ERIE, Pa. - The Erie Otters won their final game of the 2017-18 season 6-4 over the Guelph Storm.
The Otters’ offense was firing on all cylinders in the 1st period, putting up three goals in 20 minutes of play. Alex Gritz in particular got off to a quick start, netting the first goal of the game just 1:42 into play. The Storm got on the board in the second half of the period after the Otters had a defensive mishap in their zone that resulted in a steal and a dish to a wide-open Ratcliffe backdoor, 1-1. The Otters’ offense broke through again late, as Kyle Maksimovich banked a cross-crease pass from Gritz in off of Popovich’s glove to take a 2-1 lead with 2:40 left in the period. Troy Lajeunesse added to the lead with a backhander that slipped past Popovich and the left post to make it 3-1 with 19 seconds left. Both teams had one power play opportunity each. The Otters outshot the Storm 15-9 in the 1st.
Guelph spent the opening minutes of the 2nd in Erie’s zone, but the Otters were able to weather the Storm and defend their 3-1 lead tonight. Nearing the halfway mark of the game, Cam Hillis took a Slashing penalty that sent the Otters to the power play. Hayden Fowler banged in a rebound from a Maksimovich shot that popped out backdoor to convert on the PP and give the Otters a commanding 4-1 lead. Nico Daws replaced Anthony Popovich in net for the Storm following the Fowler goal. Play began to get increasingly chippy as the 2nd drew on, with Kurtis Henry and Alexey Toropchenko both going to the box with 4:38 left in the period for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Jack Duff took a Tripping penalty with 1:05 left; Chad Yetman got a shorthanded breakaway with Fellows on his flank but Daws made the stop. On the other end of the ice, Anand Oberoi had to make some sprawling, Fleury-esque saves to keep the score 4-1, with Guelph outshooting Erie 15-9 in the 2nd. Shots were tied at 24-24 by the end of two.
The third period saw a fight between Alexey Toropchenko and Kurtis Henry that had been brewing all game. The refs let them go for quite the bruhaha before both went down the runway with a Fighting Major and Game Misconduct. Zach Poirier took a Slashing penalty that resulted in a PPG from Gera Poddubyni 8:25 in. Lajeunesse took a Hooking penalty with 7:05 left that allowed the Storm to score on the PP with 6:14 left, 5-2. The Storm scored again on a one-timer from Samorukov with 5:16 left to make it 5-3. The Storm pulled their goaltender and Patry notched the empty netter to seal the deal at 6-3. Fellows took a Tripping penalty with 44 seconds left, enabling the Storm to score one last PPG. The final score was 6-4, Otters.
The three stars of the game were the Otters’ overagers, Patrick Fellows (1A), Owen Headrick (2A), and Troy Lajeunesse (1G).
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