With an illness bug claiming another player in Jordan Sambrook, the Otters headed to Ottawa down several key players; the last time they played the 67’s, the Otters secured a decisive 8-0 victory. They scored eight again, and Alex DeBrincat had five points en route to an 8-4 win.
Despite missing Sambrook, a key puck-moving defenseman, the Otters struck first in the game: pressuring on the power play, OHL leading scorer Alex DeBrincat sent a shot on Ottawa goaltender Leo Lazarev; the rebound, sitting just behind the goalie’s pad, was picked up by Otters overager Kyle Pettit, who had no trouble putting it away for his 21st goal of the season. Shortly thereafter, the 67’s–in an effort to tie the game–managed to push the puck past Murdaca at the other end of the arena, but the goal was waved off by the referee–and was not reviewed. Whatever momentum Ottawa would have gained from the goal was quelled: they would surrender two more goals within minutes. Playing shorthanded, Erie’s Warren Foegele intercepted an errant Ottawa pass, charged down to the other end, and deked past Lazarev to give the Otters a 2-0 lead. Then, Dylan Strome fed the puck to linemate DeBrincat, who tapped the puck in to give Erie a three-goal lead. Ottawa would cut that lead to two on the power play, when Patrick White banged the rebound past Murdaca. Lazarev would nab a shot just along the goal line with his glove to keep his team in the game, and the Otters headed to the second period with the 3-1 lead.
Ottawa clawed within one goal early in the second period: Austen Keating scored off a quick release to make it 3-2. But minutes later, Kyle Pettit scored his second of the game off Kyle Maksimovich’s drop pass to regain the Otters’ two-goal lead. Then, on the power play, Darren Raddysh scored from the point to give the Otters a 5-2 lead. Ottawa’s Noel Hoefenmayer scored in the closing minutes of the period to keep his team from falling far behind, but the Otters went to the final third with a two-goal lead.
Midway through the third period, Strome scored a power play goal off the feed from DeBrincat, giving the Otters a 6-3 lead. Anthony Cirelli and DeBrincat each scored a goal to make it 8-3 late in the game, though Ottawa got one back late in the game. It wouldn’t matter in the end, as the Otters skated away with the 8-4 victory.
For the Otters, Alex DeBrincat scored two goals and three assists; Kyle Pettit scored two goals; Dylan Strome and Anthony Cirelli each scored a goal and two assists; and Joseph Murdaca, making his third straight start, stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced.
Austen Keating scored a goal and an assist for Ottawa, and Mathieu Foget and Jared Steege each notched two assists. Leo Lazarev made 25 saves on 33 shots in the loss.
The Otters resume their road trip on Sunday, February 5 against the Kingston Frontenacs–trade deadline acquisition Warren Foegele’s former team. Former Otter Brett Neumann will make his debut against Erie.