The Erie Otters fell to the Sarnia Sting by the final score of 4-3 in heartbreaking fashion tonight. Taylor Raddysh scored his 99th and 100th goal with the Otters tonight in his two-goal performance. Alex Gritz scored the first goal of the game to trigger the Teddy Bear Toss and Owen Headrick extended his point streak to nine games.
The Otters came out strong in the 1st period against the top team in the league, outshooting the Sting by a factor of nearly 2-1 by the end of twenty minutes. Both teams mounted great scoring chances, but the Otters found the back of the net first. Alex Gritz netted his sixth goal of the season just over halfway through the 1st, assisted by Jack Duff and Patrick Fellows, to initiate the annual Teddy Bear Toss in the EIA. Fans threw thousands of stuffed animals onto the ice in celebration, which were then collected and donated to the Salvation Army. After the short delay, play resumed and the Otters picked right back up where they had started, earning some more great scoring chances. Troy Timpano was solid in net all period, looking quick and on top of his game, making key saves and playing the puck well. The Otters killed a late penalty against Jordan Sambrook for slashing and the period subsequently ended at 1-0, Otters.
Sarnia got on the scoreboard in the early minutes of the 2nd to tie the game at 1-1 from in close on Timpano. The Sting received their first penalty of the night five minutes later, which the Otters capitalized on. Taylor Raddysh scored on the power play to put the Otters up 2-1. Ivan Lodnia picked up an assist on the PPG along with Owen Headrick, who extended his point streak to nine games and counting. The Sting tied the game again with 6:25 to play in the middle period from a deflection on a shot from the blue line that found its way behind Timpano. The goal was reviewed but ultimately stood, setting the score at 2-2 heading into the final period of play.
The Sting scored just two minutes into the 3rd following one of multiple short delays while the officials fixed an apparent problem with Sarnia’s net moorings. The Otters’ offense produced fantastic scoring opportunities in the 3rd that somehow stayed out until Taylor Raddysh finally broke through with his 100th goal as an Otter with just four minutes left in regulation to tie the game at 3-3. Unfortunately, the Sting were able to get a quick goal back to regain the lead under a minute after Erie’s tying goal. Shortly thereafter, Gera Poddubnyi received a highly questionable penalty for a “chinstrap violation” that apparently made him an “ineligible player” with under two minutes remaining in the game. The Otters, unable to mount a late push due to the penalty, lost by the final score of 4-3 to the Sting.
Erie outshot Sarnia 35-27 in the at-home loss. The Otters played one of their best games of hockey tonight, but they were unable to surmount some of the extra challenges set in their way on top of playing the top team in the CHL.
The Otters next play in Niagara on November 30th at 7pm.