Preview: Erie Hosts Plymouth


(Photo: Melissa Kania)

The first of three games on the Ontario Hockey League schedule tonight involve an interconference meeting between the Erie Otters and Plymouth Whalers at 7 p.m. at the Erie Insurance Arena.

• Erie: 7-15-1-3, #5 in Midwest Division – 79 GF, 102 GA, 3-6-0-1 in last ten

• Plymouth: 12-8-3-1, #1 in West Division – 86 GF, 79 GA, 5-4-1-0 in last ten

Tonight’s game is the first of four meetings between the Otters and Whalers this season. They’ll meet twice in Plymouth – January 12 and 21 – before returning to Erie again on March 1.

Last season, the Whalers swept the season series, keeping the Otters to just four goals in the first three games (compared to 18 goals by Plymouth.) Both teams exploded offensively in the final game, which ended in a 10-6 Whalers victory.

The Otters look to break a three-game losing streak, having suffered defeat at the hands of Kitchener, Guelph and Belleville. The team’s last win came against Kitchener on November 16. Meanwhile, the Whalers were on a two-game winning streak before dropping a 7-6 decision to Kingston on Friday.

Erie streaks & leaders: Connor McDavid leads all OHL rookies with 32 points in 26 games. Captain Connor Brown leads the league with 11 power play goals in 26 games. Brown’s 33 points (16-17) also lead the Otters, while McDavid’s 18 assists are best on the team. No Otters skaters have a plus-rating this season.

Otters goaltender Oscar Dansk has allowed 80 goals on 836 shots faced this season, racking up a 7-12-0-3 record, 3.64 GAA and .904 save percentage in 22 games. Rookie Devin Williams has played five games, allowing 16 goals on 207 shots faced. He carries a 3.69 GAA and .923 save percentage in 260 minutes played.

Plymouth streaks & leaders: Center Ryan Hartman leads the team in assists (15) and points (23), slightly edging out left wing Stefan Noesen. Noesen’s 14 goals are the best on the team. Right wingers Tom Wilson and Cody Payne lead the Whalers with plus-8.

Goaltending for the Whalers has largely been in the hands of Matt Mahalak, who has played 1,217 minutes in 22 games this season. Mahalak has allowed 59 goals on 644 shots faced and is 11-5-2-1 on the season. Alex Nedeljkovic and Riley Corbin have also seen time in net for the Whalers.

After tonight, both teams have one more game to close out the month of November. Plymouth hosts Ottawa on Friday, while Erie visits Sault Ste. Marie that evening.