Erie, Pennsylvania – Preseason hockey action continued at home for the Erie Otters on Thursday Night – the second of three exhibition games the team hosts this preseason. 12 days after their preseason debut, the Otters would hope to see growth in processes and play with a few more team practices under their belt. The opponent for the night for the Otters would be the Flint Firebirds, kicking off their 2021 campaign with their first game in 554 days. With NHL Rookie Camps under way, both teams would have rostered players scattered around camps.
The Otters would waste no time in picking up where the last game left off for them. An early cross-checking penalty from the Firebirds would get the Otters on the man-advantage immediately, and Spencer Sova in his first Ontario Hockey League game would not hesitate to rip a shot past Michelone in net. With 2:04 gone by in the game, the Otters would lead 1-0. Things would trend in that direction for Erie through the period, with Brendan Sellan netting his second goal of the preseason only 2:37 later. Noah Sedore would pick up his second point of the game on the goal. After a Cameron Morton cross-check was killed, the Otters would get back to full-strength action and close off the period in similar fashion to its start – with a pair of goals. Brendan Hoffman would beat Flint’s goaltender for his first of the preseason with 4:52 left in the period, and 1:01 later, Kaleb Smith would be the beneficiary of some puck luck as a rebounded puck would spudder to the net from a Flint body. With the first period racing to a finish, the Otters would find themselves up 4-0, outshooting the Firebirds 13-3.
Things would go from bad-to-worse for the Firebirds in the second frame, as the Otters would continue to pour it on heavy in the goals-department. Just 2:37 into the second period, Brett Bressette would pick up his first of the preseason – with an assist from Hoffmann. In a span of under three minutes, near the halfway mark of the period, the Otters would find their way to three goals from Kaleb Smith, Brendan Sellan, and Elias Cohen. With the carnage of the period finally over, the Otters would head into the final frame ahead 8-0. In the third period, Flint would finally find their way onto the board – not before another pair of Otters goals would light up the lamp to an impressive 10-2 crushing of the Firebirds. The goals for Flint would both come from Zacharie Giroux, where Erie would see Carey Terrance and Emmett Sproule light the lamp for their firsts of the preseason.
Nolan LaLonde picked up the win for the Otters with an 18-save performance in his OHL debut, as the Otters move to 2-0 in the preseason. Flint closes their road trip tomorrow night at the Erie Insurance Arena, taking on the incoming Saginaw Spirit. Erie – who takes on Saginaw on Saturday, September 18 at 7 P.M. in the home preseason finale – downed the Spirit 5-4 on September 4 at home. Both Friday and Saturday Night’s games are free to attend, thanks to UPMC Health Plan.