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Sports

Greyhounds drop tight decision in London to Knights

Thursday, December 05, 2013   by: Brad Coccimiglio

It was a disappointing start to a stretch of four games on the road but Soo Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe called it a positive night nonetheless.

The Greyhounds were in London on Wednesday night where they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Knights in Ontario Hockey League action.

The game was the first meeting between the two teams, who are both among the Western Conference leaders, this season.

“Our guys played really well tonight,” said Keefe. “Our execution of a lot of the things we wanted to do tonight defensively and offensively was very good. We came up a goal short, which is disappointing but we couldn’t have asked for more from our guys. Overall, we’re pretty proud of the effort against a very good team in a tough building.”

London opened the scoring in the first period before the two teams traded goals in the final two frames. Ryan Rupert opened the scoring for London in the first period while Brett Welychka and Chris Tierney also scored in the win. Tierney’s goal 2:16 into the third period was the eventual game-winner. Rookie Mitchell Marner added a pair of assists for the Knights in the win.

Keefe credited game plan execution as playing an important role in the game.

“I don’t really care much for (making statements), that’s not really what it’s about for us,” said Keefe. “It was more fun to come in and play our game. We didn’t change anything in terms of how we play. We just emphasized the importance of execution in a lot of different areas where we had to be sharp. We made a few mistakes that ended up in our net. We come out of it knowing that when we play the right way and execute our game, that we can play with anyone.”

Knights goaltender Anthony Stolarz stopped 43 shots in the win.

“We had more than enough quality opportunities,” said Keefe. “Their goaltender played really well. We wanted to apply pressure to their defence and we wanted to get a lot of pucks to the net and really challenge them. I’m not sure how much (London) gets challenged that way. We wanted to make it uncomfortable for them and we did, especially late in the game where we had a flurry of opportunities late and more than enough chances to tie the game.”

David Miller and Jared McCann scored for the Greyhounds in the loss while Sergey Tolchinsky set up both goals. Goaltender Matt Murray stopped 33 shots.

“We didn’t make things very easy on them,” said Keefe. “There’s not a lot to be upset with. Our guys played really well and probably well enough to win the game with a little more luck on our side.”

With the loss, the Greyhounds record falls to 19-6-0-3 while the Knights improve to 20-6-1-1and pull to within a point of the Guelph Storm in the Midwest Division. Despite the loss, the Greyhounds remain seven points ahead of Windsor and Saginaw in the West Division. The Spitfires and Spirit were both off on Wednesday night.

Next up for the Greyhounds is a road game in Plymouth against the Whalers on Friday night before finishing the weekend trip on Saturday night in Saginaw.

File photo courtesy SooToday.com photographer Kenneth Armstrong

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