After surrendering 12 goals in the opening two games of the weekend, the Otters stymied rival London to snap a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 win in front of 3,456 at Tullio Arena on Saturday night.
The Otters (2-3-0-0) held the Knights in check for nearly two periods. The penalty-kill unit, which allowed seven goals on 18 chances in the opening four games, went 7-for-7 against the Knights (2-2-0-0).
Meanwhile, the Otters scored four straight goals, two apiece in the first and second, to build a 4-0 lead.
“This was a huge win for us,” second-year winger David Broll said. “It’s a really good confidence boost.”
The Otters found an opening through Igor Bobkov, London’s 6 foot 6 inch, 240-pound rookie goaltender and Anaheim Ducks prospect, late in the opening period. Broll turned defenseman David Shields’ pass into his second goal of the season and a 1-0 Otters lead with 5 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first. Thirty-one seconds later, overage winger Shawn Szydlowski, who has joined Mike Cazzola and Greg McKegg on the No. 1 line, scored his first goal of the season for a 2-0 lead.
Then in the second period, a defensive miscue and Bobkov’s inability to cover the puck in the crease turned into McKegg’s short-handed goal at the 8:04 mark. McKegg poked the puck through Bobkov after it slipped out from under Bobkov’s glove. The Otters continued the offensive assault late in the period.
Tyler Hostetter scored his second goal of the season, off assists from rookie Chris Marchese and Broll, for a 4-0 lead with 4:58 left. The Knights ended Ramis Sadikov’s bid for his first Ontario Hockey League shutout, as rookie Andreas Athanasiou poked in a rebound with 7.6 seconds left in the second.
London sliced the Otters’ lead to 4-2 at the 2:40 mark of the third, as rookie Vladislav Namestnikov’s shot trickled through Sadikov. London outshot the Otters 14-5 in the final 20 minutes. But Sadikov and the Otters held off the Knights the rest of the way.
Along the way, McKegg scored his second short-handed goal, this one into an empty net, with 1:02 left in the game. He’s the first Otter to score two short-handed goals in a game since Zack Torquato on Feb. 29, 2008, against Owen Sound and the fifth in the franchise’s 15-year history. Sadikov had 35 saves. Bobkov had 24 in his OHL debut. McKegg led Erie with two goals and an assist. Broll and Hostetter each had a goal and assist. Namestnikov had a goal and assist for the Knights.
* News and notes: Defenseman Brett Cook missed the game. He apparently was injured in a first-period fight against Kitchener’s Tyler Randell on Friday night. Coach Robbie Ftorek said he was unaware of Cook’s condition. … Brady Austin has played the first five games on defense. Before the season, club officials said he would return to defense permanently.
- Victor Fernandes
Otters 5, Knights 2
London 0 1 1 — 2
Erie 2 2 1 — 5
1st Period — 1. Erie, David Broll 2 (Shields, Luciani), 14:28. 2. Erie, Shawn Szydlowski 1 (McKegg, Hostetter), 14:59. Penalties — Paton (E) high sticking, 7:13; McNeill (L) holding, 15:56; Szydlowski (E) high sticking, 16:47; Paton (E) hooking, 19:58.
2nd Period — 3. Erie, Greg McKegg 2 (unassisted), 8:04 (sh). 4. Erie, Tyler Hostetter 2 (Marchese, Broll), 15:02. London, Andreas Athanasiou 1 (D’Orazio, Namestnikov), 19:52. Penalties — Appio (E) 4-min. roughing, 6:34; Terreri (L) checking from behind, 6:34.
3rd Period — 6. London, Vladislav Namestnikov 2 (Donnay), 2:40. 7. Erie, McKegg 3 (unassisted), 18:52 (sh-en). Penalties — Shields (E) holding, 4:35; Appio (E) high sticking, 6:45; Holden (E) delay of game, 17:58.
Shots on goal — London, 10-13-14—37; Erie, 13-11-5—29.
Goaltenders — London, Igor Bobkov 0-1-0-0 (28 shots, 24 saves); Erie, Ramis Sadikov 2-2-0-0 (37 shots, 35 saves).
Power plays — London (0-7), Erie (0-1).
Referees — Ben Wilson, Craig Spada. Linesmen — Ron Wilson, Fraiser MacIntire.
Attendance — 3,456.
* Greg McKegg, Otters (2 goals, assist) ** Ramis Sadikov, Otters (35 saves) *** Tyler Hostetter, Otters (goal, assist)