OTTERS STRIKE FOR SIX, LALONDE STOPS 29 IN 6-2 VICTORY
Erie, Pennsylvania – Off the heels of a thrilling sellout Saturday night, the Erie Otters would look to carry over the momentum of a big-time win over division foe Kitchener. With the Niagara IceDogs in town for the final Sunday home game of the season, Erie would look for revenge from a Thursday night road loss at the Meridian Centre. After a solid effort in net on Saturday night, Nolan Lalonde would get the start in net once again.
Erie would be held shotless to start the first period, as Niagara would jump out to an 8-0 shot advantage. Mix in the shot disparity and a power play opportunity, and Niagara would strike for the game’s first goal from Andrew LeBlanc (7) 7:24 into the game. Erie would finally grab its first shots of the game, and turn it into a power play goal of their own from a Spencer Sova shot finished off by Liam Gilmartin (9) with his third goal in two days. Niagara would outshoot Erie 12-7, but Erie would hold a 1-1 game with the IceDogs.
After grabbing a goal in the first period, the Erie Otters would absolutely take over offensively in the second. Just over five minutes into the contest, Kaleb Smith (6) would rip one off the crossbar into the net to give Erie its first lead of the game. Right before the halfway mark of the game, Artyom Kulakov (2) would score his third-career goal from a shot from the blue line to put the Erie Otters up 3-1. Less than a minute later, Liam Gilmartin (10) would grab his second power play goal of the day to put Erie in a 4-1 lead that they would carry into the final frame. Lalonde would have 20/21 saves through two, as the Otters would fire off 23 shots in the second alone for a 30-21 shot advantage.
In the final period, Erie would strike for an early pair from Noah Sedore (12) 2:37 in and Malcolm Spence (10) to put them up 6-1 through six-unanswered goals. With seven minutes remaining in the period, Niagara would get one back from Declan Waddick (15) to stop the bleeding, but the Otters would dominate in a 6-2 final. Nolan Lalonde would stop 29/31 in the win. Erie would win its third-straight game at the Erie Insurance, and back-to-back games to close out the weekend and January. Erie picks up its 16th win of the season to inch ever closer to the final playoff spot in the OHL Western Conference.
Thus ends the month of January, as the Erie Otters look ahead to a road heavy February. The month starts off with three games for Erie, two of which will take place on home ice. Action kicks off Thursday bright-and-early for School Day Game (pres. by UPMC) with an 11 A.M. puck drop against the Guelph Storm. After an off-day Friday, Erie will host the rival London Knights on Saturday night for Star Wars Night (pres. by Millcreek Mall) in a highly-anticipated game. The weekend will close off on Sunday evening as the Otters make their only trip of the season to Oshawa to battle the Generals at 6:05.