The Plymouth Whalers got back on the winning track in convincing fashion as they blew out the visiting Erie Otters 7-1 at the Compuware Arena Monday afternoon in the lone matchup on the OHL schedule.
Cody Payne and Zach Lorentz led the way with two goals each and for Lorentz, who also had an assist, he recorded first points as a member of the Whalers. Lorentz was acquired from the Windsor Spitfires for Alex Aleardi on January 7.
A pair of Whaler blueliners also contribued to the offense as Connor Carrick and Gianluca Curcuruto each had a goal and an assist.
Ryan Hartman recorded his 19th goal of the season midway thru the first period on the power play, in which the Whalers converted on all three opportunites with the man-advangtage.
Vincent Trocheck led all skaters with three assists. Since coming over from the Saginaw Spirit on January 10, Trocheck has scored one goal and added nine assists for 10 points in five games with the Whalers. Matt Mistele and Garrett Meurs also chipped in with two assists each.
Matt Mahalak stopped 24-of-25 shots for the Whalers, who are one point behind the Sarnia Sting for first place in the West Division. The only goal that Mahalak gave up was to Luke Cairns at 13:08 of the first period.
Devin Williams got the start for the Otters as he stopped 34-of 40 shots and gave up three goals in each of the first two periods. He was replaced by Daniel Dekoning, who made his second OHL appearance, and stopped seven-of-eight shots.
The Whalers next game will be this Thursday in Windsor as they face the Spitfires in a West Division matchup at the WFCU Centre, while the Otters head back home as they welcome the Saginaw Spirit Wednesday night at the Dow Event Center.
Other OHL News: J.P. Labardo was named the OHL Player of the Week for the week ending January 20. Labardo, who is playing in his fifth OHL season, scored two goals and added five assists in two games last week and also finished with a +2 rating. He had a career-best four point performance in a 7-6 loss in Sarnia Friday night and followed that up with a three-assist game in Saginaw the next night. The Bolton, Ontario native has 15 goals with 30 assists in 44 games with the Otters this season.
Photo of Cody Payne by CHL Images