Courtesy: Erie Otters
Williams Blanks Hounds, Otters Control Series 3-0
Erie, Pennsylvania – Devin Williams backstopped the Erie Otters to a 2-0 shutout over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Monday night, giving Erie a commanding three games to none lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
Williams made 29 stops on the night on the way to his second consecutive shutout of the Greyhounds. The Erie goaltender now has a shutout sequence of 123:46, the longest playoff shutout sequence in Otters postseason history. Josh Disher previously held the mark at 101 consecutive scoreless minutes played.
The Otters set the tone early in the first couple minutes with a crushing hit from Kurtis MacDermid in the neutral zone. Then Connor McDavid blew by the defense, only to hit the post after beating Greyhounds goalie Matt Murray. The Hounds responded by outshooting the Otters in the first 31-11. The teams were scoreless after one period of play.
Erie rebounded in the second period with Brendan Gaunce leading the Otters to the first goal. Gaunce, controlling the puck in the offensive zone, found Troy Donnay at the point who snapped the puck past a screened Murray. The Otters 1-0 lead would be in jeopardy soon after that as they filled the penalty box, awarding Sault Ste. Marie a 5-on-3 man advantage. The Otters would kill off both penalties, reenergizing the crowd. Williams stopped another ten shots in the second as Erie took the one goal lead into the intermission.
The Greyhounds needed to respond in the third as they were staring down a three games to none series deficit. Erie got back to their game in the third, outshooting the Greyhounds 11-6. Andre Burakovsky would seal the deal late in the third when Connor McDavid sprung him loose on a breakaway. Burakovsky, who had been scoreless in his last three games, went five-hole on Murray to extend the Otters lead to two with 1:16 to play. Williams slammed the door shut as Erie took the game 2-0.
The Erie Otters will look to complete the first postseason series sweep in franchise history Tuesday night, when the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds visit the Erie Insurance Arena for game four.