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Biggers-Hodgman-Torquato line leads Erie to 7-5 win over Sudbury

NHL.com @NHL

ERIE, Pa. - The line of Brandon Biggers, Justin Hodgman and Zack Torquato recorded four goals and seven assists to send the Erie Otters into Christmas break with a 7-5 win against Sudbury on Saturday night.

Hodgman's second goal of the game and 13th of the season tied the score 4-4 at the 2:27 mark of the third. That set off a wild third period in which the Otters (16-17-2-0) scored four times in front of 3,605 at Tullio Arena.

Sudbury's Patrik Lusnak scored on the power play - the fifth goal on 20 shots against goaltender Shane Owen - to hand the Wolves a 5-4 lead with 12:57 left. But Otters centre Ryan O'Reilly's tip-in of linemate Shawn Szydlowski's shot - his second goal of the night - produced the fifth tie at 5-5 with 11:16 left. O'Reilly, who had four goals in his first 34 games, had his first multi-goal effort since Dec. 7, 2007.

Biggers followed with the winning goal, scored on his third attempt at poking in a rebound - the Otters' 52nd shot. They finished with a season-high 54. Biggers then scored into an empty with 54 seconds left.

Hodgman finished with his second OHL hat trick and an assist. Biggers had a goal and three assists, while Paul Cianfrini (one goal, one assist) and Szydlowski (two assists) added two points apiece. John Kurtz scored twice and Patrik Lusnak had three assists for the Wolves (16-16-1-2).

Sudbury grabbed the early lead on Kurtz' goal 1:14 into the opening period. But the Otters' offence, which scored four first-period goals in Friday's win against Guelph, began relentlessly attacking in the Wolves' zone. Hodgman's goal with 4:33 left in the period finally tied the score 1-1.

Less than two minutes later, the Otters' struggling power play capitalized on a 5-on-3 opportunity, with O'Reilly's goal snapping the tie. That goal seemed to spark an emotionally charged and fight-filled end to the period. Sudbury defenceman Jake Cardwell's checking to the head penalty set off two fights.

Otters winger Sean Jones and Wolves defenceman Peter Hermengildo received game misconducts for having the second fight in the same stoppage. The teams combined for 50 penalty minutes and three game misconducts in the period.

The Otters regained a one-goal lead on Cianfrini's goal 6:19 into the second two minutes after Sudbury's Brett Thompson tied the score 2-2. But rookie John McFarland, the No. 1 pick in the 2008 OHL priority selection, and Kurtz scored 1:49 apart late in the second for a 4-3 Wolves' lead.

The Otters trailed entering the third despite outshooting the Wolves 37-17 through two periods. Sudbury goaltender Andrew Loverock made 46 saves, including 20-of-21 in the second period. Owen finished with 23 saves.

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