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Career nights from McKegg, Cairns lead Otters to 7-5 win over Attack @NHLdotcom

ERIE, Pa. - The Erie Otters were in unfamiliar territory Friday night ? they were actually leading in the third period.

Behind career nights from Greg McKegg (six assists) and Luke Cairns (two goals, three assists), the Otters snapped a season-opening, four-game losing streak with a 7-5 win against defending Ontario Hockey League champion Owen Sound.

The Otters (1-4-0) needed a strong final period to seal the elusive win.

The Attack (3-4-0) opened the scoring 4:33 into the first, as Joseph Blandisi scored from in front off a pass from Holden Cook.

The Otters' youth helped even the score before the first intermission. Shortly after a strong shift from rookies Stephen Harper and Jake Evans and second-year winger Johnny McGuire, rookie defenceman Travis Wood fired a wrist through a screen and past Attack goaltender J.P. Cesario with 6:17 left.

Cairns and rookie Nathan Glass had the assists, with Glass earning his first OHL point.

The Attack took the lead early in the second period. Matt Petgrave's cross-ice pass from the left wing deflected off rookie defenceman Liam Maaskant?s stick and slipped past Otters goaltender Chris Festarini 1:39 into the period.

Erie tied the game less than two minutes later when Derek Holden???s rebound bounced off a defender and past Cesario.

Holden, who was scratched as an extra over-ager in three of the first four games, scored again at the 4:06 mark ??? this time on the power play. He fired a wrist shot under the crossbar to open up the 2-2 tie. Cairns and McKegg assisted on both of Holden???s goals.

The Otters' lead didn't last long, as Gemel Smith slipped past the defence to score the tying goal 5:06 into the period.

The teams combined for four goals in the opening five minutes and six goals overall in the period.

McKegg's stretch pass to a streaking Brett Thompson gave the Otters a 4-3 lead with 5:32 left in the second. McKegg earned his third assist and Glass his second on the goal. Then Cairns and McKegg combined for a power-play goal for a 5-3 Otters lead with 3:47 left.

The Attack sliced their deficit in half 1:01 into the third, as Artur Gavrus deflected a bouncing puck past Festarini. But Cairns scored his second goal of the game to restore Erie's two-goal lead with 9:55 left, only to have the Attack move within one goal again at 6-5 on Jake Dotchin???s goal with 7:18 left in the game.

Brett Cook???s goal with 4:06 left sealed the win.

Festarini made 23 saves for Erie, while Cesario stopped 23 shots for Owen Sound.

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