Otters Beat Attack 7-2 to Reach OHL Finals


The Erie Otters traveled to Owen Sound for Game Six of the Western Conference Finals, where the Attack were facing elimination. The Otters capitalized on their chances and, despite a close first and second period, defeated the Owen Sound Attack 7-2 to move on to the OHL Finals. Anthony Cirelli scored a hat-trick and added an assist for the Otters.

The Attack, needing a good start in the first period, got on the board first as Aidan Dudas–who scored twice in Game Five–walked through the Erie defenders and snapped a shot through Otters goalie Troy Timpano. With the 1-0 lead, Owen Sound built on Dudas’s goal by hammering the Otters’ net with shots, but Timpano stayed strong to keep his team in the game. Then, on the power play, Erie’s Anthony Cirelli capitalized on a big rebound off goalie Michael McNiven’s pad, firing the puck into the back of the net and tying the game at one. Near the end of the period, Owen Sound captain Santino Centorame was called for a slew foot in the corner–enough for a five minute major penalty and an ejection from the game. With the first period complete, the Otters were tied with the Attack at one but would start the second period with over three minutes remaining on the power play.

Owen Sound’s aggressive penalty kill prevented the Otters from setting up for most of their extended power play, but Darren Raddysh scored from the point on a screened McNiven to give the Otters a 2-1 lead. Then, just minutes later, Cirelli tipped Owen Headrick’s shot, redirecting the puck past the goalie. Owen Sound threatened to score on two consecutive power plays, overlapping for just under a minute of 5-on-3, but Timpano and the Otters escaped the Attack’s resurgence. Petrus Palmu clawed his team back within one before the end of the second period, but Otters captain Dylan Strome came right back to restore the two-goal lead.

Strome scored again early in the third period during a scrum in front of the Owen Sound net, making it 5-2 in the Otters’ favor. Owen Sound had one last opportunity to get back into the game during a power play midway through the third. Cirelli, however, broke free of the Otters’ zone for a shorthanded breakaway, and he deked past McNiven to complete his Game Six hat-trick. Warren Foegele scored for the Otters minutes later by wristing a hard shot over the goalie’s glove, giving the Otters a 7-2 lead at the halfway mark of the third that would stand for the remainder of the game. The Erie Otters eliminated the Owen Sound Attack in six games to move on to the OHL Championship Series.

For the Otters, Anthony Cirelli scored a hat-trick and added an assist; Dylan Strome scored twice and notched an assist; Darren Raddysh and Warren Foegele scored a goal and two assists each; and Kyle Maksimovich and Alex DeBrincat both notched two assists. Troy Timpano made 31 saves on 33 shots to secure the victory for the Otters.

Aidan Dudas and Petrus Palmu scored Owen Sound’s goals, and Michael McNiven stopped 26 of the 33 shots he faced in the loss.

After dropping 2-1 in the series despite home-ice advantage, the Otters rattled off three-straight wins to eliminate Owen Sound in six games. Erie will face off against Mississauga for the first game of the OHL Championship Series on Thursday, May 4. Mississauga eliminated the Peterborough Petes in four games in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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