The Erie Otters found their offense in the third period but it was not enough to overcome a strong start by the Niagara IceDogs, as they defeated the Otters with a 7-4 decision in preseason Ontario Hockey League action in St. Catharines Thursday night.
The IceDogs came out of the gate with a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Anthony DiFruscia scored the game’s first two goals, which were assisted by Ryan Strome and Brett Ritchie. Strome also assisted on Steven Shipley’s power play goal late in the first to complete the scoring for the first period.
Brock Beukeboom scored the only goal of the second period at 14:22 to boost the Niagara lead to 4-0. Keinan Brown was busy as he stopped 14 of 15 Niagara shots during the middle frame.
Strome scored early in the third period to collect his fourth point of the night. The Otters were able to get on the board during the power play. Anthony Cortellessa banged in a rebound from a Connor Brown shot for his first goal of the preseason.
Not long after the goal by Cortellessa, Nick Betz slammed home a loose puck at the side of the net to put the Otters within three at the 5:54 mark of the first. Luke Cairns and Travis Wood picked up the assists on the Betz goal.
Derek Todosichuk scored at 11:35 to make it a 6-2 game. Cairns answered back for Erie as he scored a power play goal with just over five minutes remaining. Stephen Harper and Cortellessa collected the helpers on the goal.
Strome completed his five-point night for Niagara as he assisted on Ritchie’s goal to put the IceDogs back up by four. Cairns would close out a back-and-forth period as he scored his second goal of the game to finish off a three-point night with less than a minute to go.
Connor Brown (2a) and Cortellessa (1g, 1a) also had multi-point nights for Erie, who outshot Niagara 20-10 in the third period. Niagara had the shot advantage for the game, 36-29.
The Otters conclude the preseason Sunday afternoon in a neutral site game at Elmira, Ontario against the Owen Sound Attack. The puck drops at 2:00 p.m.