Otters storm back, claim 7-4 victory
ERIE, Pa. – Connor Brown scored three goals, including the winner on the power play at 16:37 of the third period, to pace the Erie Otters to a 7-4 Ontario Hockey League victory Friday night over the Brampton Battalion, which blew a 3-0 lead.
Mac McDonnell scored two goals, and Stephen Harper and Adam Pelech had the other goals for Erie, which won a second consecutive game for the second time this season and is 7-37-4 for 18 points, fifth in the Midwest Division with the league’s worst record.
Luke Cairns contributed three assists, while goaltender Ramis Sadikov made 45 saves before a crowd of 2,565.
Brandon Robinson scored two goals and Matt MacLeod and Sam Carrick one each for the Battalion, 27-14-9 for 63 points in the Central Division, two points behind the first-place Niagara IceDogs, who edged the host London Knights 3-2.
Goaltender Keegan Wilson gave up six goals on 31 shots as the Troops suffered a second straight loss, having been blanked 3-0 at home by Niagara last Sunday.
With Ian Watters off for delay of game, Brown broke a 4-4 tie when he slipped alone behind the defence in the deep slot to redirect a feed from Travis Wood.
McDonnell made it 6-4 when he blasted a shot home from the right-wing circle at 17:13 after getting past defender Dylan Blujus. Brown then added a power-play empty-netter from centre ice for his 18th goal of the season at 19:42.
McDonnell gave Erie a 4-3 lead with the man advantage at 10:34 of the period, deflecting a screened left-point drive by Troy Donnay, but Carrick tied it with his team-leading 26th goal at 13:47. Barclay Goodrow raced deep down the left wing before centring the puck from behind the goal line to the onrushing Carrick for the conversion.
Rookie Robinson scored his 12th goal at 7:04 of the second period to give the Battalion a 3-0 lead, stepping into the left circle off a draw and wiring a shot to the far corner over Sadikov’s glove. Patrik Machac earned his second assist of the game on the play.
But the Otters, outshot 21-8 in the period, woke from their slumber, with Brown connecting on the power play at 8:48 when he tipped a Kris Grant blast from the blue line.
Harper scored 1:20 later, slipping the rebound of a Grant shot under Wilson’s left pad.
Defenceman Pelech tied it at 18:01 when he drilled a slap shot through traffic from high on the left side.
MacLeod opened the scoring with his seventh goal at 1:57 of the first period. Jamie Lewis was knocked down in front of the Erie net, but MacLeod moved in on the left side to sweep the puck home. Jordan Auld had the other assist.
Robinson struck at 7:20, depositing a backhander behind Sadikov after Brett Mackie shoveled the puck into the slot.
The beleaguered Sadikov made 13 saves in the period, including a good stop against Carrick off the left wing on a two-on-one rush in the 18th minute.
The Battalion scratched Zach Bell, Philip Lane and Alex O’Neil, none of whom made the trip. Erie scratches were Tyler McCarthy and Connor Crisp.
The Battalion visits Niagara at 7 p.m. Saturday. The game can be seen live in Brampton on Rogers Cable 10 and in Bolton, Caledon and Orangeville on Rogers Cable 63.
BATTALION NOTEBOOK: Battalion coach Stan Butler, midway through an eight-game suspension for actions after a 2-1 win over the visiting Sudbury Wolves on Jan. 22, watched from the stands. Assistants Ryan Oulahen and Jason Ward ran the bench … Ward, who played with Erie for one and a half seasons starting in 1996-97, was part of the Otters’ inaugural campaign … Despite a full slate of 10 games Friday night, referee Mike Marley, who raised Butler’s ire in the Sudbury game, hasn’t worked since then … A US$45-million expansion and renovation program has rendered both the Tullio Arena and the Erie Civic Center that houses it a construction zone. Dust and debris abound everywhere. “It smells like wood up here,” yelled one young fan … The Battalion went 0-for-3 on the power play. Erie was 4-for-5 … The Troops are 12-6-7 on the road. Erie is 4-17-2 at home … Wilson, who ended a run of three consecutive extended losses in a 3-2 win over the host Oshawa Generals last Saturday night, is 9-5-5 … The Otters hadn’t played since last Saturday night, when they won by the same 7-4 score at Sudbury … Carrick played his 236th game, passing Jay McClement and Howie Martin for sole possession of ninth place on the club’s career list … Opening line combinations included Carrick centring left winger Watters and right winger Goodrow, Machac pivoting left winger Mackie and Robinson on right wing and Lewis centring left winger Derek Froats and right winger MacLeod. Mitchell Porowski centred Connor Jarvis on left wing and right winger Andreas Tsogkas … The Otters honoured their billets before the game … The teams split the season series, the Battalion having won 5-2 at home Jan. 15.