The Erie Otters’ milestone night nearly became a record-setting night.
Brett Thompson had four goals and six points to headline an 8-2 win against Windsor in front of 5,417 at Tullio Arena Saturday night. He tied the franchise’s single-season record for goals in a game and fell one point short of the franchise mark of seven on a night when the Otters celebrated their 1,000th game.
Thompson teamed with linemates Phil Varone (goal, four assists) and Anthony Luciani (goal, three assists) for six goals and 15 points in the game. They combined for nine goals and 24 points in the two-game weekend sweep of the Spitfires (27-17-2-3) and Sault Ste. Marie.
The Otters (27-23-1-1) watched the pregame ceremony honoring the 1,000th game in the 15-year-old franchise’s 1,000th game, starting with Sean Courtney’s title-clinching goal in the 2002 OHL finals.
Then they watched DVD messages from former Otters Brad Boyes, Chris Campoli and Ryan O’Reilly, followed by the introduction of alumni T.J. Aceti, Chris Berti, Courtney, Mike McKeown, Steve Nimigon and Brad Yeo. But the current Otters didn’t initially turn the emotion into momentum.
Instead, the Spitfires took a 1-0 lead on defenseman Ryan Ellis’ rocket from the left point 3:43 into the opening period. Meanwhile, the Otters failed to capitalize on several early scoring chances.
Yet they finally tied the score at 1 on Thompson’s goal with 2:59 left in the period. He poked a rebound of Luciani’s shot past Spitfires goaltender Jack Campbell. Then 1:41 into the second, Shawn Szydlowski scored his 29th goal of the season off an assist from Brady Austin to snap the tie.
Thompson added his second goal of the night to extend the Otters’ lead to 3-1 at the 4:18 into the period.
He assisted on rookie Luke Cairns’ power-play goal – his first goal in 30 games – at the 7:04 mark for a 4-1 Otters’ lead. Then Thompson recorded his second hat trick of the season and third of his OHL career to cap the Otters’ fourth-goal outburst in a 6-minute span. Thompson has five goals in his past two games.
The Otters’ barrage ended Campbell’s night after five goals on 17 shots. But Thompson and the Otters weren’t done, as he assisted on Varone’s power-play goal with 58 seconds left in the period. Luciani and Thompson added another goal apiece early in the third to complete the best night of his career. Varone’s five points also were a career high.
Otters 8, Spitfires 2
Windsor 1 0 1 — 2
Erie 1 5 2 — 8
1st Period — 1. Windsor, Ryan Ellis 17 (unassisted), 3:45. 2. Erie, Brett Thompson 31 (Luciani, Varone), 17:01. Penalties — Sadikov (E) tripping (served by Luciani), :19; McGuire (E) 5-min. fighting, 5:10; Czinder (W) 5-min. fighting, 5:10; Appio (E) 5-min. fighting, 6:06; Duininck (W) 5-min. fighting, 6:06; Crisp (E) 5-min. fighting, 9:12; Rychel (W) 5-min. fighting, 9:12; Vail (W) hooking, 14:21.
2nd Period — 3. Erie, Shawn Szydlowski 29 (Austin), 1:41. 4. Erie, Thompson 32 (McKegg, Holden), 4:18. 5. Erie, Luke Cairns 4 (Thompson), 7:04 (pp). 6. Erie, Thompson 33 (Varone), 7:54. 7. Erie, Phil Varone 24 (Thompson, Luciani), 19:02 (pp). Penalties — Cook (E) holding, 4:44; Rychel (W) tripping, 6:56; Brown (W) charging, 14:45; Ellis (W) interference, 17:59.
3rd Period — 8. Erie, Anthony Luciani 19 (Cairns, Varone), 4:13 (pp). 9. Erie, Thompson 34 (Varone, Luciani), 9:06. 10. Windsor, Brady Vail 2 (Rychel, Webermin), 14:16. Penalties — Carnevale (W) goaltender interference, 2:51; Vail (W) goaltender interference, 3:58; Windsor, bench minor (served) Czinder), 4:13; Luciani (E) tripping, 11:51; Cazzola (E) slashing, 12:14.
Shots on goal — Windsor, 14-8-13—35; Erie, 13-20-8—41.
Goaltenders — Windsor, Jack Campbell 16-11-1-2 (17 shots, 12 saves), Michael Nishi (24 shots, 21 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 27-16-1-1 (25 shots, 24 saves), Festarini (10 shots, 9 saves).
Power plays — Windsor (0-4), Erie (3-7).
Referees — Darcy Burchell, Dave Gauthier. Linesmen — Matthew Traub, Mike Malott.
Attendance — 5,417.
* Brett Thompson, Otters (4 goals, 2 assists) ** Phil Varone, Otters (goal, 4 assists) *** Anthony Luciani, Otters (goal, 3 assists)