There are few tougher ways for your season to end.
Facing the daunting task of trailing the Erie Otters 3-0 in their Western Conference semi-final series, the Soo Greyhounds dropped a 3-2 decision in overtime on Tuesday night in Erie, ending the season for the West Division champions.
The Otters battled back from a two-goal deficit in the win, setting the stage for Joel Wigle to score at 7:22 of overtime to give the Otters the series-clinching win.
“I was proud of the effort of our guys tonight,” said Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe. “It’s a very tough game to play in. Given the circumstances and the hole we were in coming into the game and being on the road, our players could have mailed this one in and no one would have faulted them for it. We came out swinging and gave them all they could handle.”
The Greyhounds had a pair of lengthy 5-on-3 power plays but struggled on both and couldn’t capitalize.
“On five-on-three’s we were abysmal in both games (in Erie),” said Keefe. “It was really frustrating to watch. They were lost opportunities from our standpoint to take control of the game (on Tuesday). It’s a by-product of some of the frustration we had five-on-five. We just couldn’t get it done.”
With the sweep, it marks the first time the Greyhounds lost four straight games this season. The team lost three in a row three times during the regular season.
“Our guys stood in there and went toe-to-toe and fought hard to bring the series back to Sault Ste. Marie,” said Keefe. “Obviously it wasn’t enough to get it done, but it wasn’t a lack of effort.”
Sergey Tolchinsky had a goal and an assist for the Greyhounds while Darnell Nurse had the other Greyhounds goal. Overage forward Patrick Watling assisted on both goals in the loss while goaltender Matt Murray stopped 35 shots.
“He was just excellent tonight,” said Keefe. “Some of the saves he made early in the hockey game just gave our guys confidence. As desperate as we were and as hungry as we were and as hard as we worked, we were still playing an excellent hockey team that has some world-class players on the roster. He was great tonight and he should be proud of his season.”
Andre Burakovsky had a goal and an assist in the win for Erie. Wilge and Connor Brown had the other goals while Kurtis MacDermid and Brendan Gaunce had two assists each in the win. Goaltender Devin Williams, who had his shutout streak in the series ended at 129:35, stopped 31 Greyhounds shots.
In other action around the league on Tuesday night, Phil Baltisberger and Robby Fabbri had two goals each in London as the Guelph Storm doubled up the London Knights 4-2. Kerby Rychel set up three goals for the Storm while Justin Nichols made 39 saves. Jake Patterson made 47 saves for the Knights. Bo Horvat and Chris Tierney scored for London. The Storm now lead the series 2-1.
In Peterborough, the Oshawa Generals took a 3-0 series lead over the Peterborough Petes with a 3-1 win. Cole Cassels scored twice for the Generals in the win while Colin Suellentrop set up two goals. Aidan Wallace had the other goal for the Generals. Goaltender Daniel Altshuller stopped 36 shots. Greg Betzold had the lone goal for the Petes in the loss.
In Barrie, Zach Hall’s shorthanded goal at 8:03 of the second period held up as the winner as the Barrie Colts beat the North Bay Battalion 2-1. Jake Dotchin had the other goal for the Colts in the win Alex Henriksson scored the lone goal for North Bay, who leads the series 2-1.
To see the video on Local2 click here.
Photos special to SooToday.com by Jack Hanrahan/Erie Times