April 15, 2017
After Janne Kuokkanen’s two goals stole Game 4 for their opponents, the Otters headed back to Erie to face the London Knights for Game 5. It was a crucial game, as the winner would need just one more victory to eliminate the other team. Despite surrendering three goals in under a minute, the Erie Otters fought out a 6-3 victory, giving them a 3-2 series lead.
Both teams tested each other early, the high-powered offenses shut down only by goaltenders Troy Timpano (Erie) and Tyler Parsons (London). The physical, up-tempo play of the Otters’ fourth line hemmed the Knights in their own zone halfway through the first period, creating an open shooting lane for defenseman Jordan Sambrook: Sambrook rifled a shot that forced its way through Parsons to give Erie an early lead. Then, minutes later, Alex DeBrincat shot through traffic and Parsons, making it 2-0 in the Otters’ favor just before the first period ended. The Otters outshot the Knights a staggering 21-6 through twenty minutes.
Though the Otters dominated the first period, the second period told a different story. In a mirror image of what happened in Game 4, the Otters surrendered three goals in just under one minute of play, surrendering the lead and trailing the Knights 3-2. Max Jones scored twice for the Knights, and Janne Kuokkanen–who scored twice in Game 4–netted the Knights third goal. The Otters would not go quietly into the night, however: Warren Foegele created a two-on-one opportunity, shot for the rebound, and Patrick Fellows buried it to tie the game at three.
Both teams played conservatively in the third, knowing the next goal could decide the game. Though the Knights had better scoring chances early in the period, it was the Otters who broke the tie. Erie’s Taylor Raddysh caught an errant pass at the defensive blue line, raced down to the other end on a breakaway, and put away a backhand shot away to give the Otters a 4-3 lead. Dylan Strome scored short-side on Parsons just over a minute later to make it 5-3, and Anthony Cirelli sealed the deal with minutes left in the third. The Otters won Game 5 by a score of 6-3, putting the defending Memorial Cup champions on the brink of elimination.
Taylor Raddysh scored a goal and two assists for the Otters; Jordan Sambrook, Alex DeBrincat, and Anthony Cirelli scored a goal and assist each; and Warren Foegele notched two assists. Troy Timpano made 7 saves on 10 shots; then, Joseph Murdaca stopped all 13 shots he faced in the victory.
Max Jones scored twice for the Knights, and Tyler Parsons made 33 saves on 39 shots in the loss.
The Otters have a 3-2 series lead over the London Knights, the defending Memorial Cup champions. They’ll head to London for Game 6 of the series on Sunday, April 16 with a chance to progress to the Western Conference Final.