With two games remaining in 2012, the Soo Greyhounds headed into Sudbury on Sunday afternoon looking to keep the perfect record against their Northern Rivals in tact. To date, the locals had a 3-0 record versus the Wolves in the Bell Challenge Cup.
And while Sudbury last played on Friday Night, the Hounds faced a quick turnaround after their home contest on Saturday evening.
MATT MURRAY (14-12-1-0, 3.57 GAA, 0.902 SV%) returned to the net for the Hounds, while Joel Vienneau (11-12-2-4, 3.07 GAA, 0.906 SV%) tended the pipes for the Wolves.
After building up a 6-1 shot advantage in the first period, the Hounds had one of their three powerplays in the game less than five minutes in. And after failing to capitalize on the man advantage, just seconds later RYAN SPROUL was robbed at the blocker side of the goal and the game remained scoreless.
Sudbury would open the scoring on their own powerplay. At the 13:52 mark, Nicholas Baptiste saw the puck brought in close from the side of the Hounds goal before depositing his 9th of the season and a 1-0 Wolves lead.
It took less than a minute for the Hounds to respond when RYAN SPROUL’S wrist shot from the left point re-directed off the stick of Frank Corrado and past Vienneau for the 1-1 tie.
With less than nine minutes to go MATT MURRAY made a big pad stop, one of his 36 on the afternoon, and then with around 10 seconds to go a Sudbury right point shot was tipped off the crossbar but remained out and the two teams skated into the dressing room after twenty minutes tied at a goal each.
Sudbury would make it 2-for-2 on the man advantage 7:05 into the second period when Charlie Dodero’s point shot found iron before ending up behind Murray for a 2-1 lead.
Then just over 3 minutes later, Jacob Harris and company were relentless around the Hounds goal before putting a rebound home and a 3-1 lead for the Wolves.
MURRAY would make a number of stops on MacKenzie Braid later in the period in an effort to keep his team within striking distance with still a lot of time remaining.
And before the period was over, the Hounds would go on the powerplay for the second time but despite keeping the pressure inside the Wolves zone the locals produced just two shots and would continue to trail 3-1 after two periods of play.
Following back-to-back penalties to end the second, the Hounds started the third down a pair of players for 16 seconds and would successfully kill off both minors to get back to even strength.
But despite the PK effort, the Hounds put together just a single shot on Vienneau through the opening 7:30 of the period.
Dominik Kubalik was sprung on a breakaway with 11:21 to go, and yet again the Wolves were foiled by the netminding of MURRAY.
Brody Silk was turned aside by the Hounds netminder’s glove and then a 2-on-0 between Mathew Campagna and Nicholas Baptiste came up without a shot on goal.
But before time would expire, and with Sudbury on their 7th powerplay of the game Nathan Pancel backhanded a shot from the slot past Murray to round out the scoring and the Wolves went on to a 4-1 win over the Greyhounds.
With the loss, a four-game winning streak was snapped for the Hounds and their record dropped to 18-17-2-0 on the season.
The busy weekend schedule concludes tomorrow afternoon – Monday, December 31st (NEW YEAR’S EVE) at 4 p.m. when the Hounds play host to the Saginaw Spirit.
The Hounds enter the game with a 4-0-1-0 versus their division opponent who sits just three points behind them in the standings.
Fans can join us by getting tickets at the Essar Centre Box Office (starting at 10 a.m.), online at www.essarcentre.ca or by phone at 1.866.775.9422.