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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Posted: October 2nd, 2010

The Erie Otters finally produced a strong defensive effort.

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.Greg McKegg (Contributed/Erie Otters)

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.

Three stars

* Greg McKegg, Otters (2 goals, assist) ** Ramis Sadikov, Otters (35 saves) *** Tyler Hostetter, Otters (goal, assist)