Greyhounds open trip with victoryThursday, October 03, 2013 by: Brad Coccimiglio
Results are what counts in the Ontario Hockey League and the Soo Greyhounds got some on Thursday night.
Despite an effort that Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe said “wasn’t sharp”, the team came away from the nations capital with two points after a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa 67’s in OHL action.
The win opens a tough eastern Ontario road trip that continues on Saturday night in Belleville before wrapping up Sunday afternoon in Kingston.
The Greyhounds opened up a 2-1 lead through one period but struggled to maintain control of the game in the final 40 minutes.
“We had a really good start to the game,” said Keefe. “Even though we got down 1-0, we were controlling the game and doing some good things. There was a real shift in the second period where (Ottawa) had some really strong points and we were starting to fall apart a little bit. We were getting sloppy, turning pucks over. The third period was more of the same. We were on our heels and didn’t do much of what we wanted to do. Overall, it wasn’t a sharp night for us but we found a way to get some puck luck around the net.”
Greyhounds goaltender Matt Murray was solid in the win, stopping 31 shots.
“Tonight really showed what we thought we were going to need out of Matt this season,” Keefe said of the veteran netminder. “We knew there was going to be times with our young club that our game wouldn’t be perfect and we would need an experienced goaltender in there that just stays calm and keeps us in games. While he’s been solid all the way through, tonight was one night where I though we were really not sharp and without strong, solid goaltending, it would have been a much different game tonight.”
Patrick Watling and Jared McCann had a goal and an assist each for the Greyhounds in the win. McCann’s goal came late in the third period with the Greyhounds shorthanded after a penalty to defenceman Alex Gudbranson. After a 67’s turnover in the Greyhounds zone, Darnell Nurse attempted to clear the puck down the ice. McCann got behind the Ottawa defencemen and knocked the clearing attempt down out of the air near the redline and proceeded to score high glove side on the shorthanded break on 67’s goaltender Philippe Trudeau.
Tyler Gaudet and Andrew Fritsch had the other goals for the Greyhounds. Nurse chipped in with a pair of assists.
Keefe spoke highly of the late-game penalty kills by the Greyhounds in the win.
“One of the real positives for me, even though we didn’t play well through the second and third periods was when we had those penalty kills in the third where Ottawa really could have changed the course of the game, our guys did a really nice job on the kill,” Keefe said. “Obviously, we got the goal that really put away the game. That was a really positive sign for our guys that we, despite not playing well, really buckled down and got it done on the penalty kill.”
Travis Konecny had the lone goal for Ottawa in the loss. Trudeau stopped 29 Greyhounds shots.
The road trip now shifts to Belleville where the Greyhounds will take on the Bulls on Saturday night in a 7:05 p.m. puck drop.
HOUND BITES: The Greyhounds blueline brigade has one fewer member as the team has reassigned defenceman Medric Mercier. Mercier will suit up for the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Soo Thunderbirds. The 16-year-old played his first game with the team on Wednesday night in Sudbury.