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: March 23rd, 2014

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

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

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 – Today at Owen Sound, 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Wednesday 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 – April 1 at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07 p.m.*
Series tied 1-1

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Game 1 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3
Game 2 – Erie 4, Saginaw 3, OT
Game 3 – Today at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 4 – Wednesday 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 – March 31 at Erie, 7 p.m.*
Erie leads series 2-0

No. 4 London vs. No. 5 Windsor
Game 1 – London 6, Windsor 1
Game 2 – London 6, Windsor 3
Game 3 – Tuesday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4 – Thursday at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5 – Friday at London, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6 – March 31 at Windsor, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 1 at London, 7 p.m.*
London leads series 2-0

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

Game 1 – Oshawa 6, Mississauga 0
Game 2 – Oshawa 3, Mississauga 2, OT
Game 3 – Tuesday at Mississauga, 7:30 p.m.
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 – April 1 at Oshawa, 7:05 p.m.*
Oshawa leads series 2-0

No. 2 North Bay vs. No. 7 Niagara
Game 1 – North Bay 4, Niagara 0
Game 2 – Niagara 3, North Bay 2
Game 3 – Tuesday at Niagara, 7 p.m.
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 – April 1 at North Bay, 7 p.m.*
Series tied 1-1

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

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

* If necessary

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):

ERIE OTTERS
FORWARDS
Fox-McDavid-Brown
Burakovsky-Gaunce-Wigle*
Curtis-Strome-Wood
Evans-Pettit-Betz

DEFENSE
Genovese-Pelech
MacDermid-Abraham*
Dermott-Donnay

GOALTENDERS
Williams*
Dansk

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

SAGINAW SPIRIT
FORWARDS

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

DEFENSE
Ringuette-Sefton
Orban-Graham*
Prophet-DeSousa*

GOALTENDERS
Paterson*
Serebryakov

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

Posted: March 21st, 2014

Now that I have a few moments to think about the back-and-forth affair that was Game 1 of the Erie Otters’ Western Conference quarterfinal series with Saginaw, here’s a few random thoughts…

* The Otters are set to stay in Erie through the 2018-19 season. It’s amazing how much has changed in the past 2 years, starting with the on-ice success and remodeled arena. It seemed like all the talk around this franchise was centered on the relocation rumors. There hasn’t been a word of that all season long. And perhaps, we won’t be talking about that for at least the next 5 years.
* Playoff jitters were obvious, but the players that seemed to overcome that really well were the rookies, namely Dylan Strome and Travis Dermott. They seemed to be comfortable in that electrified atmosphere. They also contributed three assists in the win.
Travis Wood isn’t a rookie, but he turned in a solid performance in his first postseason game. He used his speed and physicality to draw a penalty that led to a power-play goal.
* The Otters need to do a more consistent job of starting games faster. As G Devin Williams said, this team has been in that situation before, and they have overcome them multiple times. But that 2-0 first-period deficit will be much more difficult to overcome later in the postseason.
* It’s official (at least in my mind) – Andre

Andre Burakovsky

Burakovsky has the quickest shot in the OHL. As strong as Spirit G Jake Paterson was tonight (44 saves), he had no chance to stop Burakovsky’s quick release and accurate wrist shot on the tying goal early in the third period.
* Kudos to the Spirit, who have been throughout a difficult time off the ice but turned in an effort that was good enough to win, if not for the Otters’ potent power play, capped by Dane Fox‘s game-winner.
* Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch hinted at starting Williams in Game 2 Saturday night. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes with Oscar Dansk.
Knoblauch thinks things through, but he also seems to go off feel and hunches as well. I figured he would start Dansk in Game 1, since Knoblauch often said that Dansk is his No. 1 goaltender. But Dansk was pulled from two games late in the regular season, while Williams played well down the stretch. So Knoblauch went with Williams, and more importantly, stuck with him after the two early goals against.
* I’m not surprised that Knoblauch chose Cory Genovese over Darren Raddysh on defense. Raddysh is an up-and-coming player, but Genovese has past playoff experience. You want to have as much experience on the back end as possible at playoff time.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: March 21st, 2014

The Erie Otters are facing their first OHL playoff game in three years tonight, when they face Saginaw in Game 1 of a Western Conference first-round series tonight at Erie Insurance Arena. I figured they would be excited, and they are. I also figured they would be nervous. But they don’t see to be.
Rookie Dylan Strome appeared calm to make his OHL debut. Same goes for captain Connor Brown said the team was focused and ready to play.
It will be interesting to see how the Spirit react to the start of the playoffs. It’s been a tumultuous time for that team, which is coping with the tragic death of teammate Terry Trafford. Hockey may be difficult to focus on given the circumstances. Or, they could respond with a spirited effort, much like the Loyola Marymount men’s basketball team in the 1990 NCAA Tournament when teammate Hank Gathers unexpectedly passed away.
Anyway, here are tonight’s lineups (with an asterisk next to the starters)…the first thing that jumps out at me is Devin Williams starting in net for the Otters. He has been more consistent than Oscar Dansk recently. But head coach Kris Knoblauch has consistently called Dansk his No. 1 goalie all season.
Also, D Darren Raddysh is scratched tonight. He battled the flu last weekend, but I would he’s a healthy scratch in favor of Cory Genovese.

ERIE OTTERS
FORWARDS
Fox-McDavid-Brown
Burakovsky-Gaunce-Wigle*
Curtis-Strome-Pettit
Wood-Evans-Betz

DEFENSE
Genovese-Pelech
MacDermid-Abraham*
Dermott-Donnay

GOALTENDERS
Williams*
Dansk

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

SAGINAW SPIRIT
FORWARDS

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

DEFENSE
Ringuette-Sefton*
Prophet-Graham
Callaghan-DeSousa

GOALTENDERS
Paterson*
Serebryakov

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

Posted: March 19th, 2014

No. 1 Guelph vs. No. 8 Plymouth
Season records: Guelph 51-12-2-2, Plymouth 28-32-0-7
Season series: Guelph won 3-1
Players to watch

Scott Kosmachuk

Guelph – RW Scott Kosmachuk (49 goals, 52 assists, 101 points), LW Kerby Rychel (34-56-90), C Robby Fabbri (45-42-87), D Matt Finn (14-47-61, plus-57), G Justin Nichols (35-7-1-0 record, 2.85 goals-against average, .918 save percentage, 4 shutouts)
Plymouth – G Alex Nedeljkovic (26-28-0-7, 2.88, .925, 1 SO), C Zach Lorentz (27-27-54), RW Ryan Hartman (25-28-53), LW Carter Sandlak (24-24-48), D Gianluca Curcuruto (7-21-28, -14)
Outlook: The Storm scored 340 goals – at least 28 more than any other club and 153 more than than the Whalers. So Plymouth has no chance against the league’s regular-season champion – not even with an NHL prospect like Nedeljkovic in net.
Prediction: Storm in 4 games

No. 2 Sault Ste. Marie vs. No. 7 Owen Sound
Season records: Sault Ste. Marie 44-17-2-5, Owen Sound 31-29-3-5
Season series: Sault Ste. Marie won 2-0
Players to watch
Sault Ste. Marie – D Darnell Nurse (13-37-50), G Matt Murray (32-11-1-5, 2.57, .921, 6 SO), LW Sergey Tolchinsky (31-60-91), C Jared McCann (27-35-62), C Tyler Gaudet (26-35-61)
Owen Sound – G Brandon Hope (28-19-2-2, 2.89, .916, 2 SO), D Chris Bigras (4-22-26, -11), C Holden Cook (28-29-57), RW Zach Nastasiuk (23-28-51), RW Kurtis Gabriel (16-35-51)
Outlook: Hope will give the Attack hope in this series. But the Greyhounds are strong in net and on defense. That will be too much for Hope and the Attack to overcome.
Prediction: Greyhounds in 6 games

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Season records: Erie 52-14-2-0, Saginaw 33-30-4-1
Season series: Erie won 3-1
Players to watch
Erie – RW Connor Brown (45

Connor Brown

-83-128), LW Dane Fox (64-43-107), C Connor McDavid (28-71-99), D Adam Pelech (9-45-54, +52), G Oscar Dansk (29-9-1-0, 2.39, .909, 6 SO)
Saginaw – D Jesse Graham (11-43-54, +3), C Kristoff Kontos (25-50-75), C Eric Locke (26-34-60), G Jake Paterson (24-18-2-0, 3.41, .906, 2 SO), LW Luke Cairns (16-24-40, former Otter)
Outlook: The Otters have a decided advantage over the Spirit at both ends of the ice. The Spirit also enter the playoffs coping with the recent death of teammate Terry Trafford. Both will be too much for the Spirit to overcome.
Prediction: Otters in 4 games

No. 4 London vs. No. 5 Windsor
Season records: London 49-14-1-4, Windsor 37-28-3-0
Season series: London 5-1
Players to watch
London – LW Max Domi (34-59-93), C Chris Tierney (40-49-89), G Anthony Stolarz (25-5-1-1, 2.52, .926, 4 SO), LW Gemel Smith (37-38-75), C Bo Horvat (30-44-74)
Windsor – RW Josh Ho-Sang (32-53-85), C Brady Vail (32-51-83), LW Ben Johnson (28-25-53), C Remy Giftopoulos (24-24-48), G Alex Fotinos (22-10-1-0, 3.59, .896, 1 SO)
Outlook: The Spitfires were a potential playoff contender until they lost Ds Slater Koekkoek and Trevor Murphy to season-ending injuries. Now it will be one-and-done for Windsor.
Prediction: Knights in 5 games

Posted: March 17th, 2014

It’s official…the third-seeded Erie Otters will face Saginaw in the Western Conference quarterfinals. The Spirit earned the one point needed to pass Owen Sound into sixth in the conference tonight by reaching OT with Sault Ste. Marie. The Spirit won the game 4-3 in OT.

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Game 1 – Friday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 2 – Saturday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 4 – March 26 at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 5 – March 27 at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.*
Game 6 – March 30 at Erie, 6 p.m.*
Game 7 – March 31 at Erie, 7 p.m.*

Posted: March 17th, 2014

The OHL has unveiled the schedules for the Erie Otters’ potential first-round series against Owen Sound and Saginaw. The third-seeded Otters will find out their opponent following Saginaw’s game against Sault Ste. Marie tonight. The Spirit need one point in the standings (a win, OT loss or SO loss) to earn the sixth seed. Owen Sound would secure the No. 6 spot if the Spirit lose in regulation.

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Owen Sound
Game 1 – Friday at Erie, 7:05 p.m.
Game 2 – Saturday at Erie, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Owen Sound, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4 – March 26 at Owen Sound, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5 – March 28 at Owen Sound, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 6 – March 30 at Erie, 6:05 p.m.*
Game 7 – April 1 at Erie, 7:05 p.m.*

No. 3 Erie vs. No. 6 Saginaw
Game 1 – Friday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 2 – Saturday at Erie, 7 p.m.
Game 3 – Monday at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 4 – March 26 at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.
Game 5 – March 27 at Saginaw, 7:11 p.m.*
Game 6 – March 30 at Erie, 6 p.m.*
Game 7 – March 31 at Erie, 7 p.m.*

Posted: March 2nd, 2014

Michael Curtis scored two goals in the Otters' record-setting 46th win of the season.

SAGINAW, Mich. – The 2013-14 Erie Otters are the winningest team in franchise history.
The Otters recorded their 46th win of the season – a 4-2 victory over Saginaw in front of 4,891 fans at Dow Event Center on Saturday night – to break a tie with the 2000-01 club for the single-season record. The Otters (46-14-2-0) also moved closer to front-running Guelph and ahead of London in the OHL’s Western Conference playoff race.
The Otters move into third place, one point ahead of the idle Knights and three points behind the idle Storm in the chase for the league’s regular-season championship and home-ice advantage throughout the postseason. The Storm and Knights, who have a game in hand on the Otters, face Sault Ste. Marie and Peterborough, respectively, today
The Otters had an early 1-0 lead erased by former teammate Luke Cairns, who scored 26 seconds after Michael Curtis opened the scoring at 2 minutes, 11 seconds of the first period. But the Otters’ offensive attack wasn’t done in the first. Erie scored twice in a 33-second span – Patrick Murphy‘s goal 4:07 into the period and Curtis’ second goal at the 4:40 mark – to build a 3-1 lead that grew to a three-goal cushion on Brendan Gaunce‘s power-play score 7:17 into the second period.
The Spirit moved within 4-2 on Jimmy Lodge‘s power-play goal with 1:41 left in the second. But Oscar Dansk capped a 32-save effort, which included six penalty minutes.
Curtis led the way with two goals, while Andre Burakovsky and Dylan Strome had two assists apiece. Lodge led the Spirit (30-27-4-1) with a goal and assist.

Posted: March 1st, 2014

Erie Otters (45-14-2-0) at Saginaw Spirit (30-26-4-1)
When: Today, 7:11p.m.
Where: Dow Event Center – Saginaw, Mich.
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Up next: vs. Plymouth (Wednesday, 7 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters complete a two-game West Division trip before returning home for a three-game home stand against Plymouth, Windsor (Friday) and Kitchener (next Saturday). … Erie has a chance to make up ground on Midwest Division rivals Guelph and London in the OHL’s Western Conference standings. The Otters are five points behind front-running Guelph and a point behind third-place London in the race for the league’s regular-season championship and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Storm and Knights are idle tonight. All three teams have seven games left. … The Otters can set the franchise’s single-season record for wins, which they currently share with the 2000-01 club. … They also need 10 points in the standings to equal the mark of 102 points set in 2000-01. … They need to score 18 goals in their last seven games – 2.5 per game – to match the mark of 281 goals set in 2010-11. … They also have allowed 155 goals, which leads the league and stands 16 below the franchise mark of 171 set in 2000-01. … LW Dane Fox (58 goals, 37 assists, 95 points), the league’s top goal scorer, snapped a stretch of four goals in a 16-game span with two goals in a 4-3 win in Sarnia on Friday night, including the game-winner with 38 seconds left in the game. He needs five points to join teammate Connor Brown (41-73-114) as the only players in Otters’ history to reach the 100-point mark. … The Spirit are the sixth team in the West to clinch a playoff spot. They are five points ahead of No. 7 Owen Sound and 10 ahead of No. 8 Plymouth. … The Spirit have won three straight games. … They have scored 227 goals, but allowed 221 goals. … C Kristoff Kontos (23-48-71) leads the

Luke Cairns

Spirit. … LW Luke Cairns, a former Otter, has six goals and 20 points in 35 games with Saginaw. He has 12 goals and 34 points in 54 games between the Spirit and Belleville.

- Victor Fernandes

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