound 0
Game 5 – Friday at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Owen Sound, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.*
Sault Ste. Marie leads 3-1

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Game 1 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3
Game 2 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3, OT
Game 3 – Saginaw 7, Erie 6, OT
Game 4 – Erie 7, Saginaw 3
Game 5 – Today at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Erie, 6 p.m.*
Game 7 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Erie leads series 3-1

No. 4 London vs. No. 5 Windsor
Game 1 – London 6, Windsor 1
Game 2 – London 6, Windsor 3
Game 3 – London 10, Windsor 2
Game 4 – Today at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at London, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – Monday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at London, 7 p.m.*
London leads series 3-0

Eastern Conference
No. 1 Oshawa vs. No. 8 Mississauga

Game 1 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 0
Game 2 – Oshawa 3, Mississauga 2, OT
Game 3 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 5, 2OT
Game 4 – Today at Mississauga, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Oshawa, 7:35 p.m.*
Game 6 – Sunday at Mississauga, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.*
Oshawa leads series 3-0

No. 2 North Bay vs. No. 7 Niagara
Game 1 – North Bay 4, Niagara 0
Game 2 – Niagara 3, North Bay 2
Game 3 – Niagara 2, North Bay 0
Game 4 – Today at Niagara, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday ay North Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Niagara, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.*
Niagara leads series 2-1

No. 3 Kingston vs. No. 6 Peterborough
Game 1 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 1
Game 2 – Kingston 5, Peterborough 3, OT
Game 3 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 2
Game 4 – Today at Peterborough, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Kingston, 7 p.m.*
Game 6 – Sunday at Peterborough, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Kingston, 7 p.m.*
Kingston leads series 3-0

No. 4 Barrie vs. No. 5 Sudbury
Game 1 – Barrie 3, Sudbury 2
Game 2 – Barrie 4, Sudbury 3, OT
Game 3 – Barrie 6, Sudbury 4
Game 4 – Today at Sudbury, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Barrie, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – Sunday at Sudbury, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Barrie, 7:30 p.m.*
Barrie leads series 3-0

* If necessary

Posted: March 26th, 2014

Here are the lineups for tonight’s Game 4 between the Erie Otters and Saginaw Spirit…

ERIE OTTERS
FORWARDS
Fox-McDavid-Brown*
Evans-Gaunce-Wigle
Curtis-Strome-Burakovsky
Maksimovich (OHL playoff debut)-Pettit-Betz

DEFENSE
Pelech-Raddysh (OHL playoff debut)*
MacDermid/Genovese-Abraham
Dermott-Donnay

GOALTENDERS
Williams*
Dansk

SCRATCHES: D Justin Felker, RW Patrick Murphy, D Darren Raddysh

SAGINAW SPIRIT
FORWARDS

Locke/Alexeev-Kontos-Cairns (former Otter)
Moutrey-Kea-Sadowy*
Lodge-Stephens-Payne
Clarke-Bennett-Addison

DEFENSE
Ringuette-Sefton*
Callaghan-Graham
Prophet-DeSousa

GOALTENDERS
Paterson*
Serebryakov

SCRATCHES:D Ryan Orban, D Michael Holmes

OHL playoffs at a glance
Western Conference quarterfinals, Game 4 (best-of-7 series)
No. 3 Erie Otters vs. No. 6 Saginaw Spirit

When: Today, 7:11 p.m.
Where: Dow Event Center – Saginaw, Mich.
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Series record: Erie leads 2-1
Players to watch
Erie – LW Dane Fox (3 goals, 3 assist, 6 points), LW Andre Burakovsky (5-0-5), C Brendan Gaunce (2-3-5), RW Connor Brown (1-3-4), C Connor McDavid (0-3-4), G Devin Williams (2-0-1 record, 3.44 goals-against average, .879 save percentage); Saginaw – G Jake Paterson (1-1-1, 4.53, .901), C Kristoff Kontos (1-6-7), C Eric Locke (2-3-5), C Jimmy Lodge (2-2-4), LW Luke Cairns (2-1-3, former Otter), RW Cody Payne (2-1-3)
Fast facts: The Otters had a 10-game winning streak dating back to the final eight games of the regular season snapped in the Game 3 loss on Monday. … The seven goals in Game 3 were the second-most allowed by the Otters this season (8 vs. Windsor on Sept. 28). … The Otters are 3-9 when allowing five goals or more this season. … The Otters, who led the league with 170 goals against in the regular season, have allowed 13 goals in the first three games of this series. … Kontos is tied for the league lead with seven points in the playoffs, one ahead of Fox. … Burakovsky leads the league with five goals. … The Otters have outshot Saginaw 142-91 in the series. … Erie has played two overtime games in the series, one shy of tying the franchise record of three set in 2005 and matched in 2011. … The Otters are 10-9 all-time in overtime games in their playoff history.
Outlook: Payne’s overtime winner Monday kept the Otters from taking control of the series. Now the Spirit can do the same with the next two games at home.

Series schedule
No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Otters lead series 2-1

Game 1 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3
Game 2 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3 (OT)
Game 3 – Saginaw 7, Erie 6 (OT)
Game 4 – Today at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 5 – Thursday at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Erie, 6 p.m.*
Game 7 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.*

Posted: March 25th, 2014

Western Conference
No. 1 Guelph vs. No. 8 Plymouth

Game 1 – Guelph 5, Plymouth 2
Game 2 – Guelph 3, Plymouth 0
Game 3 – Plymouth 2, Guelph 1
Game 4 – Today at Plymouth, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Guelph, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Plymouth, 4 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Guelph, 7 p.m.*
Guelph leads series 2-1

No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie vs. No. 7 Owen Sound
Game 1 – Owen Sound 5, Sault Ste. Marie 4, OT
Game 2 – Sault Ste. Marie 7, Owen Sound 3
Game 3 – Sault Ste. Marie 5, Owen Sound 3
Game 4 – Today at Owen Sound, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Owen Sound, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.*
Sault Ste. Marie leads 2-1

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Game 1 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3
Game 2 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3, OT
Game 3 – Saginaw 7, Erie 6, OT
Game 4 – Today at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 5 – Thursday at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Erie, 6 p.m.*
Game 7 – Monday at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Erie leads series 2-1

No. 4 London vs. No. 5 Windsor
Game 1 – London 6, Windsor 1
Game 2 – London 6, Windsor 3
Game 3 – London 10, Windsor 2
Game 4 – Thursday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at London, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – Monday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at London, 7 p.m.*
London leads series 3-0

Eastern Conference
No. 1 Oshawa vs. No. 8 Mississauga

Game 1 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 0
Game 2 – Oshawa 3, Mississauga 2, OT
Game 3 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 5, 2OT
Game 4 – Thursday at Mississauga, 7:30 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Oshawa, 7:35 p.m.*
Game 6 – Sunday at Mississauga, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.*
Oshawa leads series 3-0

No. 2 North Bay vs. No. 7 Niagara
Game 1 – North Bay 4, Niagara 0
Game 2 – Niagara 3, North Bay 2
Game 3 – Niagara 2, North Bay 0
Game 4 – Thursday at Niagara, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday ay North Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Sunday at Niagara, 2 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at North Bay, 7 p.m.*
Niagara leads series 2-1

No. 3 Kingston vs. No. 6 Peterborough
Game 1 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 1
Game 2 – Kingston 5, Peterborough 3, OT
Game 3 – Kingston 4, Peterborough 2
Game 4 – Thursday at Peterborough, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Kingston, 7 p.m.*
Game 6 – Sunday at Peterborough, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Kingston, 7 p.m.*
Kingston leads series 3-0

No. 4 Barrie vs. No. 5 Sudbury
Game 1 – Barrie 3, Sudbury 2
Game 2 – Barrie 4, Sudbury 3, OT
Game 3 – Barrie 6, Sudbury 4
Game 4 – Thursday at Sudbury, 7 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at Barrie, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – Sunday at Sudbury, 7 p.m.*
Game 7 – Tuesday at Barrie, 7:30 p.m.*
Barrie leads series 3-0

* If necessary

Posted: March 25th, 2014

SAGINAW, Mich. – Luke Cairns waited his entire OHL career to gain consistency in his offensive game. He has achieved it at the right time.
The Saginaw Spirit forward had four goals and six points in his final seven regular-season games, and followed that with two goals and three points in the first three games of this Western Conference quarterfinal series against his former team, the Erie Otters. “I’ve just matured over the years, and realized what I need to do every night,” Cairns said.
Cairns, 19, spent his first three years in Erie before being traded to Belleville last August. Along the way, he said, “I’d have a few good games here and there in Erie, and then I’d fall off the map for the next few games. This year, I think, has been different.” He had 16 goals – a career high – and 40 points – one shy of his career best – in 61 games this season.
“It just happened to be good timing coming into the playoffs,” said Cairns, who has benefited from playing on the No. 1 line alongside Kristoff Kontos and Eric Locke.
* Speaking of the Spirit’s top line: The Otters’ No. 1 line of Connor Brown (45 goals, 83 assists, 128 points), Dane Fox (64-43-107) and Connor McDavid (28-71-99) finished the regular season as three of the league’s top four scorers. But they have combined for one fewer point (4 goals, 15 points) than the Cairns-Kontos-Locke line (5 goals, 15 points) in the first three games of this series. They have headlined a Spirit attack that has scored 13 goals in the series against the league’s top scoring defense this season (170 goals against).
“We’ve got a lot of good offensive forwards,” said Cody Payne, who scored the winning goal in overtime Monday night. “At points we struggled in the season, but we’re starting to find consistency. We’ve got a lot of confidence in our offensive forwards. We’re just doing our jobs.”
* Wigle feeling better: RW Joe

Joel Wigle

l Wigle was helped off the ice in the second period Monday after a knee-on-knee collision with teammate Travis Wood. Yet he returned in the third period and was back on the ice for Tuesday’s practice despite some bruising and stiffness in his knee. “I feel fine. … Nothing I won’t be able to battle through,” Wigle said. “Scooter (head athletic trainer Scott McLay) just took a lot at it. (There’s) nothing wrong with it really.”
* Learning experience: Rookie F Dylan Strome has four points in the series. But he was more concerned with a failed clearing attempt that led to the winning goal Monday.
Strome tried to find linemate Andre Burakovsky along the boards in the Otters’ defensive zone. “I didn’t see Payne come pick it off. Obviously he got a shot off the half wall. I think it maybe got tipped in front. I’m not sure what happened. That stuff happens. You’ve got to flush it and look forward to (tonight).”

* Quote of the day: “We go into this series a

Cody Payne

s underdogs, but we love that. We don’t mind that at all. Now (the Otters) start to think, (and) they’re a little bit on their heels. We have two more games in Saginaw. So we’re just trying to hit them and wear them down.” – Cody Payne, Spirit forward

Check out the latest edition of Knoblauch Korner

- Victor Fernandes

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

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