Otters Unable to Claw Back, Lose 4-2 to Attack
Playing their third game in three days, the Erie Otters traveled to Owen Sound for their last game against Western Conference rival Attack this season. The Otters were missing several notable players from the lineup, including Anthony Cirelli and Kyle Maksimovich.
Owen Sound started the first period with an extended bout of offensive pressure, putting up eight shots through the ten minutes while the Otters only managed one. The tide turned in the Otters’ favor just past the halfway mark of the first, however, when Dylan Strome broke in on Owen Sound goaltender Michael McNiven and fired a hard slapshot over the goalie’s blocker. The Otters headed off for the first intermission with the 1-0 lead.
Erie’s Alex DeBrincat, who handily leads the OHL in points and goals, pushed his goal-scoring streak to fourteen games early in the second period: he one-timed the puck past McNiven while on the power play to put the Otters up 2-0. But Owen Sound shocked the Otters with three goals in under a minute of play: Jonah Gadjovich scored twice–one of them from a sharp angle inside the Otters zone–and Cordell James chipped in to give the Attack a surprising lead before the end of the period. Though the Otters entered the game with confidence off their decisive victory over the Barrie Colts the night previous, they needed a momentum swing and a strong third period to match potential playoff partner Owen Sound.
The Otters pressured throughout the third period but were unable to beat McNiven. In the final minutes, Petrus Palmu scored an empty-net goal as the Otters had Murdaca pulled for the extra attacker. A late Erie penalty nixed any chance for them to get back into the game, and the Otters closed out their three-game weekend by losing to the Attack 4-2. They could not recover from the minute-lapse at the end of the second period.
Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat scored the Otters’ goals. Darren Raddysh’s two assists gives him the Otters’ record for single-season points from a defender with 68. Joseph Murdaca made 39 saves on the 42 shots he faced, with the final goal being an empty netter.
Jonah Gadjovich scored two goals for the Attack, and Michael McNiven made 23 saves on 25 shots in the victory.
Across three nights, the Otters’ won once and lost in regulation twice. They take a short break before returning to Erie–where they have not yet lost in regulation this season–to face the Niagara IceDogs on Friday, March 3.