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 ‘windsor spitfires’
Posted: October 25th, 2013

Erie Otters D Cory Genovese has been suspended for 5 games because of the match penalty incurred last Saturday night against Ottawa.
A match penalty for intent to injure carries an automatic 3-game ban. Genovese received an additional 2 games, OHL Vice President Ted Baker said, because “he just returned from a suspension as a result of a response to an opponent’s actions in a most inappropriate fashion.”
Genovese punched a 67′s player after being checked from behind into the boards. He also earned a 5-game suspension for retaliating against Windsor’s Ty Bilcke with a cross check to the face in a game Sept. 28. Genovese was in his second game back from that suspension when the most recent incident occurred.
Baker called it “a blow to the head (of) an unsuspecting player.”
Genovese sat out Wednesday’s game against Plymouth while awaiting the league’s ruling. So he has four games left, starting tonight in London. He’s eligible to rejoin the lineup Nov. 8 against Oshawa at Erie Insurance Arena.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 21st, 2013

Here’s an update on Erie Otters D Cory Genovese and the match penalty for intent to injure that he received in Saturday’s game against Ottawa…

Under league rules, a match penalty for intent to injure carries an automatic 3-game suspension. But the incident is under review at the OHL office. So he could receive a longer suspension, especially if league officials take into greater consideration his 5-game suspension earlier this season for a cross check to the face of Windsor’s Ty Bilcke. The league also could choose not to suspend Genovese if it’s determined that the match penalty was the incorrect call.
A decision before Wednesday’s home game against Plymouth isn’t guaranteed. The league could suspend Genovese indefinitely to allow more time to make a decision.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: October 2nd, 2013

Does the OHL favor star players over role players when it’s determining the length of suspensions?
That’s a question that I’m sure has been discussed in the past. It certainly crossed my mind when I learned about the suspensions to Erie Otters D Cory Genovese and London’s Max Domi.
I saw footage of Genovese’s cross check to the face of Windsor’s Ty Bilcke last weekend. Then I watched Domi’s elbow to the head of Guelph’s Brock McGinn.
Genovese received a 5-game suspension, which I have no problem with, given the hit to the face and the league’s hard stance on stick-related infractions. Domi will miss 4 games. Here’s the problem I have with that – while Genovese was careless with his stick, he appeared to quickly turn and react in the heat of the moment. There appeared to be more intent on Domi’s part. After being checked cleanly into the boards by McGinn (and from the looks of it, a shove while down too), Domi appeared to skate toward McGinn and then leave his feet to strike McGinn with an elbow.
If Genovese deserved 5 games, Domi deserved more. But that didn’t happen…

What do you think? Check out the videos above, and then send me your thoughts here by Friday at 5 p.m. I’ll post a sampling of your responses here…

Here’s a sampling of responses…
* From @fishfan51: Domi should have got more. We’ve seen lesser hits get more #LondonDiscount
* From @flyingfishy11:
His father is Tie Domi, a career NHLer. That says everything there.
* From @ericb922:
Genovese got off a bit lightly. Domi got off extremely light. Him not being considered a “repeat offender” is a joke.

Posted: September 27th, 2013

Erie Otters (2-1-1-0) at Windsor Spitfires (0-2-0-0)
When: Today, 7:05 p.m.
Where: WFCU Centre ā€“ Windsor, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: vs. North Bay (Oct. 5, 7 p.m.), vs. Owen Sound (Oct. 9, 7 p.m.)
What to watch: The Otters complete a season-opening, five-game road trip before returning home for next Saturday’s home opener at newly renovated Erie Insurance Arena. … They scored a season-high six goals – including four unanswered scores to end the game – in a 6-3 comeback win at Sarnia on Friday. … RW Connor Brown (3-5-8) set a single-game career high with five points (goal, four assists) against the Sting. … LW Dane Fox (3-2-5) also had a career-high four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in Sarnia. … The No. 1 line of Brown, Fox and C Connor McDavid (goal, 2 assists) combined for four goals and 12 points. … The Otters have allowed 10 goals (2.5 per game) and outshot opponents 164-134 in the first four games. … The Spitfires play their third straight home game to start the season. They lost the first two – 4-3 to Oshawa last weekend and 3-1 to Sarnia on Thursday. .. The Windsor Star has reported that Spitfires LW Chris Marchese, a former Otters’ first-round pick, will undergo shoulder surgery Wednesday. Marchese reportedly missed time a season ago with a concussion before finishing with nine goals and 24 points in 39 games with the Spitfires. He suffered a shoulder injury as a rookie with the Otters in the 2010-11 season (3 goals, 10 points in 40 games).

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 26th, 2013

Erie Otters (1-1-1-0) at Sarnia Sting (1-1-0-0)
When: Today, 7:05 p.m.
Where: RBC Centre ā€“ Sarnia, Ontario
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Up next: at Windsor (Saturday, 7:05 p.m.), vs. North Bay (Oct. 5, 7 p.m.)
What to watch: Rookie LW Andre Burakovsky will play tonight after missing Wednesday’s 2-1 loss in Saginaw because of a delay in his immigration paperwork. … LW Stephen Harper (bruised shoulder) didn’t play against the Spirit. His status will be determined before the game. … RW Hayden Hodgson will make his season debut tonight after completing a 10-game suspension incurred late last season. … The Otters’ first three games were decided by one goal. … The Otters, which allowed more than 300 goals per season the past two years, has surrendered seven goals in three games (2.3 per game). They also have outshot opponents 120-98. … The Otters complete a five-game road trip this weekend. … Sarnia swept the four-game season series from the Otters last year, including two wins by one goal. … The Sting lost their home opener last weekend to Oshawa on a goal with 12 seconds left, but rebounded with a 3-1 win in Windsor on Friday. … Sting RW Nikolay Goldobin led all rookies, including Otters C Connor McDavid, in scoring a season ago with 68 points. … The Windsor Star reports that Spitfires LW Chris Marchese, a former Otters’ first-round pick, will undergo shoulder surgery Wednesday. Marchese reportedly missed time a season ago with a concussion before finishing with nine goals and 24 points in 39 games with the Spitfires. He suffered a shoulder injury as a rookie with the Otters in the 2010-11 season (3 goals, 10 points in 40 games).

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: September 18th, 2013

This week, Iā€™m breaking down all 20 OHL clubs and unveiling my predictions for the 2013-14 season. Today it’s the Western Conference (listed in alphabetical order):


Erie Otters
Coach/GM: Kris Knoblauch/Sherry Bassin
2012-13 finish: 19-40-4-5, 5th division, 10th conference
Playoff finish: Did not qualify
Key players: C Connor McDavid (25 goals, 41 assists, 66 points; OHL rookie of the year in 2012-13), RW Connor Brown (28-41-69; Toronto prospect), G Oscar Dansk (11-23-3-3 record, 4.11 goals-against average, .888 save percentage; Columbus prospect), D Adam Pelech (8-32-40; N.Y. Islanders prospect), C Dane Fox (19-17-36)
Key losses: C J.P. Labardo (24-38-62; committed to University of New Brunswick), C Connor Crisp (22-14-36; traded to Sudbury), D Jimmy McDowell (14-19-33; traded to Sudbury)
Outlook: The Otters have pieces in place to make a run at the playoffs this season, including a No. 1 line of McDavid, Brown and CHL first-round pick Andre Burakovsky, that should be one of the best in the league. But defense will determine if the Otters reach the postseason for the first time in three years.

Guelph Storm
Coach/GM: Scott Walker/Mike Kelly
2012-13 finish: 39-23-2-4, 4th division, 5th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Kitchener 4-1 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: RW Scott Kosmachuk (35-30-65; Winnipeg prospect), RW Zack Mitchell (22-34-56; Carolina prospect), D Zac Leslie (12-28-40, plus-16; Los Angeles prospect), LW Jason Dickinson (18-29-47; Dallas Stars prospect), LW Brock McGinn (28-26-54; signed with Carolina)
Key losses: G Garret Sparks (36-17-0-4, 2.65, .917, 7 SO; signed with Toronto), C Tanner Richard (11-51-62; signed with Tampa Bay)
Outlook: The Storm are ready to make a deep playoff run with a solid defense and skilled frontline. That’s as long as their goaltending tandem of Matthew Mancina and Jason DaSilva, who have a combined seven games of OHL experience, play to their potential.

Kitchener Rangers
Coach/GM: Troy Smith/Murray Hiebert
2012-13 finish: 39-20-1-8, 3rd division, 4th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-1 in conference semifinals
Key players: RW Justin Bailey (17-19-36; Buffalo prospect), D Evan McEneny (6-28-34, +7), C Radek Faksa (9-22-31 in 39 games; signed with Dallas), LW Brent Pedersen (14-16-30; Carolina prospect), LW Matia Marcantuoni (7-18-25; Pittsburgh prospect)
Key losses: D Ryan Murphy (10-38-48; signed with Carolina), G Josh Gibson (17-9-0-1, 2.41, .928, 1 SO; signed with Anaheim), LW Joshua Leivo (29-44-73; signed with Toronto), RW Tobias Rieder (27-29-56; signed with Phoenix), LW Matt Puempel (35-12-47; signed with Ottawa), D Frank Corrado (7-38-45; signed with Vancouver)
Outlook: Smith and Hiebert replace former coach/GM Steve Spott, who left the Rangers after more than a decade to become head coach of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. The Rangers have enough talent to win, led by a solid lineup featuring Bailey (Buffalo Sabres), Faksa (Dallas Stars) and McEneny.

London Knights
Coach/GM: Dale Hunter/Mark Hunter
2012-13 finish: 50-13-2-3; 1st division, 1st conference
Playoff finish: Won league championship, lost to Portland (WHL) in Memorial Cup semifinals
Key players: C Max Domi (39-48-87; signed with Phoenix), LW Bo Horvat (33-28-61; signed with Vancouver), G Anthony Stolarz (13-3-1-1, 2.29, .920, 1 SO; Philadelphia prospect), D Olli Maatta (8-30-38, +9; Pittsburgh prospect), D Nikita Zadorov (6-19-25, +33; Buffalo prospect)
Key losses: RW Seth Griffith (33-48-81; signed with Boston), C Alex Broadhurst (23-40-63; signed with Chicago), D Scott Harrington (3-16-19, +21; signed with Pittsburgh), D Justin Sefton (3-18-21; traded to Saginaw)
Outlook: The Knights still have more than enough talent from last year’s league championship team. They also have added motivation from hosting the Memorial Cup tournament this coming May. But they should face a stern challenge in an always difficult division and Western Conference.

Owen Sound Attack
Coach/GM: Greg Ireland/Dale DeGray
2012-13 finish: 44-18-1-5, 2nd division, 3rd conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Plymouth 4-2 in conference semifinals
Key players: RW Cameron Brace (35-39-74; Pittsburgh prospect), C Gemel Smith (23-29-52; Dallas prospect), D Chris Bigras (8-30-38, +35; signed with Colorado), G Brandon Hope (12-6-0-0, 2.61, .915), RW Zach Nastasiuk (20-20-40; Detroit prospect)
Key losses: G Jordan Binnington (32-12-1-5, 2.17, .932, 7 SO), C Daniel Catenacci (38-41-79; signed with Buffalo), D Nathan Chiarlitti (1-30-31, +41),
Outlook: Hope takes over in net full time for the departed Binnington, and he has skill and experience in front of him on defense led by Bigras. The Attack also will be able to attack opposing defenses with an offense keyed by Brace and Smith. That means the Attack are ready to contend in the West.


Plymouth Whalers
Coach/GM: Michael Vellucci
2012-13 finish: 42-17-5-4, 1st division, 2nd conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-1 in conference semifinals
Key players: G Alex Nedeljkovic (19-2-1-1 record, 2.28 goals-against average, .923 save percentage, 2 shutouts), RW Tom Wilson (23 goals, 35 assists, 58 points; signed with Washington), D Connor Carrick (12-32-44, +27), LW Matt Mistele (34-28-60), C Ryan Hartman (23-37-60)
Key losses: C Vincent Trocheck (50-59-109; signed with Florida), G Matt Mahalak (22-11-4-3, 2.88, .906, 3 SO; traded to Kingston), RW Garrett Meurs (32-33-65; signed with Colorado), LW Stefan Noesen (25-28-53 in 51 games; signed with Ottawa)
Outlook: The Whalers have a chance to win consecutive division championships behind the play of Nedeljkovic in net, Carrick on defense and a bevy of scorers up front. But after losing in the second round of the playoffs, the Whalers looks to take that next step in their pursuit of a league title.

Saginaw Spirit
Coach/GM: Greg Gilbert/Jim Paliafito
2012-13 finish: 32-29-4-3, 4th division, 8th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to London 4-0 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: G Jake Paterson (25-18-3-2, 3.53, .901, 1 SO; Detroit prospect), C Eric Locke (44-53-97; Buffalo prospect), C Jimmy Lodge (28-39-67; Winnipeg prospect), C Justin Kea (22-26-48; Buffalo prospect), D Justin Sefton (3-18-21, +8; acquired from Kitchener)
Key losses: LW Garret Ross (44-46-90; signed with Chicago)
Outlook: The Spirit made a quick exit from the playoffs a season ago. With Paterson in net, the the Spirit could develop into a legitimate playoff team. But they still have to fill the voids left by highly skilled players like Ross and Young to make that happen.

Sarnia Sting
Coach/GM: Trevor Letowski/Bill Abercrombie
2012-13 finish: 25-36-5-2, 3rd division, 7th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Plymouth 4-0 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: RW Nikolay Goldobin (30-38-68; top rookie scorer), D Anthony DeAngelo (9-49-58), D Alex Basso (11-33-44), C Nickolas Latta (17-14-31), RW Bryan Moore (11-19-30)
Key losses: C Charles Sarault (22-86-108; signed with Anaheim), LW Reid Boucher (62-33-95; signed with New Jersey), G J.P. Anderson (26-21-1-4, 3.31, .905, 1 SO; signed with San Jose)
Outlook: How does one a team replace two scorers that combined to produce 84 goals and 203 points? The Sting has to answer that question heading into this season following the loss of Sarault – the league leader in assists and runner-up in scoring – and Boucher (No. 5 in scoring last season).

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Coach/GM: Sheldon Keefe/Kyle Dubas
2012-13 finish: 36-26-3-3, 2nd division, 6th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Owen Sound 4-2 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: D Darnell Nurse (12-29-41, +15; signed with Edmonton), G Matt Murray (26-19-2-2, 3.67, .894, 1 SO; Pittsburgh prospect), RW Andrew Fritsch (27-25-52), RW Sergey Tolchinsky (26-25-51), C Jared McCann (21-23-44)
Key losses: C Nick Cousins (27-76-103; signed with Philadelphia), D Ryan Sproul (20-46-66, +11; signed with Detroit), RW Brandon Alderson (28-46-64; signed with Philadelphia), D Colin Miller (20-35-55; signed with Los Angeles), LW David Broll (17-37-54; former Erie Otter, signed with Toronto)
Outlook: Nurse has developed into one of the league’s top players. Murray has grown into a solid goaltender. But will the Greyhounds score enough following the departure of Cousins (No. 3 in the league in scoring), Alderson and Sproul? That will determine how far the Greyhounds go this season.

Windsor Spitfires
Coach/GM: Bob Boughner/Warren Rychel
2012-13 finish: 26-33-3-6, 5th division, 9th conference
Playoff finish: Did not qualify
Key players: LW Kerby Rychel (40-47-67; Columbus prospect), D Slater Koekkoek (6-23-29 in 42 games; signed with Tampa Bay), RW Josh Ho-Sang (14-30-44), C Brady Vail (20-35-55), D Nick Ebert (11-27-38; Los Angeles prospect)
Key losses: RW Alex Aleardi (27-44-71; signed with Springfield-AHL), C Alexander Khokhlachev (22-26-48; signed with Boston)
Outlook: The Spitfires look to rebound from missing the playoffs a season ago. But leaders like Rychel and Koekkoek carry this team back into the postseason. The rest of the Spitfires will determine how deep they travel into the playoffs.

- Victor Fernandes


Posted: September 8th, 2013

Oscar Dansk stopped 21-of-23 shots to lead Columbus to a 4-2 win against Erie Otters teammate Troy Donnay and the New York Rangers on Sunday in the NHL Prospects Tournament at Center Ice Arena in Traverse City, Mich. Donnay had no points and five penalty minutes for a fight with Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires.
Former Otter Andrew Yogan had no points, two shots and two penalty minutes for the Rangers.
Otters F Dane Fox had no p
oints, two shots and 11 penalty minutes in St. Louis’ 4-1 loss to Detroit. He had a fight with Guelph’s Tyler Bertuzzi.
The Rangers conclude the tournament Monday with a 3:30 p.m. game against Minnesota in the fourth-place game, followed by the Blues and Carolina at 4 p.m. in the third-place game. Columbus faces Dallas at 7 p.m. in the second-place game.
At the Toronto Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament, Otters RW Connor Brown and the Maple Leafs lost their finale 6-2 to Ottawa at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario.

Posted: July 29th, 2013

Erie Otters D Adam Pelech has withdrawn from Hockey Canada’s World Junior summer camp because his wrist, which was surgically repaired for the third time this past May 1, didn’t heal as quickly as initially expected. Pelech had surgery to fix a bone that hadn’t healed properly.
The cast was removed about two weeks ago, which was two to three weeks later than Pelech had hoped. “It ended up taking about 11 (weeks). If it would have taken eight or nine weeks, I probably would have been able to play (in the WJC camp),” said Pelech, who originally fractured his wrist early in the 2011-12 Ontario Hockey League season. He underwent the first surgery shortly after suffering the injury, and then the second procedure in May 2012 to remove a screw inserted during the first procedure. “It should be the last (surgery),” he said. “This time they got it right.”
Pelech said he hasn’t suffered a setback in his recovery. He wants to take more time to heal so he will be fully healthy for opening day of Otters training camp Aug. 27 at Mercyhurst Ice Center.
“It really feels a lot better than, say, last summer after my (second) surgery,” Pelech said.
Pelech will attend the opening two days of WJC camp in Montreal on Saturday and Sunday. But he won’t travel with the team to Lake Placid, N.Y., for USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp Aug. 5-10, where they will play exhibition games against the United States, Sweden and Finland. Yet Pelech doesn’t believe not playing in this camp will hurt his chances to earning a spot on the WJC team this coming winter.
“The way I look at it,” Pelech said, “(it’s) better to let it fully heal, and then by the time the Christmas camp comes around, even the regular season, I’ll be able to play to my full potential rather than having this lingering wrist injury that could make me play worse during the season or at the Christmas camp.”
Otters goaltender Oscar Dansk is expected to play for Sweden in that camp. Windsor Spitfires D Slater Koekkoek reportedly has replaced Pelech on Canada’s WJC roster.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: May 14th, 2013

The city of London, Ontario, and the OHL’s London Knights will host the 2014 Mastercard Memorial Cup, the league announced Tuesday.
The Knights earned the right to hold the CHL’s annual tournament, which includes champions of the OHL, WHL and QMJHL and the host club, over the Barrie Colts and Windsor Spitfires. Officials from all three clubs made formal bid presentations to the site selection committee this past April 17.
The Knights’ potential roster, which has more than 22 players eligible to return from a team that won a second straight league championship Monday, proved to be in the Knights’ favor. “The site selection committee determined that while all three clubs possess sufficient elements for a suitable host city,” OHL legal counsel Gord Kirke, a committee members, said in a statement, “it is the projected quality of the London Knights Hockey Club next season that is the decisive factor.” The 96th annual tournament will be held at Budweiser Gardens in London May 16-25, 2014. The Knights begin play in the 2013 Memorial Cup Friday in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, against the host Saskatoon Blades.

Posted: February 28th, 2013

Plymouth Whalers (34-17-5-4) at Erie Otters (17-36-3-5)
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Erie Insurance Arena
On the air: WFNN-AM/1330, (live stream)
Upcoming schedule: Saturday vs. Windsor, 7 p.m., March 8-9 at Owen Sound, 7:30 p.m.
What to expect: The Otters have lost five straight – two shy of their matching season-worst skid set Jan. 21 to Feb. 3 – and eight of their last 10 games. … They will play without four regulars suspended by the OHL – forwards Dane Fox (14 goals, 30 points in 31 games), Jake Evans (5-11-16) and Hayden Hodgson (8-4-12) and defenseman Adam Pelech (7-30-37). … Hodgson will miss the final seven games of the season and first three games of the 2013-14 season for a hit that injured rookie LW Henri Ikonen, Kingston’s leading scorer, in last Sunday’s loss. … Evans will miss both games this weekend for instigating the second fight in the same stoppage during that game. … Fox completes a two-game suspension tonight for instigating a fight in the last five minutes of a loss to Sarnia Feb. 22. … Pelech completes his five-game suspension this weekend for a 5-minute cross-checking penalty and game misconduct Feb. 18 in London. … The Otters also remain without captain Connor Brown (concussion). He hopes to resume skating next week, and holds out hope he can rejoin the lineup before the season ends March 16 against Guelph. … Otters coach Kris Knoblauch said club officials would like to recall prospects to fill in for those missing players. But those prospects are still in the playoffs with Tier II teams. Knoblauch was unsure if they could arrange call-ups in time for tonight’s game. … Otters C Connor McDavid (24-34-58) and Sarnia RW Nikolay Goldobin (26-32-58) are tied atop the league’s rookie scoring list. Both teams have seven games left. McDavid leads Goldobin by two in assists and trails Goldobin by two in goals. … Plymouth entered Thursday night’s game at Niagara leading the West Division by five points over Sault Ste. Marie and second in the Western Conference. … The Whalers have won eight of their last 10 games. … They began Thursday leading the league with 246 goals scored. The Otters have allowed 277 goals, the second-worst total. … Plymouth can sweep the four-game season series from the Otters with a win. … C Vincent Trocheck, a Pittsburgh native, ranks second in the league with 42 goals, third with 91 points and seventh with 49 assists. He has 18 goals and 41 points in 20 games since being acquired from Saginaw Jan. 10. … Windsor (24-29-1-6) entered Thursday night’s home game against OHL-leading London trailing Saginaw by nine points for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. The Spitfires have seven games left. … They had lost seven of their previous 10 games.
Note: Plymouth’s record doesn’t include Thursday night’s game at Niagara.

* More online: Check out Otters rookie winger Hayden Hodgson’s thoughts on his 10-game suspension on the Shootout hockey blog at and Twitter at

- Victor Fernandes

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