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Whalers nip Otters in a shootout

PLYMOUTH, MI. - Chris Terry scored the only goal of the shootout to lift the Plymouth Whalers to a come-from-behind 7-6 win over the Erie Otters in an Ontario Hockey League game played tonight at the Compuware Sports Arena. James Neal scored two goals for the Whalers while Dan Collins had a goal and two assists. Kaine Geldart, Jared Boll and Terry rounded out the Whalers scoring. Evan Brophey collected five assists. Andrew Hotham paced the Otters attack with a pair of goals. Sean O'Connor added a goal and two assists while Josh Vatri, Derrick Bagshaw and Mitch Gaulton also scored. Justin Hodgman supplied three assists and Kelly Geoffrey and Nick Palmieri added two helpers each. The Otters dropped to 1-0-0-1 on the season. The Whalers are 1-1. The two teams were tied at 2-2 after one. Erie led 5-4 after two. The Otters grabbed a 6-4 lead midway through the third on Gaulton's first career goal. But the Whalers answered with two goals in the final six minutes to force overtime. Ryan Ludzik took the shootout loss allowing six goals on 31 shots and one on two shots in the shootout. Jeremy Smith posted the win for the Whalers with 22 saves and three more in the shootout as O'Connor, Hodgman and Hotham all failed to score. The three stars of the game were 1. Brophey, 2. Hodgman and 3. Neal.

The Otters complete a season-opening three-game road trip Friday night when they travel to Kitchener to take on the Rangers. The game can be heard live on 1330 Erie's ESPN Radio beginning with the pre-game show at 7:15 p.m.

The Otters 2006-2007 Home Opener takes place this Saturday (September 30th) at the Tullio Arena against the London Knights. Kick off a new hockey season in style and join the Otters for a free pre-game party starting at 5 p.m. outside the Tullio. Opening ceremonies, featuring the Tullio Arena's new video scoreboard, begin at 7:15 p.m. Tickets for the game are available at all Erie-area TicketMaster locations as well as the Erie Civic Center Box Office.
 

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Rangers lose season opener 3-2

Call it a tough luck start.

Nick Spaling of the Kitchener Rangers hit the goal post on a third-period penalty shot last night at The Aud.

Less than a minute later, the Soo Greyhounds scored the winning goal in their 3-2 Ontario Hockey League victory over the Rangers before an opening night crowd of 5,862.

Josh Godfrey's winner broke a 2-2 tie at the tail end of a power play with 6:52 left in the third. It appeared to glance off Rangers forward Kevin Henderson, who dove to block it.

The game started ominously for the Rangers last night when rookie blueliner Dan Kelly went down after taking a check near the Rangers net.

Kelly left the game.

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Greyhounds open new season victorious

The Ontario Hockey League's road warriors are off to a winning start.

Playing their first of eight straight games away from home to open the regular season, the Soo Greyhounds spoiled the Kitchener Rangers' home opening party with a 3-2 victory.

Josh Godfrey notched the game winner with 6:52 remaining in the third period to break a 2-2 tie.

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Frontenacs double 67's

Nathan Moon scored three goals to lead the Kingston Frontenacs over the Ottawa 67's Friday in the Ontario Hockey League.

Cory Emmerton added two goals and three assists for Kingston while Bobby Hughes had a goal and three assists.

Tony Rizzi, with a goal and two assists, Matthew Kang, Robert Nyholm and Bobby Bolt also scored for the Frontenacs.

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Storm opens in style

It wasn't always pretty, but the Guelph Storm did just enough to win their Ontario Hockey League opener last night, 4-3 over the Owen Sound Attack.

Jamie Arniel scored with just under nine minutes remaining in the third period to lift the hometown Storm and erase the effects of an awful second period.

"We'll take any win we can get," Storm coach and general manager Dave Barr said. "But I think it's important for us to learn what we're doing right, and correct any mistakes we make. I know the guys, especially the young guys, were very nervous tonight. But I thought they played better as the game went along."

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Hounds spoil party

Call it a tough luck start. Nick Spaling of the Kitchener Rangers hit the goal post on a third-period penalty shot last night at The Aud.

Less than a minute later, the Soo Greyhounds scored the winning goal in their 3-2 Ontario Hockey League victory over the Rangers before an opening night crowd of 5,862.

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Captain rules the Knight

Last night was supposed to be a coronation of the Saginaw Spirit as one of the OHL's kings this season.

Instead, it was confirmation the London Knights aren't giving up their reign as OHL royalty anytime soon.

Led by new captain Robbie Drummond's two goals and four points, the Knights opened the 2006-07 season with a convincing 6-3 win at the John Labatt Centre.

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Saginaw geared for run at OHL title

Patrick McNeill and Garrett Sinfield are grizzled OHL veterans, but they're about to experience something new with the Saginaw Spirit this season -- expectations.

For the first time since packing up from North Bay and landing in Michigan five years ago, the Spirit are touted as an OHL title contender. It's a weight Sinfield has watched his hometown London Knights bear the last few seasons, but totally foreign for him and his teammates.

"It's nice in a way because it might put the spotlight on this team and put more season ticket holders in the seats -- even though we've done all right with that the past few years," the six-foot-three, 205-pound defenceman said.

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OHL roundup

Savage made 40 saves, backstopping the Toronto St. Michael's Majors to a 4-3 win over the Oshawa Generals on Friday in the Ontario Hockey League.

"It was a great bounce back for Wayne because he had a rough start in Barrie (Thursday in an 8-4 loss)," said Majors' coach Bud Stefanski.

The St. Thomas, Ont., native made two breakaway saves, and robbed Oshawa sniper John Tavares with a pad save late in the game to preserve the win.

Savage said he focuses a little more on players like Tavares.

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Spirit lose opener on the road

LONDON, Ontario -- Saginaw General Manager-coach Bob Mancini knows enough about the Ontario Hockey League's Western Conference to never count out the London Knights.

There were those around the league who questioned London's ability to win its third conference crown in a row.

Not Mancini.

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Ex-Hurricane's goal beats the champions

Josef Vasicek, playing against his old team for the first time, scored on a short-handed breakaway late in the third period, lifting the Nashville Predators past the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-4.

With the Hurricanes on a brief power play, the Predators got a short-handed push up ice with Scott Hartnell feeding a pass to Vasicek, who beat Cam Ward at 18:55 of the third.

Left wing Kim Staal, who played in Sweden last season, scored twice for the Predators (2-1), who won their second straight preseason game.

Ex-Wing Ray Whitney scored two goals to lead the Hurricanes, who returned to the ice for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup three months ago.

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Mississauga hammers Sudbury

Chris Lawrence had three goals and two assists as the Mississauga IceDogs routed the Sudbury Wolves 10-4 in Ontario Hockey League action Friday.

Jadran Beljo, with two, Jordan Owens, Stefan Legein, Kyle Lamb, Barry Sanderson and Oskar Osala added goals for the IceDogs (1-0-0-0).

Justin Larson, Patrik Lusnak, Akim Aliu and Tyler Arps replied for Sudbury (0-1-0-0).

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OHL Roundup: Majors edge Generals

Wayne Savage made 40 saves, backstopping the Toronto St. Michael's Majors to a 4-3 win over the Oshawa Generals on Friday in the Ontario Hockey League.

"It was a great bounce back for Wayne because he had a rough start in Barrie (Thursday in an 8-4 loss)," said Majors' coach Bud Stefanski.

The St. Thomas, Ont., native made two breakaway saves, and robbed Oshawa sniper John Tavares with a pad save late in the game to preserve the win.

Savage said he focuses a little more on players like Tavares.

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Sting whip Whalers

Trevor Kell scored three goals to lead the Sarnia Sting to a 7-3 win over the Plymouth Whalers on Friday in the Ontario Hockey League.

Steven Stamkos scored twice for the Sting while Tomas Pospisil had a goal and two assists. Danny Anger had the other Sarnia goal.

Dan Collins, James Neal and Andrew Fournier replied for the Whalers.

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Colts will have tough time in the East

All Marty Williamson is looking for is a little support.

Make that, a Little support.

"One thing about this league is you can't be a one-line team," said the Barrie Colts coach recently. "We know what we have with Bryan (Little) but we're going to need support from the other lines."

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Early surge lifts Frontenacs over 67’s

Bruce Cassidy had worries that his hockey club, due to the upheaval of having players attending pro camps during the Ontario Hockey League preseason, wouldn’t be prepared for last night’s season-opener.

The Kingston Frontenacs, however, made sure their new head coach was worrying over nothing.

Scoring five times in the first period, the Frontenacs displayed an electrifying transition game in skating off to a 9-5 victory before a crowd of 2,427 at the Memorial Centre.

“We wanted to go out and play for Cassidy. It was his debut and he was going against his old coach,” said rookie Nathan Moon, who had a spectacular debut, including a highlight goal in the second period to restore a four-goal Kingston lead going into the third period.

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IceDogs thump Wolves

If Friday night is any example of what kind of year it's going to be in the Ontario Hockey League for the IceDogs, then Mississauga fans are in for a lot of enjoyment.

The IceDogs came up with an offensive explosion that this franchise hasn't produced in a donkey's age as they easily outplayed the Sudbury Wolves for a 10-4 win here before a near-capacity opening-night crowd of 4,867.

"We showed a lot more good things than bad things," said coach Mike Kelly shortly after the Mississauga victory, led by a three-goal performance from right winger Chris Lawrence and two from linemate Jadran Beljo, a Sudbury native.

"I think we played great for 30 minutes and then we were so-so for 30 minutes," said Kelly. "We kind of lost our focus for a little bit, there was some chirping going on and we got away from our forecheck. I think if this team is going to have an identity, we'll need to have a strong forecheck."

Lawrence, who returned to Mississauga earlier in the week after going to training camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League, had a pair of assists to go along with his hat trick.

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Generals go from 6-0 to 0-1 in a big hurry

It didn’t take John Tavares long to find his legs -- or hands.

Unfortunately, despite scoring the Oshawa Generals’ first goal for a second straight season, Tavares’s return to the lineup from a knee injury did not have the desired effect Friday in Toronto.

After a perfect 6-0 pre-season, the Generals lost the first game that really mattered, falling 4-3 to the St. Michael’s Majors to kick off the Ontario Hockey League season.

Tavares sparked the Generals to life after a slow start, cutting into a 3-0 St. Mike’s lead on the power play, 7:54 into the second period.

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Otters spoil opener

The Windsor Spitfires' recipe for success this season was missing some major ingredients Friday.

The solid defensive play necessary for a young team to be successful was lacking and Erie Otters goaltender Ryan Ludzik outplayed Windsor goalie Anthony Guadagnolo.

Ludzik, who played just nine games last season, had 48 saves to lead the Otters to a 5-2 win over the Spits before 3,889 at Windsor Arena Friday in the season opener for both teams.

"It's not the way we have to play in order to be successful," Spitfires forward Bradley Snetsinger said.

"We got away from our system and had too many odd-man rushes."

FLASHING LIGHTS

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