On Thursday night, Soo Greyhounds Coach John Dean spoke of the inability to capitalize on early chances in a loss to the Peterborough Petes.
After an early push by the Kingston Frontenacs on Friday night, the Greyhounds would regroup and an opening-period power play goal by Rory Kerins, the first of his Ontario Hockey League career, would help the Greyhounds to a 4-1 victory over Kingston at the Leon’s Centre.
“Our first period was the best period of hockey we played all year,” said Greyhounds Coach John Dean.
“(The Kerins goal) was big on two fronts,” Dean also said. “It proved to the guys that when you work hard together success is going to come and it gave the special teams a little confidence.”
Rookie goaltender Ethan Taylor, making his first career OHL start, stopped 36 shots for the Greyhounds.
“He was fantastic in the third period,” Dean said. “He’s a very calm personality so the guys feel calm around him, which is a critical characteristic for a goaltender. He was up to the task.”
Taylor, who hails from nearby Trenton, Ont., made a number of key saves early when Kingston took an early 8-3 edge on the shot clock through the opening eight minutes of the contest.
“It made it super special,” Taylor said of picking up the win in front of family and friends close to home. “Just winning the game would have felt unreal but to have friends and family there and seeing them after the game, it’s definitely a good feeling.”
“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve had in hockey,” Taylor said of his first win.
“He’s an unbelievable kid and a great teammate,” Dean said of the freshman netminder. “He’s got the guys respect.”
Taylor spoke of how veteran Matthew Villalta helped him throughout the game.
“I was really nervous (before the game), but Villalta really talked me through playing my game and staying calm,” Taylor said. “Every chance he had, he was talking to me and giving me tips.”
Kerins finished the night with a goal and an assist.
“Kerins is a natural goal scorer,” Dean said. “He’s really good with the puck. He’s a pretty special kid.
“It’s going to take him some time to adjust to the speed of the league but his IQ is something that makes it easy to put him on that first power play unit,” Dean added.
Morgan Frost assisted on a pair of goals.
“Frost is a special player and when he brings energy, the other 19 guys follow suit,” Dean said.
Jordan Sambrook, Ryan O’Rourke, and Mac Hollowell also scored for the Greyhounds.
As a whole, the game was a contrast to the Greyhounds loss in Peterborough on Thursday night.
“We were exiting a lot quicker with nice, quick outlet passes and we were using our speed to get in on their defencemen and forechecking hard,” Hollowell said.
Jason Robertson had the lone goal for the Frontenacs.
Goaltender Brendan Bonello made 32 saves for Kingston.
The Greyhounds improve to 3-2-1-0 while Kingston falls to 2-4-0-0.
The Greyhounds wrap up the weekend road trip on Sunday afternoon in Ottawa against the 67’s.
In other action around the OHL on Friday night, in Erie, Nolan Hutcheson had two goals and two assists as the Sudbury Wolves beat the Erie Otters 4-1. Anthony Tabak set up three goals for Sudbury.
In Hamilton, Allan McShane had two goals and an assist as the Oshawa Generals beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 7-1. Eric Henderson chipped in with a goal and two assists.
In Mississauga, Cole Carter scored at 3:51 of overtime to lift the Mississauga Steelheads to a 5-4 win over the Niagara IceDogs. Carter had a pair of goals while Thomas Harley had a goal and two assists for Mississauga. Akil Thomas set up three goals for Niagara. Kirill Maksimov scored twice for the IceDogs.
In Guelph, Nate Schnarr had a pair of goals, including the game-winner, and assisted on two others as the Guelph Storm beat the Sarnia Sting 6-5. Isaac Ratcliffe also had a pair of goals for Guelph while Ryan Merkley assisted on three goals. Brayden Guy scored twice for Sarnia.
In Kitchener, Albert Michnac scored at 3:19 of overtime to give the Saginaw Spirit a 4-3 win over the Kitchener Rangers. Cole Coskey had a goal and two assists for Saginaw. Goaltender Luke Richardson made 39 saves for Kitchener.
In London, four unanswered goals in the third period lifted the London Knight to a 4-1 win over the Owen Sound Attack. Liam Foudy scored twice for London while goaltender Jordan Kooy stopped 42 shots.