Coyotes prospect Dylan Strome and the Erie Otters came into the game on Wednesday off a record-breaking 12-5 win over the Saint John Sea Dogs, with Strome having had his own record-breaking night (4 G, 3 A, for 7 points in one Memorial Cup game) in that same game. They looked to try and carry this moment into their game against the Windsor Spitfires, but it wasn’t meant to be.
A Shaky First
The well-rested Spitfires were ready for the Otters, putting on the pressure early and setting a physical tone for the game. The Spitfires attacked first, Jeremiah Addison (Montreal) tucking one in off the post off a beautiful pass from behind the net to put Windsor up 1-0.
Windsor continued their relentless defense and kept Erie without a shot until just over halfway through the first period before getting on the board again. Another from Addison, to put the Spitfires up 2-0 at the end of the first.
The second-period action was more of the same from the first, Windsor keeping the control and dominating the play. Erie struggled to find their feet, getting some more shots on net but nothing went in.
Then penalty struggles struck the Otters, giving the Spitfires a 5-on-3. Windsor took advantage and capitalized, Mikhail Sergachev (Canadiens) with a blast of a shot extended the Spitfires’ lead to 3-0 with less than a minute left in the second. Erie ended up outshooting Windsor 15-5, but couldn’t get anything to make it to the back of the net.
Running down the clock was the name of the game for Windsor at the start of the third, but Erie wasn’t having any of it. The Otters came out and put their foot on the gas, controlling the puck possession and keeping it in Windsor’s end. It took some time, but Erie eventually got their first, Kyle Maksimovich crashed the net and poked in a rebound from Warren Foegele (Carolina Hurricanes) to get the Otters on the board 3-1.
A bad play decision put Erie on the defensive not long after and Windsor scored another one, Jeremiah Addison once again for the hat trick off a play from 2017 NHL draft-eligible Gabriel Vilardi to make it 4-1 Spitfires.
Erie got lucky just three minutes later, finding themselves on a power play and their net empty, a 6-on-4 opportunity for the OHL Champions. Darren Raddysh found his brother, Taylor Raddysh (Tampa Bay Lightning), and cut Windsor’s lead in half to 4-2.
Although the Otters put some fantastic pressure on Windsor in the final minutes, it wasn’t enough. Michael DiPietro was a brick wall that the Erie Otters just couldn’t solve and Windsor’s defense kept the Otters from creating any space. The Windsor Spitfires defeated Erie 4-2 and have a bye into the Memorial Cup Final.
Dylan Strome finished the game with 5 SOG, a -1, and a 75% faceoff win percentage (21/28).
The Erie Otters will play the Saint John Sea Dogs on Friday, May 26th at 4 PM MST to decide who snags the other spot in the Memorial Cup Final.