The Erie Otters keep their championship hopes alive as they take game four of the Western Conference Final 5-2 over the Guelph Storm to force a fifth game at the Sleeman Centre Friday night in Guelph.
The Erie Otters saw their top line of Connor Brown, Connor McDavid, and Dane Fox come back to life Tuesday night, as they trio accounted for three goals and registered seven points. Devin Williams found his former self stopping 26 shots, including a few beauties, on the way to his ninth win this postseason.
The Guelph Storm picked up where they left off the previous night, scoring the opening goal just 1:15 into the contest. Zack Mitchell finished off a Kerby Rychel centering feed to give Guelph the 1-0 lead. Erie responded quickly and with authority. Dylan Strome ripped home his third of the playoffs to tie the game. Then Connor Brown gave the Otters the lead after he finished off a Connor McDavid pass. The Otters took a lead for the first time since the 2:48 mark of the third period in game one of the series. Joel Wigle notched his second of the playoffs extending the Erie lead to two and chasing Storm goalie Justin Nichols from the net for backup Matthew Mancina. Kerby Rychel brought Guelph within one just 37 seconds later on a tap in set up by Robby Fabbri. But Dane Fox would reestablish the Otters two goal lead with his first goal in five games, sending the Otters to the first intermission with a 4-2 lead.
The Erie Otters had their goaltending back as Devin Williams found his groove again. Williams made several key big time stops in the second period, none better than his robbery of Kerby Rychel. Williams made an initial save on shot from the far circle, the rebound trickled to his left right to the tape of an open Rychel. Williams, already in the splits, brought the glove hand across to stop Rychel on the door step and preserve the Otters 4-2 lead.
In the third the Otters continued to wear away their opponent. Erie fired off 44 shots at Guelph net minders, including 12 in the third period. Williams was stellar throughout the final frame stopping 12 shots of his own. Guelph, with time running down, emptied their net for the extra attacker with close to two minutes remaining. Erie, after a string of defensive zone face-offs, finally caught there break when Fox handed off to Brown as he sealed the deal with empty net goal as the Otters went on to win 5-2.
The Otters forced a game five for just the second time in franchise history when trailing three games to none. The teams will return to Guelph Friday night for game five at the Sleeman Centre at 7:30 p.m.