MCDONALD’S MULTI-POINT NIGHT NOT ENOUGHT AGAINST NIAGARA
Erie, Pennsylvania – The final meeting of the season between the Erie Otters and Niagara IceDogs would be a Wednesday showdown at the Erie Insurance Arena. With the Otters looking to snap a skid against a familiar geographic rival, they would send out goaltender Nolan Lalonde – who came in relief in the game against Flint on Saturday night. The battles with Niagara always promise intrigue and interest, and there would be no expectation for Wednesday’s battle to be any different.
Opening period action would see a bevy of shots from either side, as the teams would combine for nearly 30 shots. It would be the Erie Otters who would strike first – after the media timeout – as Bruce McDonald (7) would score his first goal in nearly two months to make it 1-0 12:47 in. Late in the period, Zakary Lavoie (25) would squeak a puck right off the skate of Nolan Lalonde on a faceoff win to make it a 1-1 game with under three minutes to go. Just over two minutes later, Bruce McDonald would move from the finisher to the set-up man for Kaleb Smith (9), as Erie would jump to a 2-1 lead in the final minute. With 20 minute in the books, Erie would lead by a goal, and in shots 17-11.
Goaltending would be the story of the second period of play, as either team would be held off the scoresheet. Niagara goaltender Owen Flores would stop an impressive 19 saves, while Erie’s Nolan Lalonde wouldn’t be outdone with 14 saves of his own. Outside of this, the only penalties of the period would come late in it – both against the Otters. Erie would lead 2-1 after 40, 36-25 in shots, but have :47 of five-on-three penalty time to kill off going into the final frame.
Immediately out of the gate in the third period, Declan Waddick (26) would knot things up on the power play in a 2-2 game – just 1:07 into the frame. Erie would fire another 14 shots at eventual First Star Owen Flores, but be unable to find paydirt again in the game. A clean sheet for the remainder of the game in the penalty department would result in a tight game still into the final minute. It would be in this final minute that Zakary Lavoie (26) would score the game-winning goal with his second of the night, as Niagara would complete the comeback in a 3-2 win. Despite an impressive 50-32 shot differential in favor of Erie, the IceDogs would grab their 12th win of the season.
The Erie Otters will return to action for their final game against an Eastern Conference on Friday night, as the team travels to Mississauga to battle the Steelheads. Erie will close out the week on Saturday night for First Responders Night (pres. by Plyler Entry Systems), taking on the Guelph Storm for the CHL TV Game of the Week.