Western Conference finals, Game 3
No. 1 Erie Otters (8-3-0) at No. 3 Owen Sound Attack (8-3-0)
When: Monday, 7 p.m.
Where: Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre — Owen Sound, Ontario
On the air: WJET-AM/1400, www.ottershockey.com (live stream)
What to watch: The Otters had control of this series following a 6-1 win in Game 1 Friday. But that changed with a shorthanded goal that bounced off the helmets of Attack LW Kevin Hancock and Otters D Owen Headrick and trickled past unsuspecting G Joseph Murdaca with 4 minutes, 54 seconds left in the second period of Game 2 Saturday. The play sparked Owen Sound’s comeback from a 3-1 deficit in a 4-3 overtime win that sent the Otters and Attack to Owen Sound for Games 3 and 4 tied at a game apiece.
• Overage RW Matt Schmalz was the unlikely overtime hero, as he scored his second goal of the postseason and third goal and fifth point in 27 career playoff games. “I just shot it, and luckily it went in for me,” Schmalz said Saturday. He pointed to the club’s strong play in Game 2 after a disappointing opening game in the series. ““It’s another day,” he said. “We rallied together, and we had video just like another regular day, and we knew had to come out hard for this one.”
• Otters captain Dylan Strome said he’s confident his club can regroup from the loss. “We’ve been in this position before,” he said, most recently after a Game 1 loss to London in the Western semifinals. “We’ve had long series, and we’ve been in conference finals tied 1-1 before. They’re a great team. They’re good at home. So we’re going to have to find a way to get one and hopefully two.”
• Attack goaltender Michael McNiven made 33 saves Saturday to rebound from a disappointing early exit in Game 1 (five goals on 11 shots). Murdaca made a career playoff-best 33 saves in Game 2 for the Otters.
Up next: Game 4 at Owen Sound (Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.)