Foegele Secures Otters’ 4-3 Victory
Down 2-1 in the series, the Erie Otters faced the Attack in Owen Sound for an important Game Four, facing the possibility of trailing three games to one before heading back to Erie. Though Game Four went down to the wire, the Otters edged the Attack 4-3, tying the series 2-2.
For the fourth straight game, the Otters scored the first goal: Jordan Sambrook, who has three goals and nine points throughout the postseason, threw the puck on net and scored, giving the Otters an early 1-0 lead. Just like the first three games of the series, however, the lead didn’t last long: just seven seconds into their power play, Owen Sound’s Santino Centorame shot through heavy traffic and Erie goaltender Troy Timpano to tie the game at one. At the other end, the Otters threatened to score during a scramble in front of Attack goalie Michael McNiven, but Jacob Friend knocked the net off its moorings before his opponents could put the puck across the line; the Otters did not score on the resulting power play. They pushed the pace offensively through the rest of the period, and their hard work paid off when Cirelli’s pass found Kyle Maksimovich, who rifled the shot over McNiven’s glove to regain the Otters’ lead. Maksimovich and the Otters skated off for the first intermission with the 2-1 advantage.
Cirelli, early in the second period, found the bouncing rebound during a power play and put the shot past McNiven, making it 3-1. The Attack were not about to go quietly into the night, however, and they rattled off two quick goals to tie the game just past the halfway mark of the second: Matt Schmalz and Nick Suzuki beat Timpano in close on the crease to tie the game at three entering the third period.
The Otters’ playoff hopes were on the line in the third period: few teams come back from a 3-1 series deficit. When Erie was called for a delay-of-game penalty late in the game, it looked all but certain that the Attack would score another power play goal; the hard work of Erie’s Warren Foegele prevented this, however. Foegele, the Otters’ top penalty killer, caught Cirelli’s pass, sprinted to Owen Sound’s zone, and put the backhander past McNiven to give the Otters a one-goal lead. The Attack’s offense surged late in the game, but a concerted effort by Erie’s stalwart defenders denied their opponents’ zone entries, and the Otters held out for the 4-3 victory.
Anthony Cirelli scored a goal and two assists for the Otters, and Warren Foegele scored the shorthanded game-winner. Troy Timpano stopped 27 of the 30 shots he faced in the win.
Nick Suzuki put up two assists on the night, and Michael McNiven made 31 saves on 35 shots in the loss.
The playoff series is tied at two games apiece for the Otters and Attack. They’ll head back to Erie for Game Five on Friday, April 28. Both teams need two further wins to advance to the OHL finals.