May 20, 2017

WINDSOR, Ontario (AP) Dylan Strome broke a tie early in the third period and the Erie Otters beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-2 on Saturday in the Memorial Cup opener for both American teams.

Strome, the Arizona Coyotes' prospect drafted third overall in 2015, beat goalie Carl Stankowski from the top of the goal crease.

Alex DeBrincat, Jordan Sambrook and Christian Girhiny, into an empty net, also scored, and Troy Timpano made 19 saves for the Ontario Hockey League champion Otters.

Erie frustrated the Western Hockey League champion Thunderbirds with their strong forechecking.

''You got here playing a certain way and you're not going to change that,'' Otters coach Kris Knoblauch said. ''It's Erie Otters hockey. It's what got us here and what we'll finish with.''

Scott Eansor and Austin Strand scored for the Thunderbirds, and Stankowski stopped 31 shots.

''A bit of our identity wasn't there during the game and we'll correct a few things,'' Seattle coach Steve Konowalchuk said. ''We have a few individuals who can rebound.''

The four-team Canadian Major Junior Hockey Championship opened Friday night with the host Windsor Spitfires' 3-2 victory over the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Saint John Sea Dogs. In other round-robin games, Seattle will return to action Sunday night against Windsor; Erie will face Saint John on Monday night; Seattle will play Saint John on Tuesday night; and Erie will face Windsor on Wednesday night.

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