ERIE, Pa. - Connor McDavid was quiet last weekend. But he made lots of noise in Game 3 Monday night.
After earning only one point in the first two games in Oshawa, McDavid scored his first goal of the Ontario Hockey League final and added an assist to lead the Erie Otters to a 4-3 win over the Generals.
Oshawa now leads the best-of-seven series for the J. Ross Robertson trophy 2-1.
McDavid drew energy from the raucous 6,494 in attendance, while having home-ice advantage — and as a result the last change — provided him with opportunities to get away from the Generals' shutdown defenders Josh Brown and Dakota Mermis.
"I felt like I had a little bit more room. Still obviously not a whole bunch of room," said McDavid, who has a league-leading 20 goals and 45 points in the playoffs heading into Game 4 on Wednesday in Erie. "They still play a very tight defensive game. But obviously having last change helped. We'll see what happens (moving forward)."
Remi Elie, Alex DeBrincat and Nick Betz also scored for the Otters, while Devin Williams made 24 saves for the win.
Cole Cassels struck twice for the Generals, while Sam Harding added a goal of his own. Ken Appleby stopped 25 shots.
Behind a rejuvenated McDavid, Erie unleashed its speed game after totalling two goals on 52 shots in the first two games. The Otters took their first lead of the series late in the first period, as McDavid found Elie in front of Appleby for a 1-0 lead.
"When he gets loose he's the best player in the world for a reason," Generals head coach D.J. Smith said of McDavid, "If I don't have my five best defensive guys out there, he's going to be dangerous. And you saw that tonight."
Elie nearly scored his second goal of the evening four minutes later. But DeBrincat's backhand off a rebound sailed over Appleby's shoulder to give the Otters a 2-0 lead with 1:07 left in the period.
Otters head coach Kris Knoblauch gave credit to returning centre Kyle Pettit for a more physical style of play. He skated in a yellow non-contact jersey earlier in the day but then dressed for the first time since breaking a knuckle on his right hand blocking a shot against Windsor on March 14.
"The addition of Kyle Pettit allowed us to play four lines, and not really worry about who played up against who," said Knoblauch. "Kyle has been so valuable for us. Him coming back from injury gives us a lot."
Oshawa nearly sliced Erie's lead in half as time expired. But a referee immediately waved off the goal, because time expired before the puck crossed the goal-line. Knoblauch also said the referees planned to call a crease violation against the Generals.
The play began with the clock being reset from three-tenths of a second to 1.5 seconds. When asked if more time should have been added, Smith said, "I haven't looked at it, and I don't know. … The ref was sure that the time had expired."
That call proved to be big late in the game, as the Generals scored twice to move within 4-3 with 1:52 left. Either way, the Otters held on for the much-needed win.
"This is big," McDavid said. "It shows that we can compete with these guys."