BUFFALO, N.Y. - Connor McDavid shined on a stage built for him by scoring a goal and adding three assists in the Erie Otters' 8-4 victory over the Niagara IceDogs on Wednesday night at Buffalo's First Niagara Center.
"Tonight probably with more fans and more people watching, he was a little more driven to really put on a show," Otters coach Kris Knoblauch said. "But you get that from him every night. He wants to be the best player. Tonight was no different."
McDavid, the projected No. 1 pick in June's NHL draft, added to his Ontario Hockey League-leading point total, reaching 32 in his 11th game of the regular season.
"It's not a whole lot of thinking that you're doing," the 17 year old said. "If it is thinking, oftentimes you're going to get kind of caught. It just has to be all instinct and that's something that I think I may have. It's just creativity and looking to try different plays."
Kurtis MacDermid and Alex DeBrincat both scored twice for Erie (9-0-1), while Troy Donnay, Shaun Bily and Patrick Murphy chipped in with a goal each. Devin Williams made 15 saves for the win.
Jordan Maletta led Niagara (2-8-0) with two goals, while Graham Knott and Cody Payne also scored. Brent Moran started in the IceDogs net, stopping 19-of-25 shots in 32:51 of work. Stephen Dhillon turned aside 11-of-13 shots in relief.
McDavid, the Otters captain, was the main draw for an Erie home game played two hours north in Buffalo as many Sabres fans turned out to see the player they hope their team will have the chance to select.
McDavid jerseys filled the crowd of 11,391, mostly Erie ones with a couple Sabres sweaters as fans sought to get a jump-start on the mania.
"I think the guys on our team didn't feel any pressure," said centre Dylan Strome, who had two assists. "If there's one guy that had to feel pressure, I think everyone knows who it was, and I think he played pretty good tonight."
In the first period, McDavid assisted on two goals by linemate Debrincat and one by defenceman MacDermid. The third goal earned the most attention, as McDavid almost single handedly generated it by protecting the puck and gliding around a defender.
"I was a little bit fortunate to one-hand it around the guy," McDavid said. "If I didn't make it I don't think Coach would be too happy about that. I was kind of fortunate, but it turned out to be an OK play I guess."
The Newmarket, Ont., native scored his own goal in the third period on a pretty play. It was his 10th goal of the season.
The Otters scored as many goals in this game as the Sabres did in their first six games of the NHL season.
ATTACK 6 COLTS 1
OWEN SOUND, Ont. ??? Ethan Szypula and Chris Bigras both scored twice as the Attack routed Barrie.
Thomas Schemitsch and Daniel Milne had goals for Owen Sound (6-3-3) as well.
Brendan Lemieux's short-handed goal was all the offence the Colts (6-4-1) could muster.
GREYHOUNDS 7 WOLVES 2
SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. ??? Tim Gettinger and Sergey Tolchinsky had two goals each as the Greyhounds raced past Sudbury.
Jared McCann scored and added two assists for Sault Ste. Marie (9-2-0), while Gabe Guertler and Gustav Bouramman added singles.
Danny Desrochers and Pavel Jenys replied for the Wolves (1-10-0).