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.
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Posts tagged ‘sarnia sting’
Posted: February 27th, 2014

Erie Otters (44-14-2-0) at Sarnia Sting (16-38-1-5)
When: Today, 7:05 p.m.
Where: RBC Centre – Sarnia, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: at Saginaw (Saturday, 7:11 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters look to rebound from a stretch of four losses in five games against a Sting club that could be eliminated from OHL playoff contention tonight. Sarnia, which has the league’s worst record, stands 16 points behind eighth-place Plymouth with eight regular-season games left. … The Otters won the opening two games of the season series by a combined 13-4 score, including a 6-3 win in Sarnia on Sept. 27. The Otters conclude the regular season March 15 against the Sting at Erie Insurance Arena. … The Otters are seven points behind front-running Guelph, who beat North Bay 5-4 on Thursday, and a point behind third-place London in the race for the league’s regular-season title and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. All three clubs have eight games left. … The Otters have another chance to tie the franchise’s single-season mark of 45 wins held by the 2000-01 club. … They also need 12 points in the standings to equal the mark of 102 points set in 2000-01. … They need to score 22 goals in their last eight games – 2.75 per game – to match the mark of 281 goals set in 2010-11. … They also have allowed 152 goals, which leads the league and stands 19 below the franchise mark of 171 set in 2000-01. … LW Dane Fox (56 goals, 37 assists, 93 points), the league’s top goal scorer, has four goals in his past 16 games. … The Sting have lost nine of their last 10 games. … They rank near the bottom of the league with 191 goals scored, and are last with 290 goals against. … D Jimmy McDowell, a former Otter, has 11 goals, 27 points and a minus-25 rating in 40 games with the Sting. He has 12 goals, 34 points (a career high) and a minus-34 rating in 60 games between the Sting and Sudbury. … RW Hayden Hodgson, a former Otter, has three goals and seven points in 10 games with the Sting. … RW Nikolay Goldobin, who led all rookies a season ago with 68 points, ranks among the top 10 overall with 82 points (35-47-82).

- Victor Fernandes

Check out the latest edition of Knoblauch Korner

Posted: February 6th, 2014
Posted: January 31st, 2014

The Sarnia Observer is reporting that the OHL’s Sarnia Sting are up for sale. Read more by clicking the link here

Posted: January 16th, 2014

Check out video of Owen Sound LW Gilbert Gabor‘s hit on Erie Otters C Dylan Strome last Friday, which led to Gabor’s 10-game suspension from the league…

Here’s video of Windsor F Cristiano DiGiacinto‘s hit on Otters RW Andre Burakovsky last Sunday, which resulted in an 8-game suspension…

Former Otters F Hayden Hodgson was suspended 10 games for this hit in Sarnia’s game against Plymouth last Friday…

Posted: November 23rd, 2013

* denotes starters



Devin Williams*
Oscar Dansk

Scratches: RW Joel Wigle (upper body), D Darren Raddysh (healthy), LW/D Travis Wood (healthy), RW Patrick Murphy (healthy)




Franky Palazzese*
Troy Timpano

Scratches: D Kevin Raine, D Evan de Haan, RW Dominik Kubalik, RW Brody Silk

Referees: TBA; Linesmen: TBA

Sudbury Wolves (10-8-3-3) at Erie Otters (19-4-1-0)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: vs. Guelph (Thursday, 7 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters look to rebound at home after having a six-game winning streak snapped in a 4-1 loss at London on Friday night. … Despite the loss, they still have won 16 of their last 18 games. … The Otters have won a franchise-record 13 straight home games. They are an OHL-best 13-0-0-0 at home. … They are expected to play in front of a sellout crowd, which should break the franchise’s single-game attendance record of 5,711, set in the Oct. 5 home opener against North Bay. … This matchup features the return of former Otters F Connor Crisp, who was traded to the Wolves along with overage D Jimmy McDowell in September in the deal for D Cory Genovese. Sudbury traded McDowell to Sarnia on Nov. 13 in exchange for overage D Craig Duininck. … Crisp, a Montreal Canadiens draft pick, has eight goals and 16 points in 24 games this season. He’s tied for second in the league with 61 penalty minutes. … Wolves rookie D Khadyn Butterfly, who was cut from Otters training camp in August, has no points in three games for the Wolves. … C Matthew Campagna leads the Wolves with 39 points (nine goals, 30 assists). Campagna is tied with Otters C Connor McDavid for the league lead in assists. … Otters RW Connor Brown stands third with 27 assists. On Friday, he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. … LW Nathan Pancel ranks second in the league with 22 goals, one behind Otters LW Dane Fox. … RW Nicholas Baptiste has 18 goals and 33 points. … The Wolves have scored 86 goals this season, but rank near the bottom of the league with 102 goals against.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: November 9th, 2013

Sarnia Sting (5-12-0-1) at Erie Otters (14-3-1-0)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: vs. vs. Niagara (Monday, 2 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters face a couple of potential “trap” games – tonight against the Sting, the Western Conference’s ninth-place team, Monday against the IceDogs, the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 team – before heading into next weekend’s key home matchups with Sault Ste. Marie (next Friday) and Guelph (next Saturday), the West’s top two teams. … The Otters (29 points) head into today’s OHL schedule trailing the front-running Storm by three points and the second-place Greyhounds by one point. … The Otters can set a second franchise in a week with a win tonight. They have won eight straight home games, tied with the 2000-01 club (twice) and 2004-05 team for the single-season record. … The Otters are the lone unbeaten home team in the league. Guelph (10-0-0-1) lost at home to Plymouth 3-2 in a shootout Friday night. … G Devin Williams will make his second straight start in place of Oscar Dansk (lower-body injury). Williams had his personal shutout streak end at 145 minutes, 57 seconds with Oshawa’s second-period goal Friday. But he still has allowed only two goals in his last three starts after surrendering 13 in his first two starts. … The Sting are five points behind Plymouth for the eighth spot in the West. … They have lost two straight and six of their last 10 games. … They have been outscored 80-58. … The Otters have a decided advantage in special teams. They are first in the league on the power play (31.2 percent) and penalty kill (87.7 percent), while the Sting are 17th (17.2) and ninth (82.1), respectively. … D Anthony DeAngelo (7 goals, 20 assists, 27 points), RW Nikolay Goldobin (10-15-25), C Nickolas Latta (15-7-22) and RW Bryan Moore (9-13-22) have accounted for 41 of the Sting’s 58 goals and 55 of the their 88 assists this season. … DeAngelo leads all defensemen in scoring. No one else has more than 19 points.

– Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 26th, 2013

Erie Otters (1-1-1-0) at Sarnia Sting (1-1-0-0)
When: Today, 7:05 p.m.
Where: RBC Centre – Sarnia, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: at Windsor (Saturday, 7:05 p.m.), vs. North Bay (Oct. 5, 7 p.m.)
What to watch: Rookie LW Andre Burakovsky will play tonight after missing Wednesday’s 2-1 loss in Saginaw because of a delay in his immigration paperwork. … LW Stephen Harper (bruised shoulder) didn’t play against the Spirit. His status will be determined before the game. … RW Hayden Hodgson will make his season debut tonight after completing a 10-game suspension incurred late last season. … The Otters’ first three games were decided by one goal. … The Otters, which allowed more than 300 goals per season the past two years, has surrendered seven goals in three games (2.3 per game). They also have outshot opponents 120-98. … The Otters complete a five-game road trip this weekend. … Sarnia swept the four-game season series from the Otters last year, including two wins by one goal. … The Sting lost their home opener last weekend to Oshawa on a goal with 12 seconds left, but rebounded with a 3-1 win in Windsor on Friday. … Sting RW Nikolay Goldobin led all rookies, including Otters C Connor McDavid, in scoring a season ago with 68 points. … The Windsor Star reports that Spitfires LW Chris Marchese, a former Otters’ first-round pick, will undergo shoulder surgery Wednesday. Marchese reportedly missed time a season ago with a concussion before finishing with nine goals and 24 points in 39 games with the Spitfires. He suffered a shoulder injury as a rookie with the Otters in the 2010-11 season (3 goals, 10 points in 40 games).

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 18th, 2013

This week, I’m breaking down all 20 OHL clubs and unveiling my predictions for the 2013-14 season. Today it’s the Western Conference (listed in alphabetical order):


Erie Otters
Coach/GM: Kris Knoblauch/Sherry Bassin
2012-13 finish: 19-40-4-5, 5th division, 10th conference
Playoff finish: Did not qualify
Key players: C Connor McDavid (25 goals, 41 assists, 66 points; OHL rookie of the year in 2012-13), RW Connor Brown (28-41-69; Toronto prospect), G Oscar Dansk (11-23-3-3 record, 4.11 goals-against average, .888 save percentage; Columbus prospect), D Adam Pelech (8-32-40; N.Y. Islanders prospect), C Dane Fox (19-17-36)
Key losses: C J.P. Labardo (24-38-62; committed to University of New Brunswick), C Connor Crisp (22-14-36; traded to Sudbury), D Jimmy McDowell (14-19-33; traded to Sudbury)
Outlook: The Otters have pieces in place to make a run at the playoffs this season, including a No. 1 line of McDavid, Brown and CHL first-round pick Andre Burakovsky, that should be one of the best in the league. But defense will determine if the Otters reach the postseason for the first time in three years.

Guelph Storm
Coach/GM: Scott Walker/Mike Kelly
2012-13 finish: 39-23-2-4, 4th division, 5th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Kitchener 4-1 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: RW Scott Kosmachuk (35-30-65; Winnipeg prospect), RW Zack Mitchell (22-34-56; Carolina prospect), D Zac Leslie (12-28-40, plus-16; Los Angeles prospect), LW Jason Dickinson (18-29-47; Dallas Stars prospect), LW Brock McGinn (28-26-54; signed with Carolina)
Key losses: G Garret Sparks (36-17-0-4, 2.65, .917, 7 SO; signed with Toronto), C Tanner Richard (11-51-62; signed with Tampa Bay)
Outlook: The Storm are ready to make a deep playoff run with a solid defense and skilled frontline. That’s as long as their goaltending tandem of Matthew Mancina and Jason DaSilva, who have a combined seven games of OHL experience, play to their potential.

Kitchener Rangers
Coach/GM: Troy Smith/Murray Hiebert
2012-13 finish: 39-20-1-8, 3rd division, 4th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-1 in conference semifinals
Key players: RW Justin Bailey (17-19-36; Buffalo prospect), D Evan McEneny (6-28-34, +7), C Radek Faksa (9-22-31 in 39 games; signed with Dallas), LW Brent Pedersen (14-16-30; Carolina prospect), LW Matia Marcantuoni (7-18-25; Pittsburgh prospect)
Key losses: D Ryan Murphy (10-38-48; signed with Carolina), G Josh Gibson (17-9-0-1, 2.41, .928, 1 SO; signed with Anaheim), LW Joshua Leivo (29-44-73; signed with Toronto), RW Tobias Rieder (27-29-56; signed with Phoenix), LW Matt Puempel (35-12-47; signed with Ottawa), D Frank Corrado (7-38-45; signed with Vancouver)
Outlook: Smith and Hiebert replace former coach/GM Steve Spott, who left the Rangers after more than a decade to become head coach of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. The Rangers have enough talent to win, led by a solid lineup featuring Bailey (Buffalo Sabres), Faksa (Dallas Stars) and McEneny.

London Knights
Coach/GM: Dale Hunter/Mark Hunter
2012-13 finish: 50-13-2-3; 1st division, 1st conference
Playoff finish: Won league championship, lost to Portland (WHL) in Memorial Cup semifinals
Key players: C Max Domi (39-48-87; signed with Phoenix), LW Bo Horvat (33-28-61; signed with Vancouver), G Anthony Stolarz (13-3-1-1, 2.29, .920, 1 SO; Philadelphia prospect), D Olli Maatta (8-30-38, +9; Pittsburgh prospect), D Nikita Zadorov (6-19-25, +33; Buffalo prospect)
Key losses: RW Seth Griffith (33-48-81; signed with Boston), C Alex Broadhurst (23-40-63; signed with Chicago), D Scott Harrington (3-16-19, +21; signed with Pittsburgh), D Justin Sefton (3-18-21; traded to Saginaw)
Outlook: The Knights still have more than enough talent from last year’s league championship team. They also have added motivation from hosting the Memorial Cup tournament this coming May. But they should face a stern challenge in an always difficult division and Western Conference.

Owen Sound Attack
Coach/GM: Greg Ireland/Dale DeGray
2012-13 finish: 44-18-1-5, 2nd division, 3rd conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Plymouth 4-2 in conference semifinals
Key players: RW Cameron Brace (35-39-74; Pittsburgh prospect), C Gemel Smith (23-29-52; Dallas prospect), D Chris Bigras (8-30-38, +35; signed with Colorado), G Brandon Hope (12-6-0-0, 2.61, .915), RW Zach Nastasiuk (20-20-40; Detroit prospect)
Key losses: G Jordan Binnington (32-12-1-5, 2.17, .932, 7 SO), C Daniel Catenacci (38-41-79; signed with Buffalo), D Nathan Chiarlitti (1-30-31, +41),
Outlook: Hope takes over in net full time for the departed Binnington, and he has skill and experience in front of him on defense led by Bigras. The Attack also will be able to attack opposing defenses with an offense keyed by Brace and Smith. That means the Attack are ready to contend in the West.


Plymouth Whalers
Coach/GM: Michael Vellucci
2012-13 finish: 42-17-5-4, 1st division, 2nd conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-1 in conference semifinals
Key players: G Alex Nedeljkovic (19-2-1-1 record, 2.28 goals-against average, .923 save percentage, 2 shutouts), RW Tom Wilson (23 goals, 35 assists, 58 points; signed with Washington), D Connor Carrick (12-32-44, +27), LW Matt Mistele (34-28-60), C Ryan Hartman (23-37-60)
Key losses: C Vincent Trocheck (50-59-109; signed with Florida), G Matt Mahalak (22-11-4-3, 2.88, .906, 3 SO; traded to Kingston), RW Garrett Meurs (32-33-65; signed with Colorado), LW Stefan Noesen (25-28-53 in 51 games; signed with Ottawa)
Outlook: The Whalers have a chance to win consecutive division championships behind the play of Nedeljkovic in net, Carrick on defense and a bevy of scorers up front. But after losing in the second round of the playoffs, the Whalers looks to take that next step in their pursuit of a league title.

Saginaw Spirit
Coach/GM: Greg Gilbert/Jim Paliafito
2012-13 finish: 32-29-4-3, 4th division, 8th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-0 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: G Jake Paterson (25-18-3-2, 3.53, .901, 1 SO; Detroit prospect), C Eric Locke (44-53-97; Buffalo prospect), C Jimmy Lodge (28-39-67; Winnipeg prospect), C Justin Kea (22-26-48; Buffalo prospect), D Justin Sefton (3-18-21, +8; acquired from Kitchener)
Key losses: LW Garret Ross (44-46-90; signed with Chicago)
Outlook: The Spirit made a quick exit from the playoffs a season ago. With Paterson in net, the the Spirit could develop into a legitimate playoff team. But they still have to fill the voids left by highly skilled players like Ross and Young to make that happen.

Sarnia Sting
Coach/GM: Trevor Letowski/Bill Abercrombie
2012-13 finish: 25-36-5-2, 3rd division, 7th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Plymouth 4-0 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: RW Nikolay Goldobin (30-38-68; top rookie scorer), D Anthony DeAngelo (9-49-58), D Alex Basso (11-33-44), C Nickolas Latta (17-14-31), RW Bryan Moore (11-19-30)
Key losses: C Charles Sarault (22-86-108; signed with Anaheim), LW Reid Boucher (62-33-95; signed with New Jersey), G J.P. Anderson (26-21-1-4, 3.31, .905, 1 SO; signed with San Jose)
Outlook: How does one a team replace two scorers that combined to produce 84 goals and 203 points? The Sting has to answer that question heading into this season following the loss of Sarault – the league leader in assists and runner-up in scoring – and Boucher (No. 5 in scoring last season).

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Coach/GM: Sheldon Keefe/Kyle Dubas
2012-13 finish: 36-26-3-3, 2nd division, 6th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Owen Sound 4-2 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: D Darnell Nurse (12-29-41, +15; signed with Edmonton), G Matt Murray (26-19-2-2, 3.67, .894, 1 SO; Pittsburgh prospect), RW Andrew Fritsch (27-25-52), RW Sergey Tolchinsky (26-25-51), C Jared McCann (21-23-44)
Key losses: C Nick Cousins (27-76-103; signed with Philadelphia), D Ryan Sproul (20-46-66, +11; signed with Detroit), RW Brandon Alderson (28-46-64; signed with Philadelphia), D Colin Miller (20-35-55; signed with Los Angeles), LW David Broll (17-37-54; former Erie Otter, signed with Toronto)
Outlook: Nurse has developed into one of the league’s top players. Murray has grown into a solid goaltender. But will the Greyhounds score enough following the departure of Cousins (No. 3 in the league in scoring), Alderson and Sproul? That will determine how far the Greyhounds go this season.

Windsor Spitfires
Coach/GM: Bob Boughner/Warren Rychel
2012-13 finish: 26-33-3-6, 5th division, 9th conference
Playoff finish: Did not qualify
Key players: LW Kerby Rychel (40-47-67; Columbus prospect), D Slater Koekkoek (6-23-29 in 42 games; signed with Tampa Bay), RW Josh Ho-Sang (14-30-44), C Brady Vail (20-35-55), D Nick Ebert (11-27-38; Los Angeles prospect)
Key losses: RW Alex Aleardi (27-44-71; signed with Springfield-AHL), C Alexander Khokhlachev (22-26-48; signed with Boston)
Outlook: The Spitfires look to rebound from missing the playoffs a season ago. But leaders like Rychel and Koekkoek carry this team back into the postseason. The rest of the Spitfires will determine how deep they travel into the playoffs.

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: October 27th, 2012

A weekend that began with such promise ended with a thud for the Erie Otters Saturday night.
Unlike their strong efforts in a convincing six-goal win against Saginaw Wednesday night and a shootout loss to Sault Ste. Marie Friday night, the Otters had little energy in a 5-2 loss to Sarnia in front of 2,648 fans at Erie Insurance Arena Saturday night.
Rookie center Connor McDavid had a goal and assist for the Otters (4-8-1-2), which dropped their second straight game and finished the three-game weekend series at home 1-1-0-1. McDavid, who extended his point streak to 14 straight games and has 18 points in 15 games, was one of the lone bright spots for a team that struggled to find consistency against the Sting (7-6-0-1).
The Otters entered the game with the OHL’s seventh-ranked penalty kill at 82.5 percent. But Sarnia’s third-rated power play burned the Otters for four goals on five chances in the game. Craig Duininck, who had one goal in his first 12 games, scored the first of his two power-play goals on assists from Nikolay Goldobin and Anthony DeAngelo 9 minutes, 47 seconds into the opening period.
Goaltender Oscar Dansk made several key stops, especially in close, to keep the Otters within a goal until Charles Sarault netted his sixth goal of the season, a power-play score 10:04 into the second period, to extend the Sting’s lead to 2-0. Sarnia’s lead reached 3-0 less than two minutes later, as Duininck scored his second goal of the night on assists from Goldobin and Bryan Moore.
The Otters crept within 3-1 on Connor Crisp’s sixth goal of the season – a loose puck in front that he slipped past Sting goaltender J.P. Anderson – with 1:45 left in the period. Moments later, Otters defenseman Adam Pelech was helped to the dressing room with a left ankle injury suffered while blocking a shot. Club officials believe Pelech suffered only a bruise, but he was expected to undergo x-rays. Pelech, who was hit with a shot on the same ankle in Friday’s game was seen walking gingerly outside the dressing room after the game. The Otters learned before the game that winger Nick Betz will miss at least the next six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery Friday night for a ruptured appendix.
Then any momentum the Otters gained from Crisp’s goal vanished 53 seconds into the third period, as the Sting regained a three-goal lead at 4-1 on Reid Boucher‘s goal. McDavid provided a bit of a spark, as his steal in front of the Sting’s net and two nifty moves through traffic produced his seventh goal of the season and moved the Otters within 4-2 with 10:12 left in the game.
But Goldobin’s shot into an open net – Sarnia’s fourth power-play goal in five chances – with 1:30 left sealed the Sting’s win.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 27th, 2012

Erie Otters winger Nick Betz had a 103-degree temperature Wednesday night. So club officials initially thought he had the flu.
However, his condition was much worse. Betz underwent emergency surgery Friday night for a ruptured appendix, Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, confirmed before Saturday night’s game against the Sarnia Sting at Erie Insurance Arena. Betz will miss a minimum of six to eight weeks, Bassin said, because the surgeons “had to cut him open.”
The absence of Betz leaves a sizeable hole in the Otters’ lineup. Betz, a 6-foot 5-inch, 210-pounder from Clinton Township, Mich., had been playing alongside Jake Evans and Stephen Harper on the No. 2 line this season. Second-year winger Travis Wood, a converted defenseman, has moved up on the second line after starting the season on the fourth line. The Otters already are without frontline center Dane Fox, who hasn’t played in a game this season because he’s recovering from surgery on a broken bone in his left foot.
“It seems to be that time of year,” said Bassin, referring to his club’s rash of serious injuries to key players the past few years. “We should be expecting it. It seems to happen so often.” Betz, who joins Harper and Fox on NHL Central Scouting’s watch list of prospects for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has two goals, five points and nine penalty minutes in 11 games after totaling five goals, 14 points and 45 penalty minutes in 61 games as a rookie a season ago.

- Victor Fernandes