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Memorial Cup recap: Erie Otters out hustle the slow and steady Seattle Thunderbirds

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The Thunderbirds have the best story of the tournament in a rookie goalie, but the Otters fire power was too much.

Aaron Bell / CHL Images

The Erie Otters have the luxury of facing a travel weary Seattle Thunderbirds team, that flew from Seattle, to Regina, back to Seattle, and then to Windsor, all in the span of five days, while the Otters covered barely 200 miles of travel, from Mississauga to Erie, to Windsor.

Another seeming advantage that the Otters hold over the Thunderbirds is in goal. The Otters Troy Timpano had played 44 games over the course of the season, and is the Otters regular starter. The team knows his habits and how to cover any holes in his game. He played all 20 of the Otters OHL playoff games.

Seattle had Rylan Toth as their starter for 58 games this season, until a lower body injury took him out of the game near the seasons end. Rookie goalie Carl Stankowski has had the Thunderbirds net after playing just seven regular season games. Stankowski has been excellent for the Thunderbirds, posting a .911sv% and a 2.50GAA. At just 17 years old, he’s now Seattle's best hope for a Memorial Cup. Just a little preassure.

The Maple Leafs don’t have any prospects playing in this game, but free agent defender Darryl Raddysh is on the Otters top pairing. Erie played a very defensive game, and liked to play physical while defending. Lighnting prospect Erik Cernak was one who seemed to relish the chance to use his size and strength against Seattle forwards.

The Otters are all about attacking the Seattle net when on the offensive, but the Thunderbirds like to hold back when they get the puck, change lines, get everyone in position, then make their play.

Seattle was watching out for the top Otters all night, swarming players like DeBrincat and Strome when they had the puck in the offensive end. With a rookie on goal, you want to make sure he has all the help he can get, no that he’s needed it these playoffs.

This game wasn’t thrilling, but it wasn’t boring. It was a solid game of hockey played by two top teams who were very wary of each other. The Otters were a bit more forthcoming with the rush, while the Thunderbirds were all about planning, preparation, and somehow making their passes to clean and direct it looked like the puck was on a track.

Game Highlights

  • Erik Cernak not afraid to kick off the game with some physicality against Turner Ottenbreit
  • The Otters spend their entire first power play in the Thunderbirds zone, but aren’t successful
  • This tweet:
  • Otters goalie Troy Timpano’s easy going glove hand. Makes saves like a laser wrist shot from Seattle’s Alexander True look like he’s playing catch with a toddler.
  • Carl Stankowski was a highlight reel all by himself. Stops Taylor Raddysh one on one with ease.
  • The Otters have the puck at the point and play tic tac toe to Taylor Raddysh, to Dylan Strome (Coyotes) , right into Stankowski’s glove.
  • Alex DeBrincat’s (Blackhawks) goal to open scoring for the game.
  • Scott Ensor ties the game with a nice rush into the Otters end.
  • The final two minutes of the second period stands out. Jordan Sambrook (Red Wings) scores for the Otters, Taylor Raddysh and Erik Cernak assist
  • Then, Austin Strand goes top corner on Troy Timpano, tying the game at two.
  • Dylan Strome opens the third period by spinning around in front of the Thunderbirds net and sliding a backhand into the corner to give Erie the lead.
  • Christian Girhiny potted the empty net after an assist from Anthony Cirelli.
  • Full game highlights:

Post Game Interviews

Free agent defenseman Darryl Raddysh

Darren Raddysh: I thought we did ok (in a physical game), they decided to come out physical and we had to match that.

Question: You did a good job of shutting [Seattle] down, they only took 20 shots tonight.

Raddysh: You know, they’re a fast and skilled team, so we did a good job on the back check, and our forwards did a good job helping the D out.

Question: How do you keep yourself motivated when you have been passed over in past drafts?

Raddysh: I just roll with it, you know? I’m looking at this year like another draft year, and just trying to do my best every time.

Question: How do you stay poised? [The Otters] were dominating, but it was a 2-2 game going into the third.

Raddysh: You know, we’ve been in this situation before and the third period has been our best period all year long, and it showed tonight.

Question: How different would this game be if Stankowski didn’t do to you what he did?

Raddysh: He’s a really good goalie, he’s a 16 year old, and I have to give him credit.

Question: This is the last chance to show scouts what you have to offer, you won defensman of the year, what are you trying to show them?

Raddysh: I want to show them that I’m a dependable two way defenseman, and I can be a rock for anyone who’s out there looking.

Seattle Thunderbirds rookie goalie Carl Standowski

Question: Did you feel like you were going to steal this from the Otters, or were you on your game from the get go?

Standowski: I’m just trying to what I can for the team, and stay in control.

Question: Were you surprised by the pressure at the start of the game or was this something you were expecting?

Standowski: We watched some video on them, they’re a good team and I expected them to come out hard and they did.

Question: What’s the key to you game?

Standowski: Stay calm, and don’t think about the game. Just look for the puck.

Question: With a team like this, and that there’s an experienced core, does that help you?

Standowski: For sure, we have really good defense, they're trying to get the pucks out, and they let me see the pucks.

Question: Now that you have this first test, what do you expect for the rest of this tournament?

Standowski: It’s fast paced hockey, and I know that we’re going to come back tomorrow.

Question: Are you worried about the tight turnaround to tomorrow’s game?

Standowski: No, not really, that’s life in the W.

Question: Goalies these days are getting bigger, and using butterfly, what would you say your style is?

Standowski: Hybrid, I guess, just let the puck come to me rather than chase it.


After two games, the Memorial Cup standings are:

  1. Erie Otters 1-0-0 / 4GF / 2GA
  2. Windsor Spitfires 1-0-0 / 3GF / 2GA
  3. Saint John Sea Dogs 0-1-0 / 2GF / 3GA
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds 0-1-0 / 2GF / 4GA

The next game for the Erie Otters is Monday night at 7PM vs the Saint John Sea Dogs

The next game for the Seattle Thunderbirds is tomorrow night at 7PM vs the Windsor Spitfires