WEEKEND PREVIEW: TOP TEAMS AWAIT OUT WEST
Erie, Pennsylvania – An Erie Otters team that looks to build off their positive play of late will put their talents to the test in three road games against top teams in the OHL Western Conference.
Erie will get things going Thursday night in Windsor for the last meeting of the season between the star-crossed foes. The team will transition to Sarnia for their third matchup of the season against the Sting on Friday night. An off-day Saturday will see the Otters travel back to the States for a Sunday mid-afternoon game in their second matchup against the Flint Firebirds.
LAST TIME OUT
A solid weekend of hockey was played by the guys in navy and gold as Erie was able to grab 3/6 points against teams above them in the standings.
Erie started things off against the Owen Sound Attack on Thursday evening. In a game that saw Erie down 4-0 early, the comeback kids were able to tie the game in the third period and then once again in the period’s final minutes to force overtime. Erie would fall short in OT, 6-5, but grab its first point of 2023. Erie would welcome in the Oshawa Generals for the first time in nearly three years, but fall short 4-1.
The Erie faithful as well as the team knew that it was important to get a victory in the home weekend, and Monday would be the answer. Erie would defeat Mississauga 2-1 to get their first win of 2023, as well as first wins for interim head coaches Vince Laise and Wes Wolfe.
Erie moves their record 13-21-1-3, still outside looking in at the OHL Western Conference playoff picture. If there is anything we saw from the previous weekend, it’s that this team will compete, and no task is too big for them. The team also has a chip on their shoulder to continue grabbing points, especially in games against the league’s toughest conference foes.
WHO TO WATCH
The tandem duo of Bruce McDonald and Taeo Artichuk were the players to beat last weekend, playing heroics with a bevy of points. Artichuk and McDonald would get the two goal in Monday’s victory against the Steelheads – part of a four point (2G+2A) weekend for Artichuk,, while rookie McDonald would have three points (2G+1A). Their depth-scoring contributions were critical for Erie’s weekend-closing success.
KNOW THE FOES
The top team in the OHL Western Conference are first up for the Otters. With a record of 26-9-3-1, the Windsor Spitfires are on a four-game win streak – soundly defeating Flint, London, and two against the Saginaw Spirit, who are all top six teams in the Western Conference.
Windsor added top-level talent in the week before the trade deadline, as NHL fourth-overall pick and ex-Kingston Frontenac Shane Wright (Seattle) was acquired by the team. He joined the OHL’s leading goal-scorer (30), and Spitfires leader in assists (25) and points (55) Matthew Maggio (New York Islanders). In net look for the hot-gloved Joey Costanzo, second in the OHL with a .911 SV%. Windsor’s week starts at home against the Otters before heading to Barrie and Oshawa for the weekend.
The recently-familiar Sarnia Sting are up next to the Otters – a team Erie has struggled against in their previous two matchups. Sarnia has been on the up-and-up since the trade deadline, adding a couple of highly-touted Mississauga Steelheads in Luca Del Bel Belluz and Ethan Del Mastro, as well as former Otter Christian Kyrou (Dallas). OHL points-leader (62) Ty Voit leads the team offensively. Sarnia sits in fifth place in the Western Conference with a 19-14-4-2 record. The Sting play in one other game this week, a Saturday game versus the Kitchener Rangers.
The weekend ends back Stateside for the Otters, as the 19-18-2-1 Flint Firebirds host a Sunday 4:00 P.M. puck drop for the second meeting of the season. Gavin Hayes (Chicago) and Amadeus Lombardi (Detroit) lead team goal-scoring with 23 each. Lombardi also leads the team in points with 51, while defenseman Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg) leads in assists with 29. Flint will travel to Sault Ste. Marie on Friday before playing both Saginaw on Saturday, and Erie on Sunday.
HOW TO WATCH, LISTEN, & FOLLOW ALONG
“OHL Live” is the Ontario Hockey League’s broadcast home on CHL TV! OHL Live delivers a high-quality viewing experience while providing access to more than 700 OHL games streamed across a range of platforms including:
- PC and/or Tablet on Safari and Google Chrome web browsers
- iOS / Android mobile devices.
- Amazon Fire
- Apple TV
- Roku platforms
For less than $2/game, OHL Live provides live game action all season long, plus free-to-access video-on-demand content and a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate. For more information, head to watch.chl.ca/ohl!
The League’s largest radio network, the Otters Radio Network gives fans the most-accessible and high-quality way to experience every moment of Otters’ game night – from pregame to postgame.
Every game can feel like a home game as a fan with the Otters Radio Network. With live-game broadcasts of all 68 Regular Season games, fans can always hear the action as it happens. Thanks to the Broadcast Home for Otters Hockey, iHeart Media Erie, fans can listen to every game LIVE on the iHeart App from ANYWHERE in the world! From Pennsylvania to Transylvania and everywhere in between, you’ll always be in range to hear Otters Hockey.
The Otters Radio Network is larger than ever before on terrestrial & digital radio – from Southeast Michigan to Southwest New York!
- iHeart Media (Erie, PA) is the Flagship Station for the Otters on WJET 1400 AM, and home to Otters Hockey in Pennsylvania. Games can be heard on terrestrial radio on 1400 AM in Erie and surrounding communities of NWPA, or can be livestreamed worldwide on the iHeart App.
- Media One Radio Group – Ohio (Ashtabula, OH) is home to Otters Hockey in Ohio on ESPN 970 WFUN. Games can be heard on terrestrial radio on 970 AM in Ashtabula and surrounding communities of Northeast Ohio and NWPA, or can be livestreamed worldwide on WFUN’s website.
- Media One Radio Group – New York (Jamestown, NY) is home to Otters Hockey in New York State on Kissin’ Oldies 1340 WKSN. Games can be heard on terrestrial radio on 1340 AM in Jamestown and surrounding communities of Southwest New York and NWPA, or can be livestreamed worldwide on WKSN’s website.
- ESPN Radio Michigan Regional Sports Network (Flint, MI) is home to Otters Hockey in Michigan. Games can be livestreamed worldwide on MRSN’s website.
Fans can also listen to the game on any of the Otters’ four radio-homes on the Listen Live page. The Lavery Brewing Pregame Show starts 20 minutes prior to the Drop The Gloves Puck Drop, hosted by the Voice of the Otters Shawn Bednard.
Make sure to tune in week days from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. on Fox Sports 1330, Happi 92.7 FM, WERG 90.5 FM, 106.3 FM WCTL, Kinzua County 104.3 FM (Warren, PA), Channel 98.9 FM & Sunny 105.7 FM (Corry, PA), FOX Sports Radio Oil City 1120 & 104.1 FM (Oil City), ESPN 970 WFUN (Ashtabula, OH), WKSN 1340 AM & WQFX 103.1 (Jamestown, NY), and ESPN Radio MRSN (Flint, MI) to hear the ‘Otters Daily Update’, giving you all the insight on your Otters.
If you want to follow along in-real-time to the weekends games, make sure you’re following the Otters on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. From live tweets of the action, scoring updates, photos, and highlights, Otters’ social media is the best way to keep up with the team wherever they are.
The four-game road trip comes to an end on Thursday, January 26 in St. Catharine’s against the Niagara IceDogs. Erie will then come back home for UPMC Health Plan Member Appreciation Weekend, as the team hosts the Kitchener Rangers on Saturday, January 28 for Hockey Fights Cancer (pres. by UPMC Health Plan & UPMC Hamot) with specialty HFC jerseys. The weekend comes to a close on Sunday, January 29 for Sunday Family Funday against the Niagara IceDogs – with fans invited to a post-game skate on the ice.