Saginaw, Michigan – The Erie Otters rebounded from a loss in game three, to take a commanding three games to one lead in their Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the Saginaw Spirit after a 7-3 victory in Wednesday night’s game four at the Dow Event Center.
Erie carried a 6-12 all-time record in postseason game fours entering Wednesday’s matchup. The Saginaw Spirit looked to even the series and force a game six in Erie Sunday night.
The Spirit came out like a team on the ropes, scoring the first goal just 3:19 into the game to take the first lead. Erie answered back with the next four goals. Dane Fox tied the game on a one-timer from the right circle on the power play goal. Fox was not done in the first period when he notched his second of the night from Connor McDavid with a little over five to play in the first. Connor Brown scored his second of the playoffs during a five-on-three power play late in the period to send Erie into the intermission with a 3-1 lead.
Andre Burakovsky continued his goal scoring tear notching his sixth of the playoffs early into the second period. Burakovsky has scored in each of his last ten games dating back to the regular season, scoring 14 goals over that period. Cody Payne would bring the Spirit within two with his power play goal at 12:03 of the second period. That marked the first power play goal given up by Erie in the playoffs. The Otters have killed 14 of Saginaw’s 15 power play chances.
Erie had a 4-2 lead entering the third period where things got close for the Otters. Saginaw drew within one midway through the period when Dylan Sadowy’s turning shot from the right wing circle beat Devin Williams. Dane Fox would take the air out of the building by completing the hat trick 43 seconds later. Fox notched the eighth playoff hat trick in Otters history, the first since April 1, 2011 when Anthony Luciani scored four against Jack Campbell and the Windsor Spitfires in a 6-5 overtime win.
The Otters put the pedal to the metal from there, scoring another two goals 43 seconds apart. Connor McDavid backhanded home his first career OHL playoff goal on a setup from Dylan Strome. Then Joel Wigle finished off a two-on-one with Brendan Gaunce to give Erie a commanding 7-3 lead with under six minutes to play. Devin Williams stopped 29 shots on the way to his third playoff victory.
Connor Brown and Dane Fox paved the way for Erie recording four point nights. McDavid recorded his second three point night of his playoff career.
The Otters experienced a scary moment midway through the third period when Kyle Pettit was cut by the skate of Daniel De Sousa. The quick response by both team’s training staffs were able to treat Pettit who rejoined his team following the game for the team meal and returned to the hotel. His status for Thursday’s game is uncertain.
The Erie Otters will look to close out their Western Conference Quarterfinal with the Saginaw Spirit Thursday night at the Dow Event Center.
Locastro-Bonini Insurance Three Stars
- Dane Fox – Erie Otters
- Connor Brown – Erie Otters
- Dylan Sadowy – Saginaw Spirit