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Powerplay Strikes Twice, Otters Fall 4-3 To Spitfires

Natalie Shaver

Windsor, Ontario – The Erie Otters fell 4-3 to the Windsor Spitfires at the WFCU Centre, despite scoring two powerplay goals in a back-and-forth matchup Saturday.

Windsor took a 1-0 lead just 97 seconds into the game when Ruben Rafkin found the back of the net following a faceoff win. Erie had an opportunity to even the score before the end of the first period as Rafkin was assessed a double-minor penalty for high-sticking at the 19:11 mark. Kyen Sopa hit the crossbar in the final seconds of the frame, but the puck stayed out of the net and the Spitfires led 1-0 after 20 minutes of play.

While on the second half of the double-minor penalty to Rafkin, Maxim Golod and Jamie Drysdale passed to each other at the point before getting the puck to Chad Yetman on the half boards. Yetman then fired a shot past the glove of goaltender Xavier Medina to tie the game just 85 seconds into the middle stanza. At the other end of the ice, Curtis Douglass went bar-down with a shot to retake the lead for Windsor exactly two minutes after Yetman tied the game. Emmett Sproule was stopped on a breakaway by Medina with just under nine minutes gone in the frame. Soon after the Sproule breakaway, the Otters tied the game with their second powerplay goal of the night when Sopa deflected in a Drysdale point-shot. Golod collected an assist on the Sopa goal at 11:57 of the period. Aidan Campbell stopped the Spitfires from answering with quality saves in the final minutes, including a point-blank chance with just over three to go. Cameron Morton displayed his defensive awareness by sliding between two Windsor forwards to negate a two-on-one chance in the final seconds of the period.

The Spitfires came out of the intermission flying, and Kyle McDonald lifted a puck over the shoulder of Campbell while in close quarters to give Windsor a 3-2 lead just over three minutes into the final frame. Erie was inches away from tying the game when an Austen Swankler shot was swatted out of the crease by Windsor defenseman Dylan Robinson. Play moved to the other side of the ice where Spitfires forward Daniel D’Amico made the score 4-2 with over eight and a half minutes gone. D’Amico sped up the ice and made a deke inside of the blue line, then sent a shot to the right side of the net as he was moving left. Hayden Fowler pulled the Otters to within one goal as he scored from Sopa at the 11:41 mark of the period. Still down by a goal with time winding down, Erie got the extra attacker onto the ice. Yetman deflected away what would have been an empty-net goal for the Spitfires with his stick, and the Otters pushed until the final horn, but ultimately dropped the back-and-forth affair by a 4-3 final.

The Erie Otters will conclude their three-games-in-three-days stretch with a 2:00 p.m. bout against their Midwest Division rival London Knights at the Budweiser Gardens Sunday, January 19.

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).

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