Defense Secures 2-1 Otters Win
The Otters emerged victorious from their tough Western Conference matchups, dispatching the Sarnia Sting, London Knights, and Owen Sound Attack en route to the OHL Championship Series. They face the Mississauga Steelheads, who defeated the Ottawa 67’s, Oshawa Generals, and Peterborough Petes in the east. The Otters came away with a 1-0 series lead after defeating the Steelheads 2-1 off a strong defensive effort.
Similarly to other playoff series, the Otters and Steelheads tested the waters in the first period, wary of surrendering the first goal of the matchup. The Otters’ high-flying offense pushed the pace, however, testing Steelheads goalie Matthew Mancina with ten shots through twenty minutes–while Mississauga registered four on Troy Timpano. Mancina led the Steelheads to a scoreless first period, as he made several key stops–including a desperation save on a rushing Alex DeBrincat–to keep his team in the game.
Erie’s Warren Foegele managed to break through the Steelheads’ collapsing defense early in the second, racing in on goal and deking around Mancina to score the Otters’ first goal of the game. Mississauga had a three-on-one opportunity just after Foegele’s goal, but the good stickwork of TJ Fergus and a pokecheck by Timpano denied the Steelheads a shot. Just minutes later, Otters captain Dylan Strome received a pass from Darren Raddysh, skated around Mancina, and slipped the puck behind the goalie to give Erie a 2-0 lead heading into the final period.
Erie played a defensively responsible third period, and Mississauga was unable to maintain any consistent offensive pressure, leaving Timpano to make the occasional save on chances that made their way through the defense. Stefan LeBlanc eventually capitalized late in the game, scoring from the slot through traffic, but the Otters managed to secure the 2-1 win.
Dylan Strome and Warren Foegele scored the Otters’ two goals, and Troy Timpano made 13 saves on 14 shots in the win.
Stefan LeBlanc scored Mississauga’s lone goal, and Matthew Mancina stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced.
The Otters take a 1-0 series win with their home-ice victory. They’ll face the Steelheads in Erie on Sunday, May 7, where they’ll look to earn another win before heading to Mississauga for Games Three and Four.