Taylor Raddysh hopes he has one more big game left in him on Sunday.
But if he doesn’t, he’ll be perfectly fine with one of his Erie Otters teammates having a moment of their own too.
“None of the guys care who scores, so long as we come out with the win in the end,” said Raddysh, the leading scorer at the Mastercard Memorial Cup with 11 points as the Otters get set to face the host Windsor Spitfires in Sunday’s final.
“If it’s the fourth line scoring, like they got on the game winner (from Gera Poddubnyi) tonight, we’re thankful for that. We’ve just got to stay positive with each other and we’re all excited for each other.”
A pair of goals from Raddysh propelled Erie to a 6-3 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs in Friday’s semifinal.
His older brother Darren Raddysh and Warren Foegele each had a goal and an assist, captain Dylan Strome also scored and Alex DeBrincat contributed with three assists for the Otters.
Strome said the date 5/28/17 was written on the drawing board in Erie’s dressing room, signifying that their goal since day one was to make it to the Memorial Cup final.
Ironically, the Otters will be ending the series the same place they started it and against the same opponent. However, they’ll be hoping for a different outcome than their 4-1 season-opening loss to Windsor.
Despite being eliminated in the first round of the OHL playoffs, Windsor rolled through the OHL round robin with a 3-0 record, which included a 4-2 win over Erie on Wednesday.
“They played well in the tournament to get here,” Strome said.
“Fortunately for them, they’re the host team and they’ve played extremely well to get to this point. It feels nice to get there, but having said that, we’ll put in the work Sunday.”
In Wednesday’s game, Erie built up a significant lead in shots on goal, but still lost. The Otters were also having trouble solving Saint John’s Callum Booth on Friday as they were outshooting the Sea Dogs 27-13 through two periods in a 2-2 game at that point.
“Today, we came up big and didn’t let emotion get to us,” Raddysh said.
“We stayed positive and talked about it in the second period, then came out with a quick goal (in the third) and built off of it.”
Saint John put up a much tougher test against Erie than they did in Monday’s encounter, when they were embarrassed in a 12-5 thrashing.
Julien Gauthier contributed on all three Sea Dogs goals Friday, scoring once and adding two assists. The other goals were scored by Joseph Veleno and Thomas Chabot.
Coach Danny Flynn gathered his team around their net right after the loss and said a few words of encouragement before they shook hands with the Otters.
His message was simple: “Remember the first 93 games, not the last three.”
“It’s a close-knit group. There’s lots of love in that room and lots of character, guys who grew up together, came in as boys and are going out as men,” Flynn added.
“We’re highly competitive. We hate to lose preseason games, so you can imagine the sting of losing in the Memorial Cup.”
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