Erie Otters abandons second straight game against Flint
The Erie Otters looked like the better team when they lined up against the Flint Firebirds on Saturday night at the Erie Insurance Arena.
Erie had more shots and more chances, but once again struggled to resolve Firebirds goalie Luke Cavallin, and lost 6-2.
Elias Cohen and Daniel D’Amato scored for the Otters (2-6). Cohen, George Alboim and Christian Kyrou provided assists.
Zacharie Giroux led Flint with two goals and one assist. Amadeus Lombardi also scored twice for the Firebirds (4-2).
Hartsburg: too good to go down
Despite the Otters’ most unbalanced loss of the year, Hartsburg said he was satisfied with his team’s efforts throughout the weekend.
Erie suffered a stunning 2-1 loss after Flint’s Brennan Othmann scored with 30 seconds left on Friday. The Otters shot on Saturday, passing Flint 16-4 in the first quarter, but still trailed 1-0 in one period.
The Firebirds pushed the lead to two early in the second period and Erie had to catch up the rest of the way.
“I said to (our players) after the game, ‘honestly this is probably the most complete weekend you’ve played all year,’ said Hartsburg. “I’m not going to sit here and lie down. There is a lot of hockey left.
Erie’s stat trackers had the Otters with a 23-8 advantage in 5-5 scoring opportunities.
“It’s an impressive number,” Hartsburg said. “It wasn’t like we only had chances to score in the perimeter. We were right there.”
Hartsburg said his side were obviously upset that they lost their third game in a row, but preached that there were plenty of positives over the two nights against Flint.
“There are mistakes that are going to be fixed, but there are too many good things to correct,” he said. “It’s a young group. They just need to understand that.”
Otters stuck to their systems
Erie had outscored Flint 8-1 at the start, but that shot was a Giroux goal, forcing the Otters to play from behind.
Lombardi’s first goal of the game came 46 seconds into the second period as the Firebirds led 2-0.
D’Amato provided the answer to Erie later in the second with his first goal of the season. Cohen was on the right wing when he passed D’Amato in the high lunge. Kyrou also helped the game.
The Firebirds got back on their feet just after a goal from Othmann less than two minutes later. They extended the lead to 4-1 on a Braeden Kressler goal.
Cohen halved Flint’s lead in the dying minute of the second with Erie’s final goal. He was camped in the low lunge when Hoffmann sent him a superb backhand pass behind the net. Alboim was credited with an assist.
The Otters continued to lead Flint into the third period, but goals from Giroux and Lombardi helped the visitors move away.
“We stuck to our plan and stayed true to our structure,” said Hartsburg. “A few games played by a few people weren’t great, but it’s going to happen. It’s just too good this weekend.”
Flint’s Cavallin is solid again
The Otters could probably go some time without seeing Cavallin again. The over-aged keeper is 3-0 against Erie this season and he certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Cavallin made 35 saves for his first shutout in the Ontario Hockey League in 88 games when Flint won a 2-0 win over Erie earlier in the season.
Cavallin followed that up with performances of 37 and 42 saves in his next two wins against the Otters. He has a .965 save percentage in his three games against Erie.
Contact Josh Reilly at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ETNreilly.