Erie, Pennsylvania – The Erie Otters fell 5-4 to the Flint Firebirds but forced overtime to earn a point at the Erie Insurance Arena Friday night.
Erie jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 16 seconds into the game when Brendan Sellan took the puck off the opening faceoff and sent it to a streaking Daniel D’Amato. D’Amato slipped behind Flint’s defense before making a hard cut in the slot and firing the puck over the catching hand of goaltender Luke Cavallin. Nearing the halfway point in the period, Flint’s Ty Dellandrea was taken down on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot that was stopped by Daniel Murphy to keep the Erie lead. Murphy continued to work and stopped a Firebirds breakaway chance, then made a series of saves on a Flint flurry while Erie was short-handed. Flint’s fortune changed moments later, and Cody Morgan tied the game at ones by finishing a passing play while the Firebirds were on a 4-on-3 powerplay.
Approaching the halfway mark in the game, Sellan was inches away from scoring when he was stopped on a short-handed breakaway chance. Erie finally retook the lead when Austen Swankler rocketed a shot past the right ear of Cavallin and into the top left corner of the net. Drew Hunter sent the puck down low from the point, and Elias Cohen sent it to Swankler to set up the go-ahead goal. Erie’s second lead of the game was nullified after just 18 seconds. Immediately following Swankler’s tally, Brennan Othmann won the center-ice faceoff to his winger, Riley Piercey. Othmann received the puck back from Piercey after escaping a board scrum in the offensive zone and took the puck to the net to tie the game 2-2.
Vladislav Kolyachonok gave Flint its first lead of the game three minutes and six seconds into the final regulation period with a shot from the blueline. The Firebirds stretched their lead to two goals when Jack Phibbs sprung Dellandrea for a short-handed breakaway at 6:48 of the third frame. The Otters retook the powerplay and Hunter fed Sellan for the Otters’ third goal. Maxim Golod evened the game at four goals when he slid the puck between the legs of Cavallin with a backhand, breakaway tally with nine minutes and 33 seconds left on the clock. Cavallin stoned Golod on a breakaway to keep the game tied in the final two minutes of the period, and Murphy made two stops at the other end to send the game to overtime.
The Firebirds only needed 28 seconds to end the game with a 2-on-1 Connor Roberts goal.
The Otters will continue their push for the playoffs when they host the Owen Sound Attack Saturday, February 8, at the Erie Insurance Arena.
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).