Oshawa, Ont. – Stephen Harper scored two goals as he led the Erie Otters to a 7-4 win and a season sweep against one of the top teams in the OHL, the Oshawa Generals, Friday night.
Connor McDavid broke the ice at the 16:32 mark of the first period with his 22nd goal of the season. During the Erie power play, the rookie used his speed to skate from the left wing and he faked a shot from in front of the net only to put the puck off the right pad of Kenny Appleby from behind the goal line to put the Otters on the board.
Luke Cairns potted home another power play goal with 41 seconds left in the first to give the Otters a 2-0 lead. Cairns roofed the puck into the net off of a rebound from a Dane Fox shot for his ninth goal of the season at 19:19.
Dane Fox chased Appleby from the net three minutes and 22 seconds into the second period with his 10th goal of the season after he banged in a rebound from the right circle off of a Jimmy McDowell shot.
Matt Petgrave then scored his first of two goals to put Oshawa on the scoreboard at 8:31. Stephen Harper answered for the Otters 31 seconds later as he found a loose puck in the slot and snapped a shot through the blocker of Dan Altshuller for his 14th goal of the season.
The Otters took a 5-1 lead with a minute and three seconds left in the second period. Spencer Abraham slapped home a shot from the high slot through traffic for his fifth goal of the season, the Otters’ third power play goal of the game.
Petgrave scored his second goal of the game 23 seconds later to pull the Generals within three goals going into the third period.
Harper scored his second goal of the game two minutes and 16 seconds into the third after he took a great pass from Jake Evans in the left circle and fired a shot past a diving Altshuller for his 15th goal of the season.
Scott Laughton then collected a pair of goals at 3:32 and 10:48 to trim the Otters lead to two goals. J.P. Labardo sealed the victory for the Otters with 54 seconds to go as he put home an empty net shorthanded goal against his former team for his 18th goal of the campaign.
Devin Williams stopped 42 Generals shots to earn the win for the Otters, who were 3-for-7 with the man advantage. The win in Oshawa was Erie’s first since Oct. 20, 2006 (7-6 in a shootout) and their first win in regulation at Oshawa since Jan. 21, 2001 (5-0).
The Otters were able to travel to the game in spite of the inclement weather in Southern Ontario, which saw a foot of snow fall throughout the day. The team bus left at 8:00 a.m. and arrived in Oshawa seven hours later.
Next up for the Otters is a road game against the Belleville Bulls Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Listen to all the action on Fox Sports Radio AM 1330 The Fan.
Locastro-Bonini Insurance Three Stars of the Game
No. 1 Star – Stephen Harper, Erie – two goals
No. 2 Star – Scott Laughton, Oshawa – two goals
No. 3 Star – Matt Petgrave, Oshawa – two goals, one assist