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January 15th - Erie Otters vs. Brampton Battalion

by Chris McDonald
Coming into the game the Battalion were a point out of first place in the East, trailing the Ottawa 67's. While the Erie Otters were sitting comfortably in the basement of not only the Western Conference but the entire league. This game lived up to its billing and played out as you would've expected.

Brampton came out strong and kept the pressure on Erie, Ramis Sadikov the Erie goaltender stood strong keeping the game scoreless in the early going. Erie's Troy Donnay was sent off for hooking just before the halfway point of the first. The Otters killed the penalty which helped them steal some momentum. Erie would use their new found confidence to take the lead when Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Sondre Olden deflected the Anthony Cortellessa point shot in behind Machovski to put the Otters up 1-0 at the 12:54 mark. That's when the Battalion turned their game around and begun to dominate, just 2:35 later Brampton's captain and leafs prospect Sam Carrick scored to tie the game up 1-1. Ian Watters and Spencer Abraham assisted on Carrick's twentieth of the year. A few shifts after tying the game Philip Lane would put the Battalion ahead 2-1 on a nice snipe job top shelf after receiving the Marcus McIvor pass. Brampton was not content however taking a one goal lead into the break as Mitchell Porowski would add another with just over a minute to go in the period, Brampton ended the first by scoring 3 goals in just over 3 minutes. After one it was 3-1 for the home team and the shots were 19-4 in favor of Brampton.

Erie had a great opportunity to pull to within at least one, with Abraham already in the box Brampton tender Matej Machovski attempted to clear the puck when it sailed over the glass giving the Otters a two-man advantage for over a minute. Erie showed why they are in the basement as they didn't even register a shot on the 5 on 3 power play. The rest of the period the teams traded shots but after forty minutes the score remained 3-1 in favor of the Battalion.

The third period started with a bang as Carrick would pot his second of the game just thirty-nine seconds in to the frame, giving his them a 4-1 lead. The troops continued their dominance over the inferior Otters squad when at the 7:17 mark Brandon Robinson would extend the lead to 5-1. With just over seven minutes to go in the game Erie would score on a harmless looking play by Liam Maaskant. Maaskant took a shot from the neutral zone about 52 feet out that seemed to fool Machovski and found its way to the back of the net to make it 5-2. That was as close as Erie would get however and the game would end 5-2.

Brampton despite winning and getting the two points stayed in second place as the 67's did their part and won as well. The Battalion were able to put a little space between them and the third place team in the East, the Niagara Ice Dogs who had the day off.

Both teams combined to go 0-9 on special teams in Sunday's game, which included two 2-man advantages for the Otters. The final total shots ended with Brampton doubling up on Erie with a count of 42-21. Battalion defence-man Cameron Wind quietly put together a good game despite not registering any points, he finished with a plus 3. Carrick was named first star and was the only player that had a multi-point game for either team. Luke Cairnes had multiple opportunities to score for Erie, including a clear cut breakaway in the first when he out deked himself and lost the puck. Stephen Harper played a good game as well for the Otters. Late in the game I especially took notice of him every time he was on the ice he wasn't far from the puck. Sadikov played well even though he gave up 5 goals he made 37 saves and had Brampton not beat him for 3 goals in a little over 3 minutes in the first the game would've went to OT.

Brampton's next game is Thursday the 19th at 7:00 PM at home against the Plymouth Whalers. This has all the makings of a great game as both teams are playing for first in their respective conferences.

You can follow me @ChrisMcdonald91

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