2017 NHL Draft
Prospect Notes: Windsor vs Erie
Erie’s Lodnia and Windsor’s Vilardi post impressive performances
Steve Kournianos | 2/12/2017 | Erie | [hupso]
ERIE, Pa. (The Draft Analyst) — Ivan Lodnia scored the deciding shootout goal as the host Erie Otters extended their winning streak to 10 games with a 5-4 victory over the Windsor Spitfires.
Lodnia, one of the top prospects for the 2017 NHL Draft, also assisted on Warren Foegele’s power play goal in the first that gave Erie a 2-1 lead. His breakaway goal through Windsor goalie Michael DiPietro’s legs made it 3-1 in the second.
Gabe Vilardi and Jeremy Bracco each scored twice for Windsor, which trailed 4-2 in the third before Bracco forced overtime with 2:36 left.
Erie is one win away from equalling the frnachise mark of 11 straight wins set in 2012-13. The Otters improved to an 25-0-1 at home and have the best overall record in the Ontario Hockey League.
2017 Draft Prospects
LW Ivan Lodnia (8/31/99, 5’10/182): Exceptional performance by the game’s best player whose elite hockey IQ was certainly on display. Lodnia may have a reputation as an offensive player, but tonight I saw a relentless puck pursuer capable of making the right decision nearly every time he’s near it. It might have been one of those nights, but he could do no wrong in this one. Lodnia is a quick, accurate passer who plays on the power play but used smarts to beat a top goalie in Michael DiPietro through the legs not once, but twice. He never stops moving and has a hidden gear, but it was odd to see Jeremy Bracco beat him in a footrace for a goal in the second. Remember, this kid is just days from being eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft, meaning he has close to a full extra year of development over some of the top 2017 prospects.
C Gera Poddubnyi (6/9/99, 6’1/183): Poddubnyi is the kind of player who would flourish with more responsibility. He showed precision with his cross-ice passing and is a strong skater with a long stride who likes to get in on the forecheck. His later mobility and directional changes are solid, thus helping him react quickly to a defender’s breakout or escape pass. I didn’t see much in terms of creativity or finesse but the potential is certainly there.
C Gabe Vilardi (8/16/99, 6’3/201): Vilardi had a strong overall game, showing off soft hands and a deadly shot. He didn’t get off to the best start as his over-stickhanding led to a turnover and a 2-on-1 goal by Alex DeBrincat, but a mistake like that is nothing more than an anomaly. Yes, his skating still looks awkward and he couldn’t shine on a power play loaded with playmakers. He did, however, show aggressiveness and dedication to the forecheck and penalty kill. I really like this kid, whose superior IQ will serve him well at the highest level. He too was less than a month from 2018 draft eligibility.
RW Luke Boka (6/12/99, 6’0/191): Boka is an aggressive power winger with size and a good understanding of the game. He’s the type of player who makes the most of his opportunities and would put up better numbers had he not been blocked by so much firepower. Boka anchored Windsor’s top penalty killing unit and doesn’t stop moving while feverishly waving his stick like a scythe. Once he gets control of the puck, he’s strong enough to not only stay blanced and ward off defenders, but also get a shot on net as he’s hounded.
G Michael DiPietro (6/9/99, 6’0/200): This was a game that DiPietro probably wants back, especially since it came down to a shootout. The ice was tilted upright for two full periods, and three of the four goals against were from precision plays on odd-man rushes. DiPietro is incredibly quick on his feet and even quicker with the glove, but his timing seemed a hair off tonight as he was late reacting to several shots that whizzed past him. Granted, Erie is loaded with snipers and is the best team in the OHL. But DiPietro getting beat five-hole twice by Lodnia makes me wonder if the former allowed the latter to get into his head. Still, the kid has excellent rebound control and effortlessly guided pucks to safety the entire game.
RW Cole Purboo (6/18/99, 6’3/215): Purboo didn’t see the ice much and was relagted to a checking role when he did. Big and strong with an aggressive mentality, he’s at his best during cycles and board battles. Most of the first two periods however were played in Windsor’s end. Purboo is not a good skater, but he makes up for it by being positioned properly and taking the right routes to the puck.
LW Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Black Hawks 2nd/2016): DeBrincat was noticeable every time he was on the ice, and that includes plays after the whistle. His goal in the first period — an absolute laser to finish off a 2-on-1 — increased his OHL lead to 46 and his point total to a league-best 96 points. Physical, feisty and obviously skilled, I get the sense that he’s playing with more to prove this year than his two previous campaigns.
C Dylan Strome (Arizona Coyotes 1st/2015): Strome was invisible for most of the night until a breakaway in the second period that DiPietro stopped. He didn’t register a point and wasn’t very creative, leaving DeBrincat to handle the puck as he drifted into open shooting lanes. I was expecting a productive night considering the magnitude of the game, but a goal in the shootout turned out to be his lone contribution to the win. Strome has an elite shot, and a conversion to wing could be an option.
RW Taylor Raddysh (Tampa Bay Lightning 2nd/2016): Raddysh played on Erie’s top line with Dylan Strome, picking up an assist via a gorgeous saucer pass to Alex DeBrincat for the game’s opening tally. Erie’s top line was buzzing a lot but it didn’t translate into many quality scoring chances. Raddysh was physical on occasion and used his size to protect the puck and maintain possession.
RW Warren Foegele (Carolina Hurricanes 3rd/2014): Foegele was easily the most active player on either roster, finishing with a power play goal and a game-high six shots. He was positioned on Anthony Cirelli’s wing, hustling and flying all over the place to gain control of the puck and initiate the cycle. Foegele’s been a Godsend since being acquired from Kingston with 18 points in 17 games. He’s quick, strong and provides all the intangibles necessary to make it at higher levels.
C Anthony Cirelli (Tampa Bay Lightning 3rd/2015): Cirelli centered Erie’s second line and had good chemistry with Lodnia and Warren Foegele. He is an aggressive forechecker and plays feisty. He was 9-7 on draws but had a relatively quiet night on offense.
RHD Erik Cernak (Los Angeles Kings 2nd/2015): Cernak was Erie’s best defender against Windsor, playing physical and making timely step-ups. He’s extremely smooth and heady with the puck and never panicked in the face of a forecheck. Once the puck is on his stick, it’s gone, usually near the red line with accuracy. His footwork looked solid as well, as onrushing Spitfires could not get around him as he maintained a tight gap.
RHD Jordan Sambrook (Detroit Red Wings 5th/2016): Sambrook was impressive with the puck and showed confidence and mobility. He played on the power play and logged big minutes, but it was his breakout pass to kickstart Kyle Maksimovich’s goal that stood out. His combination of physicality and mobility is a legitimate concern for opponents and he’s become the kind of player you have to plan for.
C Logan Brown (Ottawa Senators 1st/2016): Brown centered Windsor’s top line and made a handful of skilled zone entries despite dangerously handling the puck near his own line with no support behind him. He was a bit indecisive on the power play but it’s hard to fault him considering the Spitfires’ five-man unit consisted of four playmakers and Sergachev’s howitzer. He left the game after two period with an apparent hand injury.
LHD Mikhail Sergachev (Montreal Canadiens 1st/2016): Sergachev had a commanding, assertive game that featured power rushes to the cage, the latter opening him up to a massive (and clean) check from Darren Raddysh that knocked him out for the remainder of the second period. In the first, Sergachev took the puck with confidence and powered down the right wing before threading a pass to Vilardi for Windsor’s first goal. His booming shot was suppressed the entire night but he was the easily the most noticeable defender on the ice.
RW Jeremy Bracco (Toronto Maple Leafs 2nd/2015): Bracco handled the puck a lot and showcased his elite puck skills and patience. It’s amazing how teams continue to struggle defending him when he’s on the forehand and headed towards (surprise, surprise) the back of the net. Credit to Bracco for having that ridiculous lateral agility to continuously evade opponents. He scored twice, the first coming on a partial breakaway where he beat Lodnia in a footrace before wiring a shot past DiPietro.
LHD Sean Day (New York Rangers 3rd/2016): Day played a critical role in Windsor’s comeback by moving the puck through all three zones while leaving opponents in the dust with dekes and head fakes. His coast-to-coast effort on Jeremy Bracco’s tying goal was a thing of beauty, and confidence with the puck can never be questioned. It was, however, a struggle defensively, beginning with an overcommitted slide that allowed Alex DeBrincat all the time and space needed to finish off a 2-on-1. Day played the shooter, but in this case it would have been wiser to commit to DeBrincat on the weak side (especially considering it’s Debrincat). His slot coverage remains poor and he continues to wander and look disengaged.