ERIE, Pa. - Despite the return of veteran goaltender Ramis Sadikov, Erie's young defensive corps struggled in the Otters' 4-1 loss to Ottawa 67's in Ontario Hockey League play Saturday.
Tyler Toffoli and Shane Prince both had a goal and an assists for Ottawa (7-3-1). Brett Gustavsen and Cody Ceci also scored, while Petr Mrazek made 22 saves.
Connor Brown was the lone scorer for Erie (1-10-0).
Sadikov allowed four goals on 29 shots in his season debut. He had little help from his teammates as the offence scored two goals or fewer for the seventh time in 10 games.
Erie's inexperience led to a sixth straight loss for the Otters, who have been outscored 62-30 on their way to the OHL's worst record.
The 67's pushed a goal past Sadikov to take a 1-0 lead 5:30 into the opening period. Toffoli bulled past the Otters' defence to tie Sean Monahan for the team lead with his eighth goal of the season.
Sadikov was sharp for the rest of the period. He finished the first with 10 saves on 11 shots.
Ottawa used a well-placed wrist shot to take a 2-0 lead 1:04 into the second period. Ceci took a drop pass from Monahan and fired a wrist shot between Sadikov's left arm and the left post. Yet the Otters finally found some life on the power play midway through the period.
Brown scored off a rebound to slice the 67's lead in half at 2-1 at the 9:05 mark. Rookies Stephen Harper and Sondre Olden assisted on the goal. But the 67's regained a two-goal lead on the power play.
Prince slipped a rebound of Michal Cajkovsky's shot past Sadikov to take a 3-1 lead with 4:32 left in the period. Then a scramble in front of Sadikov handed the 67's the 4-1 advantage.
Gustavsen poked a rebound through Sadikov's pads moments before the net was dislodged from its moorings. Video review confirmed Gustavsen's fourth goal of the season. In contrast, the Otters hit three posts in the game and had a reviewed goal waved off.