Friday Highlights: Otters win Midwest melee
ERIE 4 – LONDON 1
The Erie Otters are a step closer to their third straight Midwest Division title after defeating the London Knights 4-1 on the road. OHL leading goal-scorer Alex DeBrincat (62) found the empty net with 26 seconds left in regulation to tie Mike Ricci’s 1988 OHL record of 19 consecutive games with a goal. Taylor Raddysh (39), Warren Foegele (25) and Owen Headrick (4) also had Otters goals as Erie outshot London 34-25 and pulled six points ahead of the Knights atop the division. Cliff Pu (35) provided London’s lone goal in the loss while goaltender Tyler Parsons made 30 saves. The Otters improve to 4-1 against London this season as the Knights now hold just a one point lead over third place Owen Sound in the Midwest Division. The two teams will wrap up the season series on March 14th in Erie. Otters overage veteran Kyle Pettit played his 300th career OHL regular season game.
OTTAWA 7 – OSHAWA 0
The Ottawa 67’s are heating up at the right time, winning for the third time in the past four games with a 7-0 road blanking of the Oshawa Generals. 19-year-old first-year centreman Mathieu Foget (9) had a goal and four assists while Russian winger Artur Tyanulin (23) chipped in with a goal and three helpers as the 67’s held down sixth place in the Eastern Conference with their 25th win of the season. Leo Lazarev recorded a 25-save shutout while Chris Martenet (5), Travis Barron (13), Zack Dorval (6), Austen Keating (20) and Noel Hoefenmayer (14) also got in on the scoring. Ottawa outshot Oshawa 34-25, improving to 4-2-0-1 against the Generals this season. The 67’s lead seventh place Sudbury by two points in the conference while the Generals fall eight points behind first place Peterborough in the East Division.
NIAGARA 3 – HAMILTON 2 – SO
Akil Thomas and Kirill Maksimov scored shootout markers to lead the Niagara IceDogs over visiting Hamilton 3-2. Stephen Dhillon turned aside 54 shots and stopped both shootout opponents he faced to guide Niagara to a valuable two points in their Eastern Conference playoff pursuit. Pavel Demin (3) and Ryan Mantha (17) both had goals as the IceDogs overcame a 2-0 deficit to come back and win. Thomas recorded an assist to set a new Niagara IceDogs single-season rookie mark for points with 42. Niagara now leads ninth place North Bay by two points. Stephen Templeton (2) and Niki Petti (19) had Bulldogs goals as Hamilton came away with a point, falling a point back of fourth place Kingston in the Eastern Conference. Fifth-year Bulldogs winger Michael Cramarossa played his 300th career OHL regular season game.
SUDBURY 4 – BARRIE 2
Minnesota Wild prospect Dmitry Sokolov (43, 44) scored twice as the Sudbury Wolves got back in the win column with a 4-2 victory over the visiting Barrie Colts. The Wolves snap a five game skid to keep pace in an increasingly competitive Eastern Conference playoff race as Macauley Carson (27) and Michael Pezzetta (10) also lit the lamp as Sudbury outshot Barrie 32-21. The Wolves wrap up the season series with a 7-1 record against the Colts, picking up two big points to stay a point ahead of eighth place Niagara. Joey Keane (1) scored his first OHL goal for Barrie in the loss while Lucas Chiodo (21) also converted and Anthony Stefano had a pair of assists.
SARNIA 5 – WINDSOR 3
Drake Rymsha (33, 34) scored a pair of late goals and Adam Ruzicka (25) netted the winner as the Sarnia Sting battled back for a 5-3 comeback win over visiting Windsor. St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou pitched in with a pair of late assists to stretch his current point streak to 29 games, the OHL’s longest since Oshawa’s Brett MacLean went 32 straight games in 2007-08. Jeff King (14) and Jaden Lindo (21) also scored Sarnia goals as the Sting took the shooting column 36-23. The Spitfires fall eight points back of West Division champion Sault Ste. Marie as Graham Knott (15), Hayden McCool (7) and Gabriel Vilardi (29) scored in the loss. The win puts Sarnia six points ahead of ninth place Saginaw for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
KINGSTON 3 – MISSISSAUGA 1
2017 NHL Draft prospect Jason Robertson (38, 39) stayed hot, recording two goals and an assist as the Kingston Frontenacs downed visiting Mississauga 3-1. Robertson, who was a goal post away from a hat-trick, has eight points over his last three games and has helped the Fronts take a one point lead over fifth place Hamilton in the chase for home ice advantage in the OHL Playoffs. Carolina Hurricanes prospect Jeremy Helvig turned aside 28 shots while Linus Nyman (23) also lit the lamp as Kingston went 2-for-6 on the power play. The Central Division champion Steelheads see their seven game winning streak draw to a close as New Jersey Devils draftee Nathan Bastian (15) provided their only goal.
SAULT STE. MARIE 6 – KITCHENER 1
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are West Division champions for the third time in the past four seasons after defeating the Kitchener Rangers 6-1 on home ice. Matthew Villalta made a season-high 40 saves to record his 24th victory, the most by a 16 or 17-year-old OHL rookie since 2008 (A. Loverock 31, T. McCollum 26). Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Boris Katchouk (31, 32) scored twice, including his league-leading seventh shorthanded goal of the season as the Greyhounds claimed their fourth straight win. Bobby MacIntyre (26), Conor Timmins (7), Tim Gettinger (29) and Mac Hollowell (3) also found the back of the net as the Hounds won despite being outshot 41-29. Rangers forward Joseph Garreffa (25) ended Villalta’s shutout bid with 3:02 left in regulation as the Rangers dropped their third straight decision. Kitchener holds a two point lead over seventh place Flint in the Western Conference while the Greyhounds sit three points back of first place Erie. Katchouk’s shorthanded goal at 14:57 of the first period was the Hounds’ 21st of the season, eclipsing the prior franchise mark of 20 set during the 1991-92 season.
SAGINAW 3 – GUELPH 2
Detroit Red Wings prospect Filip Hronek (13) scored the game winner 8:12 into the third period as the Saginaw Spirit staged a third period comeback to defeat the Guelph Storm 3-2 on the road. Veterans Kris Bennett (25) and Hayden Hodgson (36) also lit the lamp for Saginaw as the Spirit won their fourth straight game to remain within six points of eighth place Sarnia for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Isaac Ratcliffe (24) and Cedric Ralph (7) provided Guelph goals as the Storm suffered a sixth straight defeat.