Guelph, Ontario – After a 1-1-1 road weekend for their first trip across the Canadian border, the Erie Otters would close out four-straight in Canada on Friday night in Guelph. The Storm and Otters’ weekend-start would represent the first Midwest Division game for the Otters in 2021, and their first of a two-game Midwest weekend. Guelph, the #4 team in the OHL, would come in fresh off a 3-2 overtime win against the #1 London Knights on the road earlier in the week. With the Head Coaching debut of BJ Adams headlining the night for the Otters, they’d look to pull off the road upset to start the weekend.
Out of the gates, the Otters came flying against Guelph, looking to pull off the upset in the Storm City. With only 2:32 gone by in the game, Brett Bressette (5) would beat Jacob Oster, and put the Otters up 1-0. 5:02 later in the period, Matthew Papais (6) would be able to beat Nolan Lalonde, and knot things up halfway through the first. Guelph would start to take over offensively from here, as the second highest-scoring offense in the OHL would get warmed up. Erie would limit the opportunities where they would come, and after 20 minutes of play, goals would be even at one, and shots would be even at six aside.
In the second period, penalty trouble would start to amount for the Otters, as they’d find themselves in the box on three different occasions. Erie’s penalty kill would continue their seasonal success, but see their early momentum washed away as league-leading goal scorer Sasha Pastujov (14) would continue his reign of scoring terror against opposing teams, and make it a 2-1 game. 7:20 later, Colby Saganiuk (3) would find the back of the net for the first time in November, and knot things up again as the pesky Otters would continue to stick around. However, 3:20 would pass and see Matthew Papais (7) retake the Storm lead with 6:00 left in the frame. It was an absolute offensive-onslaught of a period for the Storm, who fired off 20 shots in the period to just eight for the Otters. Erie would remain in the game however, 3-2.
Early in the third period, the Storm would once again mark an early goal on the board, as Jake Karabela (3) would score to make it a two-goal game with just under 18 minutes to go. The Otters would continue to hang around, and especially by the effort of Lalonde in net, who would have to make a number of humongous saves. Bending-but-not-breaking, the Otters defense would allow just seven shots in the third period, while combatting with four of their own. With the net empty and under a minute left, Brett Bressette (6) would score his second of the night, and make it a one-goal game late in the game. While time would be the enemy, the Otters would continue their fight. With under five seconds left, a hard-shot pinged off the goal post, and mere inches robbed the Erie Otters of a phenomenal late comeback and an OT point. While the Otters earned a notch in the loss column tonight, the effort showcased by the team against a top-five team in the Ontario Hockey League was more than evident, and is a continued sign of things to come for this young team.
Erie returns home for the first time after their four-game road tilt on Saturday night as they host the first-place London Knights for Military Appreciation Night (pres. by Plyler Entry Systems, UPMC Health Plan, and UPMC Hamot). Working alongside corporate partners and fans, the Otters were able to donate over 1100 tickets to veteran-based organizations in the Erie Community. The Otters will wear one-night-only specialty jerseys which will be auctioned off after the game; proceeds from the jersey auctions will benefit the Veteran’s Miracle Center of Erie. The team will head back on the road for a Canadian-American-Canadian weekend starting Thursday night in Windsor.