A go-ahead goal by Nicholas Canade early in the final period was erased by three quick Erie markers to hand the Otters a 5-3 win on Saturday night. The Steelheads would fire 46 shots on Cole Ceci in the loss, but would fall for the third consecutive game.
Some end of season ceremonies pushed back the start of Saturday night’s puck drop but the game jumped into life right from the start. The Otters pushed early, testing Joe Ranger who got the start following a solid finish to Friday night’s game and found a way to get on the board through Matthew MacDougall. The winger darted into the Steelheads zone and his quick shot past Ranger up high brought the Erie Insurance Arena crowd to life. The Steelheads however had no interest in a repeat of last night, and Nick Isaacson made sure to get the Trout on the board not much later. The big winger fired his 13th of the season past Cole Ceci after pouncing on a puck that deflected off of Ryan Barbosa and into the Erie slot. The score would remain even for just two minutes and 30 seconds, Chad Yetman would get a shorthanded breakaway and beat the Steelheads rookie goaltender to hand the Otters a 2-1 lead. That scoreline would hold for the rest of the frame despite the Trout outshooting the Otters by a 15-6 margin.
Shots and big saves were the story of the second period for the Steelheads. The Trout would test Cole Ceci 16 times in the frame, that number was buoyed by two power play opportunities, the first came after Callan Christner was hauled down by Marcus Gillard while driving to the Erie net. On the man-advantage the Steelheads would find an equalizer, albeit not in the prettiest manner. The puck was worked D-to-D along the point between Thomas Harley and Liam Ham, then down beside the net to Keean Washkurak. The centreman would send a centring pass that rebounded off an Otters defenceman and past Ceci. They all count however, and Washkurak’s 15th of the season evened the score just 4:37 into the second period. Joe Ranger would maintain the tie game later in the period on a miraculous glove save, stretching across the crease to deny Emmett Sproule of the go-ahead goal. Ceci remained sharp in the second for Erie stopping 15 shots, but needed the help of his crossbar and post to deny James Hardie and Keean Washkurak. The teams would go into the intermission tied at two.
The final period started favorably for the Trout. An early chance for Alan Lyszczarczyk fell by the wayside, but the Steelheads would get their much-needed go-ahead goal from Nicholas Canade. The forward-turned-defenceman showed off his offensive instincts darting to the back post where Lyszczarczyk found him with a tape-to-tape pass for his sixth of the campaign. Six minutes later a stroke of misfortune hit the Steelheads when a harmless shot from Danial Singer caught a piece of Liam Ham’s stick and fluttered past Ranger who was caught off guard by the change of direction. Singer’s 17th tied the game at three. From there it would only get worse for the Steelheads, a poor-angle shot from Brendan Hoffmann snuck through Ranger to give the Otters the lead with 6:55 remaining and Hayden Fowler would add an insurance marker with 5:03 left on the clock. The Steelheads would push hard to get back into this one late but Cole Ceci would hold firm to close out a game in which he set a new career-high for saves in a game.
Some notes from the game; Thomas Harley’s two assist game was his 11th multi-point and 9th multi-assist game of the season. Liam Ham’s first period assist was his 33rd point of the season a new single-season career high. Nicholas Canade’s sixth goal of the season ties his output from the 2017-18 season.
The Steelheads will get a chance at redemption on Tuesday when the Otters come to Mississauga for a 7:00PM puck drop.