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Otters Too Much For Colts

For the second and final time this season, the Colts traveled to take on the Erie Otters. The Otters continue to stay atop the CHL rankings for the 13th straight week, and have only dropped 5 games all season, and lead the OHL with 69 points coming into Thursday night’s game.

Despite outshooting the Otters 38 to 34, the Colts were unable to stop the powerful Otters, falling 4-2. Cordell James and Julius Nattinen each scored for the Colts, while Michael Webster, Anthony Stefano, Rasmus Andersson and Andrew Mangiapane picked up the assists. For the Otters, Dylan Strome proved to have a big night as he recorded two goals and an assist after coming off a hat trick in Erie’s previous game.

The first period was the only period that the Otters outshot the Colts, as they fired 11 shots on Blackwood. Because of that, Erie would get on the board first just over 12 minutes into the period. The puck was intercepted at the Colts blue line from Dylan Strome, and he got it up to Kyle Maksimovich breaking into the zone two on one. Maksimovich passed to Taylor Raddysh at the tops of the circle, and Raddysh put it top shelf over a sliding Blackwood for his 16th of the season.

Before the end of the first period, the Otters would extend their lead to 2-0 when Maksimovich put one home. After the Otters jumped on a 4 on 2 break, Maksimovich was the recipient of some slick passing and buried the Otters second goal of the game.

The first period would have plenty back and forth action, but saw the Otters take away numerous odd man rushes. But, the second period had the Colts turn things around. Despite giving up an early power play goal to the Otters from Dylan Strome’s wrist shot, the Colts outshot the Otters in the period and created chances of their own.

On the power play and before the halfway point of the second period, Stefano got the puck to Webster on the point, and Webster fired a shot on net. James was in perfect position to redirect the puck home to put the Colts on the board and make it a two-goal game again at 3-1. The remainder of the second period was an even strength matchup, with neither team being able to make good on their chances.

However, mirroring the start of the 2nd period, the Otters once again extended their lead to three goals from a Dylan Strome goal. Taylor Raddysh and Kyle Maksimovich each picked up their second assists and third point of the night on Strome’s second goal, giving the Otters a 4-1 lead only a minute and a half into the third period.

The Colts would fire 14 shots on net in the third period, but Otters goalie, Devin Williams, would stand on his head and come up with big saves. And in the other end, Mackenzie Blackwood came up with great saves of his own, notably with four minutes to play. Blackwood made a huge cross crease save to rob the Otters of a great scoring opportunity.

With less than five minutes to play, Kevin Labanc was penalized for four minutes from a high sticking call. After the Colts killed of the penalty, Labanc was sprung on a semi breakaway and drew a penalty as Taylor Egan hauled him down.

On that power play, the Colts scored their second goal of the game. Andersson got the puck over to Nattinen who was planted to the left of Devin Williams. Nattinen fired home a one-timer for his 11th goal of the season, and first after returning from the World Junior Championship. Mangiapane also assisted the Colts 4-2 goal.

With time winding down, the Colts were unable to claw back, and fell 4-2. Both Colts goals were scored on the power play, and the Colts went 2 for 3 on their power play chances on the night. The Otters went 1 for 5 on their power play opportunities.

The Colts are back in action Friday night as they head to Hamilton to take on the Bulldogs, and then are back at the BMC on Saturday night to once again welcome their Central Division rivals, the North Bay Battalion. For tickets to that game, visit the BMC Box Office or www.ticketbreak.com

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