Otters take Game 1 of significant weekend set

Article content

A weekend in Erie has never been so crucial.


Story continues below

Article content

It’s likely the Owen Sound Attack and Erie Otters are going to battle down the stretch in a meaningful playoff race. The Otters landed the first punch Friday with a 5-3 win inside the Erie Insurance Arena.

These two teams will play four more times down the homestretch, including another game Saturday night.

It was Matthew Struthers who opened the scoring near the midway point of the first period. The over-age forward slammed home the 200th point of his Ontario Hockey League career to give the Attack the 1-0 lead.

Chad Yetmen spoiled the milestone marker by netting the Otters’ first goal less than a minute later. The 10th-round pick in 2016 now has 26 goals for the season and is on a five-game twine bulging tear.

Owen Sound only managed six shots on net in the first period, and with 14 seconds to go disaster struck for the Scenic City club.

Struthers caught Otters’ leading scorer Maxim Golod with a big hit late in the first period. The officials reviewed the hit and dinged Struthers with a five-minute major and game misconduct for a check-to-the-head.

Not only did the Attack open the second period without their first-line winger, but they had nearly five minutes of penalty kill to execute.

Unfortunately for the Otters, their man-advantage hasn’t been much of an advantage this season. The 19th-ranked power-play unit failed to capitalize.

Golod, back in good health, assisted on Jack Duff’s fourth tally of the season to give the Otters their first lead of the game at the 8:50 mark of the second period. The assist gave Golod 10 points in his last six games. The former 12th-round pick is 16th in league scoring.


Story continues below

Article content

The Otters’ lead didn’t last long.

Owen Sound’s power-play unit solved the Otter’s league-best penalty kill just over a minute later. The goal was credited to Sergey Popov despite it looking like Matt Philip got his stick on the disk. Nonetheless, the game was tied 2-2.

Hayden Fowler’s 16th goal of the campaign gave the Otter’s the lead at the end of the second period, 3-2, as they outshot Owen Sound 27-17 through 40 minutes.

Who else would get Owen Sound back into the game in the third other than over-age defender Brady Lyle?

Lyle’s 14th goal of the season tied the game 3-3 and continued his career-best campaign as the d-man is currently fourth in points scored by a defender in the OHL, and second in power-play goals with nine.

Yet the Otters kept sliding back. Connor Lockhart scored the game-winner on a breakaway less than a minute after Lyle had squared the contest. The third-overall pick in last spring’s OHL draft notched his seventh of the season to give the Otters their third lead of the contest.

Fowler added an empty-net marker to seal the victory.

Aidan Dudas picked up a pair of assists in the contest.

Mack Guzda stopped 26 of 30 shots while Murphy got in front of 19 of Owen Sound’s 22 shots on goal.

The Attack and Otters will get right back at it Saturday night inside the Erie Insurance Arena. Puck drop for the rematch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Latest National Stories


Story continues below

News Near Owen Sound

This Week in Flyers