ARTICHUK, MCDONALD’S TWO-POINT NIGHTS LIFT OTTERS TO FIRST VICTORY OF 2023
Erie, Pennsylvania – The second-annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day would see the Erie Otters welcome in the foe they last had a win on home ice against, the Mississauga Steelheads. Coming in fresh off a 5-2 loss to Barrie, the Steelheads were looking to close out their weekend in winning fashion and continue a good streak of points. For the Erie Otters, 2023 had seem them winless in the first five games, looking to finally return to the win column. With Kyle Downey in net for Erie, the Otters would get the job done.
A scoreless first period would see the Otters create plenty of opportunities, but be unable to convert against Ryerson Leenders. Erie would go 0/3 on its power play opportunities enroute to outshooting the Steelheads 10-5, but it would be the goaltenders who would lead the way in the opening frame.
The second period would see the Erie Otters finally be rewarded for their shots on net, as Taeo Artichuk (5) would score his third goal in 10 games, and fourth point of 2023. The goal at the halfway mark for Artichuk would be the game’s first, as Erie would jump out to a 1-0 lead. Not done yet, Bruce McDonald (5) would score in back-to-back games thanks to a feed from Artichuk, and Erie would find themselves in a 2-0 game. Once again, Erie would grab a 10 shot period, this time a 10-6 advantage to go into the third period.
Period three would see a hot-start for the Mississauga Steelheads, desperate to get the game knotted up. In the opening minutes, all the shots would favor Mississauga. Finally past the halfway mark of the third, the Steelheads would strike to end Downey’s shutout. Team leading-scorer James Hardie (27) would put Mississauga on the board and make it a one-goal game. Erie would clamp down in the final minutes, and prevent any further Mississauga opportunities enroute to their first victory of 2023, and first home win since December 3, in a 2-1 win over the Steelheads.
The Erie Otters hit the road for four-straight games, starting on Thursday night in Windsor. Erie will then travel north to Sarnia for Friday, and close out the road trip on Sunday afternoon against the Flint Firebirds. Erie’s final road game will take place on Thursday, January 26 at Niagara before returning home for a weekend set.