CHL Playoffs Game Night: 4-18-17

Ontario Hockey League

London Knights 4 @ Erie Otters 5 (OT)
Western Conference Semifinals
Erie wins best-of-7 series, 4-3

W/C Mitchell Stephens, LDN: 1-1-2, -1, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff Totals: 14 GP, 7-3-10, -1, 2 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 22-32-54, +19, 26 PIM

D Erik Cernak, Erie: 0-1-1, +3, 0 PIM, 4 SOG
Playoff Totals: 11 GP, 1-6-7, +11, 4 PIM
2015-2016 Season: 41 GP, 4-11-15, +7, 35 PIM

C Anthony Cirelli, Erie: 1-0-1, +1, 2 PIM, 5 SOG, 13/28 FO
Playoff Totals: 11 GP, 8-4-12, +9, 4 PIM
Season Totals: 51 GP, 25-39-64, +36, 12 PIM

W Taylor Raddysh, Erie: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff Totals: 11 GP, 5-13-18, +7, 8 PIM
Season Totals: 58 GP, 42-66-108, +67, 37 PIM

Wow. Mitchell Stephens did it again, scoring on the power play with London’s goalie pulled to tie the game at 4 and force overtime, but this time the Knights didn’t come out on top like they did when Stephens scored in OT of Game 6. Warren Foegele (Hurricanes) scored off a savvy pass from Darren Raddysh (undrafted free agent) to win the game for the Otters and send them to the Western Conference Finals against Owen Sound. London had a 3-1 lead in the game, chasing Erie goalie Troy Timpano. The Otters fought back, starting with a goal by Darren Raddysh with less than a second to play in the first period. They’d tie it early in the third period on Cirelli’s eighth goal of the playoffs, then take the lead with 3:31 remaining on a goal by Alex DeBrincat (Chicago). That set up Stephens' temporary heroics. He was battling with Cernak in front of the net when a floater bounced off the goalie and hit the shaft of Stephen’s stick, propelling it into the net. It held up under review. Cirelli almost won it early in overtime when his wrist shot sailed barely over the crossbar. Foegele won it minutes later. Erie outshot the Knights, 63-29. Game 1 of the Conference Finals is Friday.

As for Stephens, his junior career ends with a clutch effort for a gritty London team. He finished tied for second on the team in playoff goals and was fourth in points. He’s eligible to join AHL Syracuse for their playoff run should the organization want him there. He was solid with the Crunch last year, but there are about 82 forwards in Syracuse right now (slight hyperbole). He already has an NHL contract, which will kick in next year.