Greyhounds continue homestand with win (18 Photos)Friday, October 25, 2013 by: Brad Coccimiglio
Make it seven straight games without a regulation loss for the Soo Greyhounds.
Since a 3-2 loss in Kingston on Oct. 6, the Greyhounds have six wins and a shootout loss in those seven games, including a 7-5 win over the Belleville Bulls at the Essar Centre on Friday night.
The game was the second in a three-game Ontario Hockey League homestand for the Greyhounds.
Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe was pleased with the win, though he felt some adjustments had to be made to get the desired result.
“It was a different game right from the get-go in that it was the first time that we played a team that trapped right from the opening faceoff,” said Keefe. “(Belleville) played a 1-3-1 style right from the get-go of the game. We expected that coming in and we were prepared for it but once you get going in the game it’s a different feel. We hadn’t faced it all year so we had to make some adjustments between periods.”
Said Bulls coach George Burnett: “We did a lot of things well tonight. When you score five goals, you expect to win. We weren’t very good in our end of the rink. I don’t think it was a particularly good night for either of the goalies. Their guy made a couple more saves than our guy did.”
Despite his pleasure in some facets of his teams game, Burnett was disappointed in some others
“Our identity has a lot to do with being an excellent penalty killing team and we look discombobulated right now in that particular area of the game,” said Burnett. “It’s not just tonight. We’ve got to block more shots. Most of their goals came from the outside tonight and whether they can see it or not, we’ve got to get into those shot lanes and be a lot more determined to do so.”
Brendan Gaunce had two goals and an assist for the Bulls while Luke Cairns added a goal and an assist. Niki Petti and Rei Elie also had two-point nights with two assists each. Mark Raycroft and Aaron Berisha had the other Bulls goals.
Following the game, Keefe noted that he was pleased with the way the Greyhounds bounced back after the Bulls tied the game at four in the latter stages of the second period
“In terms of the team, we just needed to turn the page and move on,” said Keefe of the way the second period ended. “It was all-square going into the third and we’ve been in that situation a ton this season. We had a good period in the second and we were in control. The penalties hurt us and took the momentum away from us but the team has been resilient all the way through and I had faith that we would be again.”
Darnell Nurse had two goals and an assist for the Greyhounds while Andrew Fritsch, Patrick Watling and Kyle Jenkins had a goal and an assist each. Jean Dupuy and Michael Bunting also scored for the Greyhounds while Sergey Tolchinskyand Tyler Gaudet added two assists each.
Despite struggling at times, Brandon Halverson made 27 saves in the win.
“We wanted Halvy to fight his way through it,” said Keefe. “We still have confidence in our group. This was a game where it was two backup goaltenders going at it and we had confidence that if we played the right way, we’d find our way through it.”
The Greyhounds wrap up their three-game homestand on Saturdaynight when they host the Kingston Frontenacs in a 7:07 p.m. start at the Essar Centre.
Photo courtesy Kenneth Armstrong