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WEEKEND PREVIEW: TRIO OF GAMES IN FAR EAST KICKS OFF NEW SEASON

Erie, Pennsylvania – Erie Otters hockey is back, as the team begins their campaign for the 2022-23 Ontario Hockey League season. The Otters look to build on their preseason success, after a 3-1-0-2 record in the exhibition contests, finishing with a thrilling 7-6 shootout win over the rival London Knights. The new season starts on the road for Erie, as the travel to play three Eastern Conference teams that the organization has not played since the 2019 season.

Opening Weekend starts off in Peterborough to face the Petes on Thursday, travel to Kingston to play the Frontenacs on Friday, and wrap the first road trip up with a Sunday day game in the Canadian capital to play the Ottawa 67s.

THE END OF EXHIBITION

For the Otters, their preseason campaign started off at home with the Hamilton Bulldogs and Saginaw Spirit. After a five-goal comeback third period in the preseason debut, Erie came up short in a shootout against Hamilton. The lone home weekend of the exhibition season ended as the Otters were able to get a 4-1 victory against Saginaw.

Erie would then go on the road to geographic-foe Niagara for a neutral-site battle in Niagara-on-the-Lake (7-2 L) and a true road game at the Meridian Centre (4-3 W).

Following a weekend off, the Otters would load up to South Central Ontario to take on the rival London Knights. After a back-and-forth game at Budweiser Gardens resulted in a 3-2 SOL, the Otters stormed back from a 6-1 deficit at Eastlink Arena in Clinton, Ontario to take a 7-6 win in the shootout.

A 3-1-0-2 preseason would propel the Otters into regular season play – with Overage Forward Noah Sedore leading the way in the preseason with eight points (4G+4A) in five games played.

SOME THINGS OLD, SOME THINGS NEW

During the offseason, the Otters added several fresh faces to the organization through acquisitions and trades. With an emphasis put on physical and bigger-bodied skill players, the Otters look to become a drive-it-down-the-ice team.

All eyes immediately turn to 2022 OHL Priority Selection Second Overall Pick Malcolm Spence as the start of his highly-anticipated Major Junior hockey career begins. If the preseason for Spence is any indication of what to expect for his rookie season – five points (2G+3A) in six games – it could be a very exciting debut for the 2022 OHL Cup champion. A productive preseason for 2022 Under 18 Priority Selection 41st Overall Pick Bruce McDonald – with four points (2G+2A) in five games – has put the native of Ottawa in a position to log solid minutes in the weekend opener.

Traveling to Peterborough on Thursday will be a familiar sight for Left Winger Sam Alfano, who was acquired from the Petes via a player swap in the offseason. Right before the trip to eastern Ontario for the Otters, the team traded three future Priority Selection picks to grab 19-year-old Forward Liam Gilmartin from the London Knights – the Otters Home Opener opponent.

In net, the Otters will be lead by Nolan Lalonde, as he looks to build off his sensational rookie season. Erie’s goaltending corps. returns as as unit with serious potential, as second-year netminder Marshall Nicholls looks to build off a 15 game rookie season that saw him put the Otters in winning positions. Learning behind two experienced goaltenders will allow 2022 OHL Priority Selection Draft 38th Overall Pick Jacob Gibbons, who measures in at a whopping 6’4, 181 lbs., and found time in five preseason games for the Otters.

As for the coaching staff, this will be the first full season for Head Coach BJ Adams, who lead the Otters to a 24-30-1-2 and a fight for playoff spot to the last day of the OHL season in his head coaching debut in 2021-22. Returning for his second season (fifth season overall) as Otters’ Assistant Coach is Vince Laise, who continues his role in skill development for the growing Otters squad. A final piece returns on the bench for Erie, as the team welcomed back Assistant Coach Wes Wolfe, who spent 2021-22 as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Cobourg Cougars and lead the junior team to a berth in the OJHL’s Conference Finals. Wolfe had served as a coach alongside Adams from 2016-21, including celebrating the Otters’ 2017 J. Ross Robertson Cup championship together.

KNOW THE FOE(S)

This will be the first time since 2019 the Otters are playing (and traveling) to battle the other 19 teams in the Ontario Hockey League, as pandemic-era travel limitations kept teams mostly in-conference.

Peterborough, Kingston, and Ottawa all represent teams that qualified and competed in the 2022 OHL Playoffs, with Kingston making it as far as the Eastern Conference Semifinals behind 2022 NHL Entry Draft 4th Overall Pick Shane Wright (SEA).

The Petes – who were selected by 63 percent of constituents in the 2022 OHL Media Poll to win the East Division this season – finished 8th in the Eastern Conference in 2021-22. The post-season trip would be short-lived by Peterborough, as they’d be swept by the eventual OHL Champion Hamilton Bulldogs. With big expectations from second-year goaltender Michael Simpson and Kraken prospect Tucker Robertson, Peterborough is a worthy, hungry opponent for the season opener.

Likely without the talents of the phenomenal Shane Wright and Lightning prospect Lucas Edmonds, the challenge for the Kingston Frontenacs – voted to finish second in the East Division this season – will be building off of last season’s solid playoff run as the #3 team in the Eastern Conference. Downing an upstart Oshawa team in six games, Kingston would be downed 4-1 by the North Bay Battalion in the Conference Semi-Finals. An 0-3-0-1 record in the preseason doesn’t instill much confidence for the Frontenacs, but don’t expect an easy contest against a playoff-hardened team.

It’s as far East as you can get in the CHL without being in the QMJHL, and it’s the Capital of Canada. Sunday afternoon brings the Otters to Ottawa, battling a 67’s team that finished a point above the Peterborough Petes in the Eastern Conference. A grand-opening, grand-closing to the 2022 postseason saw Ottawa bounced by the Battalion in four games. The Ottawa 67’s were the only OHL club to fall short of 200 goals scored last season. A year older and stronger, the team graciously referred to as the ‘Barber Poles’ come back with more experience, eager to establish themselves as an Eastern Conference contender once again. This is Erie’s first trip to TD Place since January 2020.

HOW TO WATCH, LISTEN, & FOLLOW ALONG

WATCH:

OHL-Live-Erie1200x630 copy

“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!

LISTEN:

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!
Coverage Map

  • 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.
    • For this weekend’s trio of games, Media One New York will be flexing the games to Rock 103.1 FM (WQFX). Games can be heard on 103.1 FM in Jamestown (NY), Warren (PA), and surrounding communities, or can be livestreamed worldwide on WQFX’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 Otters Hockey 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, Kinzua County 104.3 FM (Warren, PA), Channel 98.9 FM & Sunny 105.7 FM (Corry, PA), ESPN 970 WFUN (Ashtabula, OH), WKSN 1340 AM & WQFX 103.1 (Jamestown, NY) to hear the ‘Otters Daily Update’, giving you all the insight on your Otters.

FOLLOW ALONG:

If you want to follow along in-real-time to the weekends games, make sure you’re following the Otters on FacebookTwitter, 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.

UP NEXT

A four-game road opening start to the season concludes on Friday October 7th, as the Erie Otters continue their battle against cross-conference foes in invading the Mississauga Steelheads. Following the Friday affair, Erie finally kicks off the home portion of their 2022-23 season on Saturday, October 8 for the ‘Sweet Caroline’ Home Opener against the rival London Knights. This game night also features the Otters’ inaugural Home Opener Fan Fest from 3:00 to 6:00 P.M. on the lawn of the Erie Insurance Arena. Headlining musicians and more information on the event can be found HERE.

The 2022-23 Ontario Hockey League season is here, and the Erie Otters start off their pursuit of returning to the playoffs in an exciting trio of games.

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