February 11, 2017
Despite missing starting goaltender Troy Timpano for the past two weeks due to illness, the Otters faced the Saginaw Spirit in Erie with eight-straight wins under their belt–largely because of Joe Murdaca’s stellar play in net. Murdaca had another solid game and Alex DeBrincat earned four points en route to a 9-4 victory over Saginaw; it was the Otters ninth straight win.
The Otters wasted no time getting on the board in the first period: Taylor Raddysh muscled the puck into Saginaw’s zone, deked past the goaltender, and put the puck into the net to give Erie the early 1-0 lead. Raddysh’s goal was scored just 32 seconds into the game. Then, minutes later, Kyle Maksimovich circled behind Saginaw’s net and passed to Mitch Byrne on the point; Byrne took a hard slapshot that ricocheted past Spirit goaltender Brendan Bonello, giving Erie the 2-0 lead before five minutes had passed in the period. Later, Erie’s Christian Girhiny crammed the puck past Bonello during a scramble in front of the Saginaw net, making it 3-0 for the Otters. Saginaw got the goal right back, when Matthew Kreis sent a hard wristshot over Erie goaltender Joe Murdaca’s shoulder; Keaton Middleton slipped a shot past the goaltender shortly thereafter to make it 3-2. Saginaw scored their third unanswered goal to tie the game at three, but the Spirit would get nabbed for too many men on the ice on the shift after their goal. Deadly on the power play, Anthony Cirelli tipped a shot from DeBrincat past Bonello, regaining Erie’s lead. The Otters headed off for the first intermission with the game 4-3 in their favor. Erie scored three unanswered goals to begin the first, and Saginaw scored three unanswered in the second half of the period.
The second period was scoreless through the first half, but the Otters began a glut of goals with just three minutes left: Dylan Strome slipped the puck through Bonello to give Erie the two goal lead; Alex DeBrincat notched his 300th career point on the play. Then, DeBrincat scored on the rush just a moment later, with Kyle Pettit finishing off the period with a wraparound goal to make it 7-3.
Erie’s Ivan Lodnia joined the rush of scoring in the third period, collecting a rebound on Bonello’s far side and putting it away for his 22nd goal of the season. Saginaw’s Marcus Crawford scored on the power play just minutes later, but Taylor Raddysh came back the other way to score his second goal of the game, making it 9-4 before the game ended.
For Erie, Alex DeBrincat scored a goal and added three assists; Kyle Maksimovich notched four assists; Taylor Raddysh scored two goal and two assists; and Dylan Strome scored a goal and two assists. Several other Otters had multi-point nights. In net, Joe Murdaca made 22 stops on 26 shots for the victory.
Matthew Kreis, Keaton Middleton, Brady Gilmour, and Marcus Crawford scored Saginaw’s goals, and Brendan Bonello made 34 saves on 43 shots in the 9-4 loss.
The Otters continue their brief homestand on February 12 against Western Conference rival Windsor Spitfires.