St. Catharines, Ontario – The Erie Otters came from behind to force overtime for a fifth straight hockey game, but it was the Niagara IceDogs netting the only shootout goal for a 5-4 victory at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Erie was slow out of the gate to start the game as Niagara capitalized on their first two power play chances of the game for a 2-0 lead in the first 5:02. The IceDogs would tack on another two and a half minutes later when Kyen Sopa buried his 12th of the year for a 3-0 lead, and end Otters goaltender Aidan Campbell’s night early as he would be replaced by Daniel Murphy. The goalie changed seemed to energize the Otters they would rally for the next two goals to close the gap to one goal as Kurtis Henry and Connor Lockhart scored a pair 2:35 apart. Erie trailed 3-2 after one period.
Niagara once again jumped out for an early goal in the period with Ivan Lodnia setting up Jake Uberti to restore the two-goal lead. Six minutes later the Otters found themselves with a gift after a Drew Hunter shoot in took an odd bounce of a stanchion to deflect to the front of the net where Emmett Sproule found himself with the giftwrapped puck on his stick to shovel in an empty net, drawing Erie back within one at the end of the second period.
The Otters would outshoot the IceDogs 47-41 on the night and would fire 13 shots on goal in the third frame in the comeback bid. For Erie, their best chances would come on their fourth power play chance of the game midway through the frame. With the advantage Erie’s Drew Hunter would fire a shot from the point that Daniel D’Amato would pick up off the end boards then bank it off goaltender Tynan Tucker for the equalizer, tying the game at four and forcing overtime for a fifth straight game.
The teams combined for 11 shots on goal in overtime but would need a shootout to decide a winner, Erie’s league leading sixth shootout game. Unfortunately for the Otters, Akil Thomas would net the only shootout goal with Erie shooters going 0-for-3 to hand the IceDogs the 5-4 decision.
The Otters have collected points in 13 of their last 15 games. The overtime game marks Erie’s league leading ninth extra time game, and their league leading sixth shootout. Erie will travel to Oshawa Friday to visit the Generals at 7:35 p.m.
Single game tickets for the 2019-20 season are on sale now. Erie Otters season tickets and flex packages are also available and can be purchased in person at the Erie Otters front office located at 201 E. 8th Street in Erie, or by calling 814-455-7779. For the latest Otters news, visit www.ottershockey.com, or follow the team on Facebook (www.facebook.com/erieottershockey), Twitter (@ErieOtters) and Instagram (@ErieOtters).