Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ftorek is the Difference Maker in Erie

Here I am once again doing some business in Erie, PA and I got the chance to take in another OHL game featuring the Erie Otters and Petersborough Petes. The Otters are struggling as of late, but they hired a real quality coach in Robbie Ftorek recently and I think that things are starting to turn around for them.

Erie was not the same team that I saw last time I was here. They brought to their game a new physicality and a passing presence. Surely, the new coaching regime got the kids back to basics and trained them hard. They had beaten a strong Niagra Ice Dogs team yesterday and each player earned a little confidence in their skills. Ftorek brings with him a mountain of coaching experience at the major and minor levels and 334 games as a player in the NHL. This leaves former coach Peter Sidorkiewicz to concentrate on developing the goaltenders.

It wasn't "JJ" in the net, but Justin Garay who stood tall and kept the Otters in it until is goalie counterpart Jason Missiaen fell on his backside at the faceoff circle. Nick Palmieri (pictured) jumped on the opportunity to score one of his 2 goals this night. Otters Luke Gazdic would get the other one to give the Otters a 3-1 victory.

The 3rd leg of this weekend's games ends this Sunday in Guelph.

It may be too late to salvage any post-season hopes, but at least the struggling OHL Otters can build on the hopes that Ftorek can lead them to an OHL Championship and produce NHL talent as the Brad Boyes #16 hangs above the ECC/Tullio Arena walls.

[Via: Erie Otters Official Page]
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