What: Erie Otters (17-16-1-1) at Plymouth Whalers (17-14-1-1)
When: Tuesday, 2 p.m.
Where: Compuware Arena – Plymouth, Mich.
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
Players to watch
Erie – C Greg McKegg (25 goals, 29 assists, 54 points), RW Shawn Szydlowski (17-15-32), RW Anthony Luciani (13-17-30), G Ramis Sadikov (17-12-1-1 record, 2.89 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, 2 shutouts), C Phil Varone (12-14-26)
Plymouth – G Scott Wedgewood (16-9-0-1, 2.51, .917, 2 SO), RW Stefan Noesen (15-21-36), RW Robbie Czarnik (13-19-22), LW Tyler Brown (11-16-27), C Alex Aleardi (14-12-26)
Erie – The Otters and Whalers begin the second half in a virtual tie for fifth place in the Western Conference. Both teams have 36 points and 17 wins (the first tiebreaker), but the Whalers have a better winning percentage (.545 to .514). … The Otters begin the second half without rookie LW Chris Marchese (3-7-10) and rookie D Adam Pelech (1-5-6, plus-1), who are representing Ontario in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. The tournament runs from Wednesday through Dec. 28 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. … Sadikov should continue his franchise-record streak of 25 straight starts. … McKegg begins the half fourth in the OHL scoring race and tied for third in goals. … Luciani has 10 goals and 25 points in 16 games since returning from a broken wrist last month. … Szydlowski needs six goals and 16 points to surpass his single-season career high in goals (23 in 2008-09) and points (48 in 2009-10). … The Otters won the first meeting between the teams – 4-1 in Erie Oct. 27. That remains the Otters’ only win against the West Division (1-4-0-1). … Varone made his Otters’ debut that same night. The team has a 14-7-0-1 record since he was acquired from London Oct. 26. … C Mike Cazzola (9-16-25), who has missed two months with a broken wrist, is scheduled for X-rays today. He could rejoin the lineup next week.
Plymouth – The Whalers ended the first half with a four-game losing streak. … They won both meetings with the Otters in Plymouth last season. … Wedgewood ranks among the league’s top five in wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts. … Noesen has shattered his 33-game totals from his rookie season last year (3 goals, 8 points). … The Whalers rank near the bottom of the league on the power play (17 percent), but they are in the top 10 on the penalty kill (80.5). … They are the second-most penalized team (671 minutes). … D Beau Schmitz (3-16-19) ranks among the top 20 defensemen in scoring.
Up next: at Saginaw (Wednesday, 7:11 p.m.), at Windsor (Friday, 2:05 p.m.)
– Victor Fernandes