Peterborough, Ontario – As though no time had passed since Easter Sunday, the Erie Otters would retake the ice on Thursday night for the start of the 2022-23 season. With new faces acquired via the Priority Selection or Under 18 Drafts, or by trades made during the offseason, the new look Otters would hit the ice with the same goal in mind – start the season with a win, and start the march toward a playoff return. For the first time since 2020, the Erie Otters would find themselves at the Peterborough Memorial Centre to take on the Peterborough Petes. With familiar faces on either side of the ice, the PMC would be packed for a night of Ontario Hockey League opening night fun.
A relatively-timid start was to be expected in the first game of the new OHL season, and that’s what the first few minutes presented from and for either side. With a delay of game penalty offered up by Peterborough’s Konner Smith, the Otters would be ready to strike. Just below the blueline on the right side of the ice, Christian Kyrou (1) would open scoring for the team’s 2022-23 season with a ripped shot on the man advantage. Erie would take a 1-0 lead. After back-and-forth play on either side of the ice, the Otters would strike again. Malcolm Spence would drive up the ice through the neutral-zone, and feed a puck down to the blue paint for rookie Bruce McDonald (1) to score his first Ontario Hockey League goal and give Erie a 2-1 lead. The all-Erie fun would come to an end just under two minutes later, as Tucker Robertson (1) scored his 50th career OHL goal to make it a 2-1 game. Erie would hold a 10-9 shots advantage after 20, leading 2-1.
In the second period, the Otters offense would struggle to find the first shot early, but quickly find their footing after a tying-goal early from Nick Lardis (1). As the period would go on, and the intensity would boost up, the Erie Otters would find themselves boosting offensive opportunities, and ballooning shots up to 14-6 in the period. With that teens-worth of shots, the Otters would take back the lead as Brett Bressette (1) would strike top-shelf on the man-advantage 12:18 into the period. Erie would leave the second period with a 3-2 lead, shots in their favor 24-15.
The third period would start off hot and quick for Erie, as Carey Terrance (1) would score a highlight reel goal for the team to make it 4-2. Justin DeZoete (1) would start the comeback march for the Petes, grabbing a goal under five minutes into the new frame, but it would be Nick Lardis (2) again who would deliver a critical goal to make it 4-4 with under four minutes remaining. With either team unable to convert in the final minutes, we would head to overtime with each team earning a point.
Overtime would not start in favor of the Otters, as the team would start on the penalty kill just :14 into the extra frame. Bending but not breaking on the kill, the Otters would then see end-to-end opportunities for and against, but ultimately it would come down to the skills competition in the Thursday night contest. Tucker Robertson would open scoring in the shootout, and prove to be the lone-scorer in a 1-0 shootout win for the Petes, downing Erie 5-4.
Despite the shootout loss, the Otters will take a point from a tough environment in Peterborough, and head to Kingston looking for their first win of the season. Action kicks off in Kingston at 7 P.M. on Friday night.