Petes still in first overall after win in Erie
Peterborough gets 39-save performance from Jones in victory
ERIE, PA. — It wasn’t a perfect game but the Peterborough Petes did what they needed to make it a perfect weekend.
Hunter Jones steered his team through some rough waters until it got on track in a 3-1 win over the Erie Otters at Erie Insurance Arena on Saturday night. It was the Petes’ third win in three nights, keeping them two points ahead of the Ottawa 67’s, 4-3 winners over the Oshawa Generals earlier in the day, for first place in the OHL and Eastern Conference.
The Petes (19-6-1-1) improved to 9-1-1-1 in their last 12 games and 13-5 on the road, while handing the Otters (11-8-2-6) their third straight loss.
Jones made 39 saves and Zach Gallant’s game-winning goal is one that will likely find itself on numerous highlight reels.
Petes coach Rob Wilson expected his team would have to weather an early onslaught because Erie was rested, while the Petes were playing their third game in three nights.
Erie did take it to the Petes early and hit a crossbar. Max Golod had Jones beat slipping a puck through his legs, but it rolled through the crease and out the other side.
The Petes turned the puck over near their own blue line, leading to an odd-man rush where Hayden Fowler took a shot in the high slot that deflected off Shawn Spearing past Jones bringing the Teddy Bears to the ice with 1:19 left in the first period. It would be the only time they beat Jones.
“We did a good job of weathering the storm,” said Wilson. We gave up one in the last two minutes I wasn’t happy about because it was a goal that could have been prevented.
“The shots might not show it, but after the first we were very good. The players played really smart. We changed our tactics and they bought into it.”
The Petes struggled to muster much offence until Brady Hinz ripped a shot off the crossbar nearly seven minutes into the second off a rebound with Otters
goalie Daniel Murphy down and out.
Shortly after killing an Otters power play, Petes rookie Tucker Robertson’s pass led to a threeon-two rush where Semyon Der-Arguchintsev dropped a pass to the trailer on the play and Michael Little snapped the puck top corner to tie it at 10:16.
Gallant scored an OHL goalof-the-week candidate while short-handed 1:15 later for a sudden Petes lead. Gallant was knocked down while driving to the net and while sliding on his backside, and with only one hand on his stick, he stickhandled the puck past Murphy. Gallant scored in all three weekend games, has scored in four straight games and extended his points streak to seven games.
“It’s more a reaction,” said Gallant. “You don’t think too much in situations like that. It’s more instinct.”
“It was good,” said Wilson, “but it was extra effort that made that goal more than anything else.”
Jones made 15 third-period saves to preserve the win, his league leading 17th.
“He’s been really good this year,” said Gallant. “I have no doubt he’ll get an invite to the world juniors (on Monday) and have a good shot to make that team.”
Mason McTavish’s 15th goal of the season added insurance with 10:48 left. Robertson picked up his second assist feeding McTavish who ripped a shot in the right side just before the net was knocked off its moorings.
The Petes will host Ryan Merkley and the London Knights at 7:05 p.m. Thursday on Teddy Bear Toss Night at the PMC.
NOTES: The Petes iced the same lineup for a third straight game with Nick Robertson (finger) and Chad Denault (numbers) sidelined … The three stars were 1. Hunter Jones (P); 2. Michael Little (P); 3. Hayden Fowler (E).
Peterborough Petes forward Zach Gallant looks to pass against the Erie Otters in the first period at Erie Insurance Arena in Erie on Saturday.