Gaudreau Stops 33, Otters Score Three Unanswered to Down Eastern Conference #1 Sudbury
Erie, Pennsylvania – Home-cooking comes at the right time for the Erie Otters. After sweeping a three-game road trip for the first time since February 2017, the Otters returned to the friendly confines of the Erie Insurance Arena with seven of their next eight games in the 814. Looking to improve upon a 1-4 record at home, Erie would also look to find themselves above .500 for the first time in the 2023-24 season. The competition would not be an easy one for Erie, as the Eastern Conference’s top team of the Sudbury Wolves would invade for their only trip of the season. Coming off a dominant 7-2 win on the road in Niagara the night before, the Wolves would look to continue their ascent to the top of the Central Division.
Period one would show the signs of what the game would evolve to be – a shot-heavy onslaught against either sides goaltenders. Erie would be rewarded with the game’s opening goal from an odd bounce by Kaleb Smith (2) 9:47 into the opening frame. Nearly four minutes later, the Sudbury Wolves would respond as Dalibor Dvorsky (6) would strike with 6:59 left in the period. The teams would combine for 26 total shots, but it would be the goaltenders who would shine with a 1-1 score after 20.
Sudbury would take over in the second period, powering two goals past Ben Gaudreau in the opening 2:30 as Nolan Collins (2) and David Goyette (5) would put the Wolves up 3-1. The Wolves offense would continue to put the foot down enroute to outshooting the Otters 16-7 in the second period. Goaltender Gaudreau would have to play sharp and make big saves to keep the Otters in as the period waned on. Erie would gain momentum at the last moment of the second period, as the team would draw a full two-minute power play going into the third period. Outshot 30-19, the Otters would trail 3-1 going into the final period.
The conditioning that proved to be the key to Erie’s weekend sweep on the road would once again prove its worth, as the Otters would start the comeback march in the Third. It would start off a failed power play with 2:38 gone by, as Ondrej Molnar (6) would have a shot redirected off the foot of Dvorsky to put Erie into the game 3-2. The Otters penalty kill would have to come up big plenty of times in the period, but none more than on the final kill. With a shorthanded rush up the ice, Carey Terrance (12) would be the hero on the penalty kill as Erie would tie it up 3-3 with just over four remaining. Erie’s offense would shift into the next gear, as the Otters would outshoot Sudbury 12-5 in the final 20 to force overtime.
Overtime wouldn’t last long, as an Erie rush up the ice would lead Bruce McDonald would feed Spencer Sova (6) would fire home the game-winning goal :44 into the extra frame. Erie would down the #1 team in the Eastern Conference 4-3, pick up its second win on home ice, and its fourth-straight victory to advance to 8-7-2 on the season.
The Otters four-game home stand continues on Saturday evening as the team hosts the Flint Firebirds for the second meeting of the season. Erie will celebrate Veteran’s Day with their annual Military Appreciation Night. Working alongside community organizations, business partners, and individuals, the Otters have donated over 1200 tickets to active-duty and retired military around Erie County, and will take the ice in pregame in specialty Military-themed warm-up jerseys.