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 ‘tyler mccarthy’
Posted: August 28th, 2012

ANCASTER, Ontario – The Erie Otters have depth on defense for the 2012-13 OHL season.
But veteran Kris Grant won’t be a part of that unit.
Grant, 19, who spent the past two seasons with the team, has requested a trade to a team closer to home in the Kingston, Ontario, area. So club officials told Grant to stay away from training camp to avoid being a distraction.
Sherry Bassin, managing partner and general manager, wasn’t surprised by Grant’s decision. “Last year, I was worried that he wasn’t committed to play,” Bassin said.
* An emergency plan: Bassin acquired goaltender Keinan Brown, 19, from Peterborough for a 10th-round draft pick Tuesday. Brown, who joins the team at camp Wednesday, appeared in two games in an emergency role late last season after Ramis Sadikov and Devin Williams suffered concussions.
Brown had an 0-2-0-0 record, 5.01 goals-against average and .873 save percentage with the Otters. Now Brown headlines Bassin’s emergency plan if Oscar Dansk or Williams are injured during the season.
* McCarthy released: The club waived Tyler McCarthy, and then released the overager after he cleared waivers. Bassin was unsure what McCarthy’s plans are for the coming season.
* On their way: Dansk, the third overall pick in the CHL Import Draft who agreed to terms with the Otters Monday, is scheduled to arrive in Toronto shortly after midnight Friday morning, and then join the team at camp later that day.
Meanwhile, second-year winger Sondre Olden and CHL second-round pick Artem Kuleshov are expected to join the team Monday in Erie.
Olden is training with his native Norway’s senior men’s team, which Bassin said gives him a better chance of possibly earning a spot with the national team.
Kuleshov remains unsigned, but “I don’t foresee that being an issue,” said Dave Brown, assistant manager of hockey operations. The transfer paperwork for the Russian-born defenseman is done, Brown said, but club officials still have immigration documents to complete.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: February 7th, 2012

Owen Sound Attack (23-21-3-4) at Erie Otters (7-38-3-1)

When: Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Tullio Arena

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

Up next: at Saginaw (Friday, 7:11 p.m.), at Windsor (Saturday, 7:05 p.m.)

Fast facts: The Otters fell short of their first three-game winning streak of the season in a 3-0 home loss to Saginaw on Saturday. … The Otters have been shut out four times this season. But they scored 14 goals in the two games before the loss to the Spirit. … The Otters, which have allowed an OHL-worst 235 goals, have surrendered three goals or fewer in six of their last 10 games. … The Otters are 29 points out of the Western Conference’s final playoff spot with 18 games left. Any combination of Erie losses and wins by Guelph or Sault Ste. Marie totaling eight points would eliminate the Otters from contention. … RW Connor Brown (18 goals, 35 points in 49 games) ranks second among OHL rookies in goals and third in points. … LW Stephen Harper (16-5-21) is tied for third on the rookie goal-scoring list and among the top 20 in points. … C Dane Fox (20-23-43 in 45 games) has points in seven of 11 games since being acquired from London last month. He has seven goals and 11 points in 11 games overall. … RW Johnny McGuire (hand) and D/RW Tyler McCarthy (ill) rejoined the lineup last weekend after missing eight and six games, respectively. … LW Anthony Cortellessa (sore back muscle) missed both of last weekend’s games. … The Attack are tied with Saginaw for fifth in the West, six points ahead of eighth-place Guelph and Sault Ste. Marie. … They have won four straight against the Otters since a 7-5 loss in the series opener Oct. 7. … LW Mike Halmo (33-33-66 in 51 games) ranks third in the league in goals. He has nearly matched his combined total from the previous three seasons (36 goals in 181 games). … C Gemel Smith (20-25-45) ranks among the top 20 North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm list. … C Jarrod Maidens (12-11-23 in 28 games) hasn’t played since Nov. 30 reportedly because of concussion-like symptoms. He is ranked 21st among North American skaters.

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: February 2nd, 2012

Brampton Battalion (27-13-3-6) at Erie Otters (6-37-3-1)

When: Today, 7 p.m.

Where: Tullio Arena

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

Up next: vs. Saginaw (Saturday, 7 p.m.), vs. Owen Sound (Wednesday, 7 p.m.)

Fast facts: The Otters snapped a 12-game winless streak, the third longest in franchise history, in a 7-4 win at Sudbury last Saturday. They also snapped an 11-game winless skid on the road that night. … The Otters have lost four straight at home, but the last three were by two goals or fewer. They lost by a goal in their last two home games (3-2 vs. Niagara Jan. 20 and 2-1 in overtime to Peterborough Jan. 21). … The Otters, which have allowed an OHL-worst 228 goals, surrendered three goals or fewer in five of their last eight games. … The league’s worst offense (111 goals) tied a season high last Saturday with seven goals. The Otters also scored seven in a 7-5 home win against Owen Sound Oct. 7. … RW Johnny McGuire (hand) was held out of last weekend’s games despite making the trip, while D Jimmy McDowell (ill) missed the Sudbury game. Both are expected to play this weekend. … D/RW Tyler McCarthy (ill) returned to practice this week. He has missed the past six games. … The Battalion have used the league’s stingiest defense (125 goals against) to move within percentage points of first-place Niagara in the Central Division and within four points of Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa. … They have scored the fifth fewest goals in the league (147). … G Matej Machovsky ranks among the top five in goals-against average (2.21) and shutouts (5). He also ranks sixth in wins (18) and is tied for 12th in save percentage (.910). … Rookie G Keegan Wilson has a 9-4-3-2 record, 2.56 GAA, .904 save percentage and one shutout. … The Battalion (6 shutouts) trail only Niagara (8) on the league’s list. … Jason Ward, the Battalion’s first-year assistant coach and a former NHL player, played for the Otters from 1996-98.

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: January 27th, 2012

Erie Otters (5-36-3-1) at Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (19-24-2-2)

When: Friday, 7:35 p.m.

Where: Essar Centre – Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

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

Up next: at Sudbury (Saturday, 7:05 p.m.), vs. Brampton (Feb. 3, 7 p.m.)

Fast facts: The Otters are winless in 11 straight games (0-9-2-0), the third-longest skid in franchise history. The 2007-08 club had a 16-game streak (0-14-1-1). The 1996-97 club lost 13 in a row (0-12-1-1). … The Otters lost three one-goal games last weekend, including overtimes losses to Peterborough and London. They allowed eight goals in those games (2.6 per game), a stark contrast from their OHL-worst total of 221 goals against (4.9 per game). … They have lost 10 straight road games, three shy of the franchise mark of 13 set in 1996-97. They haven’t won on the road since a 7-3 victory in Sarnia Dec. 9. … RW Johnny McGuire (hand) is expected to play tonight. … … Rookie D/F Tyler McCarthy (ill) has missed the past four games. … Former Otters LW David Broll has two goals and 18 points in 40 games this season. He has scored seven goals in 64 games with the Greyhounds and 24 in 169 OHL games. … Mike Stapleton is in his first season as Greyhounds coach. He served as an associate coach and assistant for the Otters from 2006-08. … The Otters could face G Jack Campbell, who helped Windsor eliminate the Otters in a seven-game, first-round playoff series last spring. … Sault Ste. Marie (42 points) has lost four straight and nine of their last 10 games to slip to ninth in the Western Conference. The Greyhounds trail Guelph by one point for the final playoff spot in the conference. … The Otters are the least penalized team in the OHL (605 minutes). The Greyhounds have the fifth-highest total (836).

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: December 3rd, 2011

It’s one month and counting for the Erie Otters.

Their winless streak reached 13 straight games with a 3-1 loss to Kitchener in front of 2,947 at Tullio Arena on Saturday night. The Otters haven’t won since a 3-2 win in Guelph on Nov. 4.

The Otters, which have a CHL-worst 3-24-0-1 record, tied the 1996-97 club for the second-longest winless skid in franchise history. The 2007-08 team holds the record at 16 consecutive games.

The Otters also tied the franchise marks with seven-game home losing and winless streaks.

Nick Betz scored Erie’s lone goal. Brandon Francisco and Ryan Murphy had a goal and assist apiece and Ben Thomson had two assists for the Rangers (19-8-1-0), which avenged a 4-3 overtime loss in Erie on Oct. 9. That was the Otters’ last home win. Franky Palazzese, which lost that game last month, made 41 saves for the Rangers. Ramis Sadikov made 32 saves in a losing effort for the Otters.

The teams combined for 34 shots on goal in the first period, with the Otters netting 21 of them. But the Rangers victimized Erie’s OHL-worst defense for three goals and a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Michael Catenacci scored off an assist from Francisco 3:14 into the period. Betz matched Catenacci’s goal, with assists from Tyler McCarthy and Derek Holden, for the Otters at the 11:34 mark.

But Francisco scored from in front of Sadikov on assists from Murphy and Thomson 50 seconds after Betz’s goal. Then Murphy, a Carolina Hurricanes prospect, turned Thomson’s centering pass into his first goal of the season with 6:36 left in the period. Then the offense disappeared for both teams in the second period. Sadikov stopped all eight shots he faced, while Palazzese was 11-for-11 in the period.

The Otters briefly sliced Kitchener’s lead in half with 4:24 left in the game on what appeared to be Jake Evans’ first career goal. But the video replay judge disallowed the goal after a lengthy review. Two minutes later, Kitchener also had a possible goal disallowed after an equally long review.

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: October 29th, 2011

Liam Maaskant chose the perfect time to score his first OHL goal.

“Absolutely,” the rookie defenseman said after his goal 3:22 into overtime snapped the Erie Otters’ eight-game losing streak in a 4-3 win against Kitchener in front of 2,329 at Tullio Arena on Saturday night.

Maaskant’s shot from the point slipped through a crowd and past Rangers goaltender Franky Palazzese to cap a strong effort from the Otters’ rookie class. First-round pick Stephen Harper recorded the first two-goal and three-point outings of his short career. Tyler McCarthy and Jake Evans also had points.

The Otters (2-12-0-0), which rallied from two-goal deficits twice to force overtime, won for the first time since a 7-5 home victory against defending league champion Owen Sound Oct. 7.

A night after making 43 saves in a loss to the Rangers (8-5-1-0), Otters goaltender Ramis Sadikov (26 saves) had a rough start early in the finale of this home-and-home series. He allowed highly touted rookie center Radek Faksa’s goal on Kitchener’s first shot for a 1-0 Rangers’ lead 1:25 into the opening period.

Then on Kitchener’s fourth shot, Matia Marcantuoni scored on Sadikov to hand the Rangers a 2-0 lead at the 6:07 mark. Yet the Otters responded 26 seconds later, as Johnny McGuire scored his first goal of the season and second of his career on assists from McCarthy and Evans. McCarthy recorded his first OHL point while Evans netted a point for his second straight game.

Kitchener regained a two-goal lead 22 seconds into the second on Tobias Rieder’s team-best ninth goal of the season. He scored during a scramble in front of Sadikov. But the Otters struck back 51 seconds later on Harper’s first of two goals to slice Kitchener’s lead to 3-2.

Then Harper scored again to tie the score at 3 at the 2:37 mark of the third and eventually force overtime. While standing with his back to the net, the rookie winger deflected Brett Cook’s point shot past Palazzese.

Then Harper joined fellow rookie Connor Brown in assisting on Maaskant’s game-winning goal. Faksa had a goal and assist for the Rangers while Ben Thomson had two assists. Palazzese made 31 saves.

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: October 12th, 2011

The Mississauga St. Michael’s took advantage of the man advantage Wednesday night.

The Majors scored three power-play goals on six chances – headlined by Dylan DeMelo’s go-ahead goal 8:12 into the third period – to rally past the Erie Otters 4-2 in front of 2,218 fans at Tullio Arena.

DeMelo led the Majors (8-1-0-0) with a goal and two assists, while goaltender Spencer Martin earned the win in his OHL debut after being a late addition to the lineup in place of veteran J.P. Anderson.

Meanwhile, injury woes and third-period struggles led to the Otters’ second straight loss and sixth defeat in seven games to start the season. The Otters allowed three goals in the final period.

Before the game, the Otters added veteran center Mike Cazzola to an injury list that includes defenseman Adam Pelech (wrist surgery) and forward Connor Crisp (shoulder surgery).

Cazzola undergoes surgery today in Erie to repair a small fracture in his hand and will miss the next month. The Otters also were without veteran forward Brett Thompson, a 40-goal scorer the past two seasons, because of the flu.

Yet the surging Majors also were short-handed, as they were without veterans Devante Smith-Pelly (who remains with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks), Joseph Cramarossa, Jordan Mayer and Stuart Percy.

So the teams were evenly matched in the opening period, with the Otters taking a 1-0 lead on rookie Connor Brown’s second career goal. He stole the puck at the Majors’ blue line, raced in on net and fired a shot under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead with 4:06 left in the period.

The Majors tied the score at 1 on the power play, as Sergey Kuptsov scored his sixth goal of the season on assists from David Corrente and DeMelo with 49 seconds left in the period. But the Otters capitalized on a power play early in the second.

Chris Marchese turned rookie defenseman Travis Wood’s point shot into a rebound goal 6:37 into the period. Rookie Sondre Olden also assisted on the goal. The Otters seemed to gain momentum from that goal. They outshot the Majors 15-9 in the period. Erie nearly capitalized on several of them, especially during a 5-minute power play that carried into the third.

However, the Otters didn’t extend their one-goal lead. The inability to finish proved costly for the Otters.

Derek Schoenmakers scored on the power play, with assists from Riley Brace and DeMelo, to tie the score at 2 at the 3:18 mark of the third. Then the Majors turned a 5-minute charging penalty against Otters rookie Tyler McCarthy into their third power-play goal of the game. DeMelo scored on assists from Justin Rasmussen and Corrente with 11:48 left. McCarthy also received a game misconduct.

Spencer Cobbold capped the Majors’ win with his first OHL goal late in the game.

- Victor Fernandes



Posted: September 1st, 2011

Mark Gazdic spent most of the 2010-11 OHL season watching and learning.

As an inexperienced eighth defenseman on a unit featuring five players with at least two years of OHL experience, Gazdic dressed for – and played sparingly – in 18 games.

“It certainly gave me the patience to appreciate game time and getting the opportunities to play more now,” said Gazdic, 18, who’s entering his second season with the Erie Otters.

“I’m trying to take advantage … (of) what last year’s knowledge gave me and apply that right now. With a whole bunch of new teammates, there seems to be a lot of opportunities for me.”

The Otters currently have three rookies – Nathan Glass, 17, Liam Maaskant, 17, and Tyler McCarthy, 19, – and two other second-year players – Kris Grant, 18, and Adam Pelech, 17 – on defense. Veterans Brett Cook, 20, and Derek Holden, 20, are the only true veterans, and they are battling for one overager spot.

“Last year when I was playing, it was more like just surviving,” Gazdic said. “Now it’s all about bringing that confidence, that poise, that little extra edge to it that will give you the image of a top player in the league and a top defenseman.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: August 30th, 2011

Kevin Zugec regrets not attending Erie Otters training camp last summer.

Perhaps his future in hockey would appear brighter than it does this week.

If Zugec doesn’t earn a roster spot with the Otters, the Pittsburgh native said, “this could be my last big thing” in a hockey career that began at the age of 4. He currently has no other viable options for the 2011-12 season.

Zugec, 18, a 6 foot 5 inch, 200-pound defenseman, hasn’t received interest from the New Mexico Mustangs, the North American Hockey League expansion team he played for this past season. He had two goals, four points and a minus-24 rating in 47 games for the Mustangs, which finished with the NAHL’s second-worst record at 19-35-4.

He doesn’t believe playing for a team in Pittsburgh would help his development.

“I’ve got to make a big impact” in camp, said Zugec, a 2009 ninth-round pick who saw another potential spot on defense vanish Tuesday. The Otters announced the signing of 2010 pick Liam Maaskant. The club also signed 2008 pick Tyler McCarthy earlier this month.

Club officials are “definitely happy to see me back,” Zugec said. “They were bummed that I didn’t come last year.”

At the time, Zugec didn’t think he was ready. But now, he said, “I wished I would have gone last year.”

Zugec would like to continue playing at the highest level as much for his parents as for himself. “They’ve sacrificed a lot. The options just there aren’t right now,” said Zugec, who would consider enrolling in college if his career ends.

*No surprises: The 3-mile run Monday was grueling. Other off-ice conditioning was equally challenging. The shots on the ice were definitely much harder. “It’s exactly what I expected it to be,” Millcreek Township native and McDowell sophomore Nate Miller, 16, said of his first day at Otters camp Tuesday. “But if you make the team, it’s worth it.”

As a goaltender, Miller figures he wouldn’t earn a roster spot with the Otters until he’s at least 17 or 18 years old. But that’s fine. He still hasn’t chosen between the OHL and NCAA. “I’ll wait a bit. I want to see where I go with college options,” said Miller, who has received interest from NCAA Division I schools such as Ohio State and Western Michigan.

Choosing the NCAA route would be simpler if he hadn’t been picked by the Otters in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection.

“I’d love to play for the hometown team,” he said.

- Victor Fernandes







Posted in: Erie Otters
Posted: August 31st, 2010

Riley Sheahan (Contributed/Google)

Riley Sheahan will play for the University of Notre Dame or the Erie Otters.

That’s what Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, told Sheahan, his father, Mike, and his agent, Pat Brisson, of Los Angeles-based CAA Sports LLC, during a conversation a few weeks ago. Bassin plans to speak with them again on Wednesday.

Bassin, who picked Sheahan in the fourth round of the 2007 OHL Priority Selection, said Tuesday that he won’t trade his rights to another OHL club. Sheahan didn’t divulge if he’s interested in signing with the Otters, Bassin said.

Sheahan, 18, has never attended an Otters’ camp. The center played two seasons in Junior B with the St. Catharines (Ontario) Falcons to maintain his NCAA eligibility. Sheahan had six goals and 17 points in 37 games as a freshman at Notre Dame last season.

Yet speculation arose about his hockey future after reportedly being arrested with then-teammate Kyle Palmieri in April for underage drinking. In June, Sheahan said in a story that he didn’t foresee those legal issues to affect his future. He’s currently listed on the Fighting Irish’s roster for the 2010-11 season.

The Detroit Red Wings selected Sheahan in the first round (No. 21 overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft in June. But he remains unsigned. Bassin declined to comment on if the Red Wings would have influence over Sheahan’s playing future.

* Sidwell headlines no-shows: Forward Josh Sidwell, who played with the Otters from 2007-09, chose not attend camp after originally committing to the club. He has an opportunity to join the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.

Sidwell headlined the list of players that failed to report for the opening day of camp on Tuesday.

Bassin said defenseman Keegan Harper, a 2009 OHL draft pick, was told by officials from a Tier II club in Ottawa, Ontario, that his spot wouldn’t be guaranteed if he attended Otters’ camp. “I’m very disturbed about that,” Bassin said. “I’m really surprised that coaches wouldn’t encourage (players) to go to the highest level.”

Fellow 2009 pick Kevin Zugec, who played for the Pittsburgh Hornets U16 team last season, didn’t report for an unknown reason, Bassin said. Defenseman Chad Bednar was the only prospect in the club’s 2010 draft class not to report.

Other no-shows were 2008 picks Stuart Brownell and Tyler McCarthy (both defensemen) and free-agent invites Stevie Ray Adams and Pittsburgh native Mason Murovich (younger brother of former Saginaw Spirit forward Tyler Murovich).

* Not settling for second best: Goaltender Chris Festarini arrived at camp behind Ramis Sadikov, last season’s backup to now departed Jaroslav Janus and Adam Courchaine, on the depth chart. But Festarini isn’t giving up the No. 1 job without a fight. “You can’t back down that way,” he said. “I have an opportunity at camp.”

Festarini struggled in his only appearance last season. He allowed five goals on 21 shots in one-plus periods in an 8-7 shootout loss at London on Jan. 9. He uses his OHL debut as motivation to succeed.

“You have to battle through tough times,” he said.

* Long days: Forward Tim Tankeev, the club’s top pick in the 2010 CHL Import Draft, spent 21 hours traveling from his native Moscow, Russia, to Erie on Monday – a trip that included stops in New York City and Detroit. Yet he finished third in the team’s three-mile run Monday night. Then on Tuesday, he experienced his first workouts with the team. “I’m so tired,” he said Tuesday. “(It’s) so hard.”

Bassin has attempted to make his transition to Erie and the OHL smoother. They spoke about Russia, which is the native country of Bassin’s parents, Mal and Molly. “I just wanted him to be comfortable,” Bassin said of Tankeev.

* An eye-opening experience: Harborcreek Township native Billy Wager, 16, entered his first OHL camp on Tuesday with a simple approach. “I’m just out there to stop the puck,” said Wager, who joins Harbor Creek High School defenseman Hunter Conboy as the lone local players invited to camp.

He fared well in his first workouts. He fared even better at the Adrian College Showcase in Adrian, Mich. – his opening games with his new junior team, Victory Honda U16 in Plymouth, Mich. He made 35 saves in a 4-0 win against the Lansing (Mich.) Capitals. Then he stopped 29-of-31 shots in a 3-2 shootout loss to Detroit’s Little Caesars in the championship game.

Wager has moved to Michigan with his father, Bill, for the upcoming season. After consistently traveling two hours to Pittsburgh for practices the past three years, he’s looking forward to shorter trips from his new home. He also appreciates having Dad at his side.

“He makes you do the right things,” Billy said.

Walt Wingfield (Contributed/Erie Otters)

* Effective use of time: Walt Wingfield, the club’s director of scouting, watched many of the top 2011 OHL draft prospects this summer without having to travel far.

He scouted players at a Under-15 tournament in Rochester, N.Y., in July. He traveled to Kitchener, Ontario, a 20-minute ride from his Dundas, Ontario, home for a Under-16 tournament. “Now I’ve got a good look at them,” Wingfield said. “We’re getting ready for next year.”

* Two thumbs up for two refs: The OHL will use a two-referee system full time for the first time during the 2010-11 season – a couple of seasons after introducing it a couple of years ago. The league needed time to accumulate enough quality referees to handle every regular-season and playoff game, Bassin said. But the time has finally arrived, and Bassin is happy about it.

“It’s a different game when you have two (referees) versus 1,” he said. “Players are more conscious of it.”

* News and notes: Forwards Andrew Yogan (sore back) and Chris Marchese (groin), the club’s 2010 first-round pick, missed Tuesday’s workouts. … Club officials moved Thursday’s scrimmage to 3:30 p.m. from 4:30 p.m.

- Victor Fernandes

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