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 ‘storm’
Posted: March 12th, 2010

Greg McKegg (Contributed/Erie Otters)GUELPH, Ontario – The Erie Otters might not face Kitchener in the first round after all.

With a 3-2 loss to Guelph, played in front of 4,979 at Sleeman Centre Friday night, the Otters fell to eighth in the Western Conference standings. Erie (32-28-5-2) stands one point behind the sixth-place Storm with one game left – tonight’s regular-season finale against London at Tullio Arena.

The Otters are percentage points behind Saginaw, which has a game in hand. If the OHL playoffs began today, the Otters would face top-seeded Windsor, defending league and Memorial Cup champion, in the opening round. Meanwhile, Guelph (34-29-3-1) would start the playoffs against Kitchener. The Storm head into the postseason on a roll. They have won four straight games and eight of their last 10.

Mathew Sisca’s power-play goal 7 minutes, 2 seconds into the third period snapped a 2-2 tie against the Otters. He scored less than 4 minutes after the Otters’ Greg McKegg scored his 37th goal of the season.

Zack Torquato assisted on the goal – his Otters’ single-season record 61st of the season. He broke Colin Pepperall’s mark of 60, set in 1997-98. Derek Holden scored Erie’s other goal.

- Victor Fernandes

Battle for sixth

The Nos. 6-8 seeds in the Western Conference:

(games through Friday)

No. Team        GL       Record            Pts.

6. x-Guelph       1          34-29-3-1          72

7. x-Saginaw     2          32-27-4-3          71

8. x-Erie           1          32-28-5-2          71

GL – games left; x-clinched playoff berth

Note: Top eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs.

Posted: March 3rd, 2010

The Erie Otters qualified for the OHL playoffs Wednesday night.

Perhaps they should consider giving the spot back.

The Otters failed to control their own postseason destiny for the second straight game, as they lost to Guelph 4-1 in front of 3,158 at Tullio Arena. Yet, the Otters (31-26-5-2) clinched a Western Conference berth because London beat Owen Sound 4-3 Wednesday.

The Otters remain seventh in the Western Conference, one point behind sixth-place Saginaw and two behind No. 5 Sault Ste. Marie. The Spirit have a game in hand. The Greyhounds have two games in hand.

The Otters’ outside chance at the No. 4 seed and home-ice advantage in the first round became slimmer with the loss. The Otters are five points behind fourth-place Plymouth with four games left. The Whalers have a game in hand.

The Otters took a 1-0 lead in the final minute of the first period on Anthony Luciani’s 33rd goal of the season. He took linemate Andrew Yogan’s cross-ice pass and fired a slap shot past Storm goaltender Brandon Foote. But the Otters could have taken a commanding lead into the first intermission.

The Otters failed on four power-play opportunities, including a 5-on-3 for 39 seconds midway through the period. That burned the Otters early in the second, as Taylor Beck’s power-play goal – his 34th of the season – tied the score at 1-1 just 1:16 into the period. Beck, pictured at right, scored again on the power play five minutes later to hand the Storm a 2-1 lead. Then the Storm took a 3-1 lead with 22 seconds left in the period. Sam Lofquist scored the goal, his fourth of the season, on an assist from defense mate Adam Comrie.

Foote took over from there, finishing with 27 saves, although he wasn’t tested in the third (five shots on goal). Guelph’s Mathew Sisca capped the scoring with an unassisted goal with 7:05 left in the game.

Beck and Sisca (goal, assist) and Michael Latta (two assists) had two points apiece for the Storm (30-29-3-1), which moved three points ahead of Owen Sound and have a game in hand in the battle for the West’s final playoff spot.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: March 2nd, 2010

What: Guelph Storm (29-29-3-1) at Erie Otters (31-25-5-2)

When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Tullio Arena

On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)

Players to watch

Erie – C Zack Torquato (29 goals, 59 assists, 88 points), C Greg McKegg (36-43-79, 16 power-play goals), C Mike Cazzola (34-44-78), RW Anthony Luciani (33-29-62), G Adam Courchaine (11-5-0-0 record, 2.75 goals-against average, .921 save percentage, 2 shutouts in 17 games with Otters)

Guelph – RW Taylor Beck (33-48-81, 12 PPG), C Peter Holland (26-44-70), C Michael Latta (31-32-63), C Mathew Sisca (30-25-55), D Adam Comrie (13-22-35)

Fast facts

Erie – The Otters clinch an OHL playoff spot by earning one point or more against Guelph. The Otters also earn a spot if they don’t earn a point and Owen Sound loses to London Wednesday night. … The Otters are 11-0 at home in the second half against every team except Kitchener (0-3). … The Otters are 21-9-2-0 at home this season with two games left. … A win tonight moves the Otters into second place on the 14-year-old franchise’s single-season home wins list. … The Otters’ 31 wins is tied for sixth on the franchise’s single-season wins list. … Torquato is tied for fifth with Jason Baird (88 points in 2000-01) on the franchise’s single-season points list. Brad Boyes (90 in 2000-01) and Colin Pepperall (91 in 1997-98) are next on the list. … RW Shawn Szydlowski (19-25-44) had a career-high, 11-game point streak snapped in Sunday’s loss to Kitchener. … Torquato (third), McKegg (10th) and Cazzola (11th) rank among the OHL’s top 15 in scoring. … McKegg is tied for seventh in goals, while Cazzola and Luciani rank among the top 20. … Torquato is tied for the league lead in assists with Windsor LW Taylor Hall and Saginaw LW Jordan Skellett, a former Otter. … McKegg is tied for fourth in power-play goals. … Cazzola, McKegg and Torquato have points in six straight games and 10 of the last 11 (Cazzola nine goals, 19 points; McKegg 11 goals, 21 points; Torquato five goals, 18 points). … D Derek Holden (sore back) and RW Matthew Paton (migraines) skated in practice Tuesday. Paton is expected to play against the Storm, while Holden remains questionable. … Cazzola had five goals and nine points in last week’s three-game home stand to earn OHL player of the week consideration. … Luciani has nine goals and 11 points in the past five games. … Yogan’s four-game point streak ended Sunday. … The Otters are fifth in the league with 239 goals scored but 14th with 240 goals against. … They are seventh on the power play (21.9 percent) but 17th on the penalty kill (77.4).

Guelph – The eighth-place Storm are one point ahead of Owen Sound (with two games in hand) in the battle for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. … The traditionally staunch Storm defense has fallen to 15th in the league with 241 goals against. … Holland ranks among the top 20 in scoring. … The Storm have lost three of four meetings with the Otters in the six-game season series (0-2-1-0). … They have lost straight games in Erie dating back to the 2007-08 season.

Up next: at Kitchener (Friday, 7:30 p.m.), at Owen Sound (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)

- Victor Fernandes

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