It may only be the first game of the playoffs but the Owen Sound Attack proved they won’t be a pushover for the Soo Greyhounds in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.
The Attack used a pair of third-period goals to force overtime and picked up a 5-4 victory over the Greyhounds in game one of their Western Conference quarter-final series.
Kyle Platzer scored the game-winner 2:40 into the extra frame to give the Attack the series opener.
“He’s got to make the save there,” Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe said of Murray on the play. “He’s a world-class goalie for his age and he knows he needs to make that save. I know he wants a better night.”
For Attack coach Greg Ireland, the win was important but it’s important not to get too high.
“You can’t get too high or too low,” said Attack coach Greg Ireland. “It’s a war of attrition. We’ve talked about playing in the moment all year. It’s one game. Until it’s the deciding game, then it’s for real.”
Following a tough second period, the Greyhounds took a 4-2 lead in the third-period before a pair of goals by Zach Nastasiuk tied the game.
“It was really a frustrating period to watch,” Keefe said of the second period. “We wanted to get a lot of pucks to the net but it seemed like everything we threw there missed. We had a couple of excellent scoring opportunities and we didn’t even hit the net on them. That was a frustrating segment of the game.”
Said Ireland: “We talked about staying the course and staying patient. Those are the things that we’ve worked on all year. There’s nothing special. No magic wands or smoke and mirrors.”
Jared McCann had a pair of goals for the Greyhounds in the loss. Bryan Moore chipped in with a goal and an assist while Jean Dupuy also scored. Tyler Gaudet set up a pair of goals. The veteran forward was forced from the game due to a cut after taking a puck to the face. Gaudet required stitches but is not expected to miss any time. The same goes for overage forward Andrew Fritsch, who was cut on the leg by a skate and missed some time on Friday night.
Murray made 30 saves in the loss.
“Our guys played hard,” said Keefe. “We had a struggle there in the middle part of the game to adjust to just how fast and competitive it was. There was not a lot of space, which was all things we expected in the playoffs. Until you get out there and actually live it and feel it, it’s a challenge.”
Daniel Milne had a goal and two assists in addition to the pair of goals by Nastasiuk and Plaxter’s game-winner. Santino Centorame also scored in the win.
Game two is set for Saturday night at the Essar Centre.
Around the league, six other series’ opened up on Friday night.
In Erie, Dane Fox scored on the power play at 18:18 of the third period to lift the Erie Otters to a 4-3 win over the Saginaw Spirit.
In Kingston, Darcy Greenaway had a goal and an assist as the Kingston Frontenacs beat the Peterborough Petes 4-1.
In Guelph, Brock McGinn had a goal and an assist as the Guelph Storm beat the Plymouth Whalers 5-2.
In London, Gemel Smith had a goal and two assists as the London Knights beat the Windsor Spitfires 6-1.
In North Bay, Jake Smith stopped all 28 shots he faced as the North Bay Battalion blanked the Niagara IceDogs 4-0.
In Oshawa, hunter Smith had a goal and four assists while Daniel Altshuller stopped 21 shots as the Oshawa Generals beat the Mississauga Steelheads 6-0.
On Friday night, Zach Hall’s goal at 16:32 of the second period held up as the winner as the Barrie Colts beat the Sudbury Wolves 3-2.
Photos by Kenneth Armstrong for SooToday.com
For video highlights of game one, click here