Photo by James Egan Photography
SAULT STE. MARIE, ON-
The third meeting of the season between the Soo Greyhounds and the Guelph Storm was a tale of two games within one in the words of Head Coach Sheldon Keefe.
“We were outplayed and outworked in the second half. To me there was really two different games that happened tonight. We played real hard and real well for the most part, we had some breakdowns in the first half but we were competing and working but we weren’t able to sustain it” he explained.
And after building a lead in the second period, the Soo Greyhounds went on to see five unanswered goals scored against in the 6-3 loss on Friday Night.
“That’s a great hockey team (Guelph). That team has been playing playoff hockey for 60 games. By far that is the hardest working team we have played against in terms of how they sustained it for 60 minutes so there is a lot of things we will take from this game that will make us a better team” continued the Hounds Head Coach.
Scoring opened midway through the first period when JARED MCCANN kept his offensive pace on the team’s current homestead. With a rebound coming off a DARNELL NURSE point shot, McCann chipped the puck up and over Garret Sparks on the powerplay for the Hounds 1-0 lead.
With 4:09 to go in the period, Scott Kosmachuk was given a penalty shot after he had his stick chopped out of his hands. Skating in on MATT MURRAY, the Hounds goalie stood tall and turned aside one of the eleven shots he faced in the period to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Tanner Richard was sprung on a breakaway roughly three minutes in to the second period, but couldn’t capitalize for Guelph.
Less than two minutes later Hunter Garlent pulled the visitors even when two Storm got behind the Hounds defence and put the shot low for a 1-1 game.
COLIN MILLER made the Hounds perfect on the powerplay through two opportunities when a pass from the side of the goal saw him convert with a shot blocker side from the point and the Hounds regained the lead, now 2-1.
Just a minute and four seconds later the Hounds outnumbered the Storm in their zone where ANDREW FRITSCH backhanded a shot through for his 26th goal of the year and a 3-1 lead.
Guelph pulled back within a goal when Hounds defenceman Alex Gudbranson was left to pick up the pieces following two previous turnovers. As the rearguard went to play the puck from deep inside his zone he lost and edge turning things over to the Storm who went right to left on Murray and Jason Dickinson netted the Storm’s 2nd goal of the night.
Zack Mitchell scored a shorthanded backhand goal at 16:34 and then Zac Leslie let a point shot go through a crowd with 40 seconds to play in the period, as Guelph led 4-3 through forty minutes.
Trailing by a goal entering the third period, the Hounds held a powerplay just 56 seconds in. And while ANDREW FRITSCH got a shot that went off a piece of the pipe around Garret Sparks as their best chance.
Just after returning to even strength Cody McNaughton gave the Storm a 5-3 lead before Brock McGinn one-timed a shot from the slot at 12:03 for a three goal cushion.
The Hounds were held to just two shots in the first thirteen minutes of the period.
With 3:37 to play, Tyler Bertuzzi was handed a 5-minute major for a Check to the Head on Hounds Sergey Tolchinsky.
The Hounds failed to pull any closer, and post-game questioning revealed no further details on the status of the Greyhounds’ forward at the time.
The regulation loss was the Hounds first on home-ice since early December while dropping the club’s record to 33-22-3-3 on the season.
“I’m obviously disappointed in the result and disappointed in our effort in the second half. But looking at the big picture, now we have to continue to make strides as a team and you need nights like this to make real strides otherwise the players don’t believe anything is wrong” concluded Keefe.
The three-game home stand will come to a close this coming Sunday, March 3rd when the Hounds host the Peterborough Petes in their only visit of the regular season. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m.
Tickets are on-sale at the Essar Centre Box Office 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and beginning 10 a.m. on gameday, online at www.essarcentre.ca or by phone at 1.866.775.9422.