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Attack Sweep Weekend Against Otters

by Nick MacArthur
There is no such thing as an easy win in any sport , especially not in a league like the OHL and even though the Erie Otters are having a year that I'm sure both players , coach's, fans and management would like to forget the Attack knew they would have two very tough games over the weekend as the Otter made the trip up north for a pair of games at the Lumley Bayshore.

Starting with Friday nights games one that would be best described as a sleeper , the Otters came out with a lil pep in their step as they would use their young speedy forwards to apply good pressure on the Attack and cause them to have all sorts of trouble getting organized and somewhat frustrated at times as the Otters game plan seemed to be to smother the Attack and not allow them to utilize the outside and skill of the Attack forwards.  Newly acquired Dane Fox would get Erie on the board with his 15th and the Otters would take a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

A somewhat slow second period would see the Attack slip 2 past Otters net minder and take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes . Captain Mike Halmo with his 25th and rookie Zach Nastasiuk with his 6th on the year.

A little animosity would start to show between the two clubs as again almost every time the whistle blew there were words exchanged as scrums would ensue. Dane Fox who is know for playing on the edge and always chirping someone was at his best all game long as the now veteran on the Otters would remind the Attack players that these games were not gonna be a cake walk.

The Attack would score another goal in the third period as Cameron Brace would pot his 15th on the season, although Erie is having their struggles this year I must give credit where it is due and from what I watched the Otters are young , fast and are only going to get better over the season and into next year. Picking up Fox from London will go a long way in the leadership department as I saw a lot of good things from the Otters.

Saturday night would see a completely different game from both the Attack and Otters as Erie would be in for a long night.  The Attack were dominant at times almost playing keep away from the Otters in the offensive zone, and the Attack power play would explode going 2 for 3 in the period. Brace(16) Halmo(26) and Blandisi(13) would find the score sheet for the Attack. In my personal opinion I feel that 2nd year center Gemel Smith had maybe his best period I have see this year , his explosive speed and underrated board play was on full display as he would grind down the Otters defense almost every shift he had. If he could play like that on a consistent basis his draft stock should rise significantly before the draft in June. 3-0 Attack after 20 mins.

Another Attack forward looking to have a good season is Curtis Gabriel , the lanky forward had a open tryout with the Phoenix Coyotes over the summer and looked to bring that experience into this season. I thought he played a real solid second period playing good grinding hockey in the Otters zone and was rewarded with a goal on a quick snap shot that went bar down to put the Attack up 4-0. Gemel Smith would collect his 2nd point of the game on Gabriel's 4th the season. Attack lead the Otters 4-0 after 40 minutes.

There are a few bright spots for the Otters this season as goaltender Roman Sadikov played exceptionally well over the two games , obviously the score did not reflect on how good this tender really is , made several key stops over the third period to keep the Attack at bay , but the Otters just lack that offensive punch and leadership to over come being outplayed most nights as Owen Sound would pot another tally past Sadikov to go up 5-0 with Halmo(27) putting the final nail in the coffin.  Gemel Smith would lead all scoters with 3 points and in my mind was first star, the Attack power play would continue getting better going 3-5 on the night and shutting down the Otters power play killing off all 6 opportunities. After losing five straight games the Attack now find themselves on a 3 game winning streak with huge divisional games coming up starting on Wednesday when the power house Plymouth Whalers come to town, then back to back games with London and finishing it off against the Kitchener Rangers.  Attack will need a solid effort from everyone in the next couple games I they want to keep pace in the Midwest as these will be real good tests  for the boys to see where they are at against the best of the west.

Game time is 7:30 Wednesday at the Lumley Bayshore

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