Photo courtesy of James Egan Photography
SAULT STE. MARIE, ON-
For the third time in less than 72 hours the Soo Greyhounds were in OHL action on Monday afternoon. This time the game represented the final, and their 38th regular season contest of the year 2012
And just over twenty four hours after dropping a road contest in Sudbury, the Hounds were looking to get back their play that had seen the team grab wins in 5 of their last 7 games.
The visiting Saginaw Spirit came out buzzing in the opening minute and just 56 seconds into the game Andrey Alexeev first shot went into some skates before his second attempt went off iron to keep us in an early scoreless contest.
Shortly thereafter the trio of TYLER GAUDET, NICK HALAGIAN and DYLAN STAPLES brought strong offensive presence for the Hounds that seemed to set the tone for the rest of the period and the game.
Garret Ross would put Saginaw ahead 1-0 before the period was ten minutes old putting a backhand past MATT MURRAY at 9:43.
The Hounds specialty teams got their scoring going.
On their first powerplay of the game, NICK COUSINS slid the puck nicely around a Spirit defender before sending a pass back to RYAN SPROUL who blasted a shot past Nikita Serebryakov to tie things up.
Saginaw made quick order to regain the lead at 12:55 when a turnover saw Dalton Young’s shot hit off something or someone in front for the easy deposit for Jimmy Lodge and a 2-1 Spirit lead.
With that lead still standing, the visitors started a 2-on-1 but Hounds captain COLIN MILLER slid back to break up the right to left pass and negate any further chance on the play.
Then with less than three minutes to play in the period RYAN SPROUL’s one-time shot from the middle of the blueline foiled Serebryakov to tie things at two. For Sproul the powerplay goal was his second of the night and 9th of the season with assists going to MICHAEL SCHUMACHER and NICK COUSINS.
While tied, the Hounds had a glorious chance for their first lead when a pass by SERGEY TOLCHINSKY rolled past SCHUMACHER but as the play continued a pass to C.MILLER saw him fire wide of the open net and the two teams skated 2-2 into the dressing room.
The Hounds started the second period shorthanded for the opening 1:58 and would kill off the Spirit advantage. The tight defensive work by the Soo magnified to holding Saginaw to one shot against in the opening thirteen minutes of the period.
BRANDON ALDERSON put a highlight reel goal on the board (check out the video highlights on our homepage) at 11:48 of the second after NICK COUSINS sprung him up the right wing and behind the Spirit defence. The Hounds winger cut to the net, avoided a poke check by Serebryakov by sliding the puck underneath his outstretched stick before backhanding his 9th goal of the year home and a 3-2 Greyhounds lead.
But before the period was over, Saginaw would continue to stick with the Hounds and tie things up when a hit by the Spirit created a turnover eventually finding Jeremiah Addison to the left of MURRAY’s goal, who had no chance on the play, and a 3-3 tie after forty minutes.
Allowing just three shots against, the Hound were outshooting Saginaw 23-13 after two periods.
With Saginaw on their second and final powerplay of the game less than a minute into the third period, DAVID BROLL and CHRIS BUONOMO would shine on the penalty kill as the Hounds didn’t allow a shot against on the man advantage to the visitors.
Just over three minutes in, SCHUMACHER was robbed at the side of the goal but the play would see the puck come back to RYAN SPROUL who put a shot blocker side to complete the hat trick and give the Hounds a 4-3 lead.
Then less than two minutes later COLIN MILLER grabbed his 10th goal of the year as the Hounds grabbed a two goal cushion.
The Hounds netted their third powerplay goal when SCHUMACHER from the side of the net found ALDERSON in the slot for his second of the night and a 6-3 lead. NICK COUSINS had the other assist, and one of his four on the night.
SERGEY TOLCHINSKY would round out the scoring redirecting a CHRIS BUONOMO shot home for his 15th goal of the year, as the Hounds ended 2012 on a winning note downing Saginaw by a score of 7-3.
With SPROUL’S hat trick, a four-point night by COUSINS and a total team effort, the Hounds improved their record to 19-17-2-0 on the season while increasing their lead over the Spirit (5 pts) and the Windsor Spitfires (6 pts).
Meanwhile the Hounds kept pace with Plymouth with each team holding 40 points and now moved within 3 points of Sarnia for the division lead.
The locals now prepare for one of their longest trips of the year that will see them make stops in Ottawa (Thurs. Jan 3), Belleville (Sat. Jan 5) and Kingston (Sun. Jan 6). You can hear all the action each night starting with your Bay Mills Resort & Casinos pre-game show on Rock 101.
On behalf of the entire Soo Greyhounds organization we would like to wish our fans, corporate partners and all residents of the Twin Sault Area’s a very HAPPY NEW YEAR while wishing everyone a safe and prosperous 2013.
DICKIE’S HARDEST WORKING HOUND
#26 MIchael Schumacher
RED STAR THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1 – #55 Ryan Sproul
2 – #27 Nick Cousins
3 – #21 Brandon Alderson
ATTENDANCE – 4,272