2017 Memorial Cup Preview: Erie Otters

Action from Game 5 of the Rogers OHL Championship Series in Erie, PA. The Erie Otters defeated the Mississauga Steelheads 4-3 in double overtime to win the Robertson Cup as OHL champions. Photo by Dan Hickling/OHL Images

The 2017 MasterCard Memorial Cup will begin on Friday, May 19 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Yesterday, I previewed the WHL Champion Seattle Thunderbirds and Monday, I looked at the host Windsor Spitfires. Today, we break down the OHL champion Erie Otters.

Erie clinched the J.Ross Robertson Cup by defeating the Mississauga Steelheads in five games. It was their second time winning Ontario Hockey League title, their first win coming in 2001-2002. In their only Memorial Cup tournament in 2002 in Guelph, they were eliminated by the Victoriaville Tigres 5-4 in overtime in the semi-finals. Victoriaville would fall to the Kootenay Ice in the final.

This years edition of the Erie Otters are extremely dangerous up front. Winger Alex DeBrincat led the OHL in playoff points. The Chicago Blackhawks second-rounder scored 13 times and had an OHL-leading 38 points. DeBrincat had a stellar regular season claiming two 2017 OHL Awards; the Red Tilson Trophy for most outstanding player, and the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy for the OHL’s top regular season scorer. DeBrincat had an impressive 65 goals and 127 points in 63 regular season games for the Otters.

Finishing in second behind DeBrincat in OHL playoff points was Otters captain Dylan Strome. The 2015 third overall selection of the Arizona Coyotes had 14 g0als and 34 points in 22 games.

Rounding out the OHL’s top ten in scoring are Otters forward Anthony Cirelli and Taylor Raddysh, who tied for third with 31 points each. Also keep your eye on OHL playoff MVP, Carolina Hurricanes third rounder Warren Foegele.

Darren Raddysh, brother of Taylor, quarterbacked the Otters blueline throughout the regular season, finishing ninth in playoff scoring with eight goals and 22 points. Raddysh also claimed the 2017 Max Kaminsky trophy for defenceman of the year. NHL prospects Jordan Sambrook (Detroit Red Wings), and Erik Cernak (Los Angeles Kings) are two more players to watch on defence for Erie.

The starting goalie for the Erie Otters will be Pickering, Ontario native Troy Timpano. In 20 playoff games, Timpano had a 13-4-1 record with a 2.73 goals against average and a save percentage of .895. Backing up Timpano is Niagara Falls, Ontario native Joseph Murdaca. In five playoff appearance, he posted a 3-0-1 record with a 1.64 goals against average and a .938 save percentage.

Erie will be in search of it’s first ever Memorial Cup championship when their round-robin play kicks off on Saturday, May 20 against the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds at 3 p.m. They will then face off against the QMJHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs on Monday, May 22 at 7 p.m. before closing out 2017 MasterCard Memorial Cup round-robin play with an all-OHL clash against the host Windsor Spitfires on Wednesday, May 24 at 7 p.m. All times listed are in eastern time zone.

Check back to The Q News for coverage of the 2017 MasterCard Memorial Cup over the next couple weeks including tomorrow’s fourth and final preview, the QMJHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs.


Photo: Dan Hickling/OHL Images