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Confident Greyhounds come through in clutch situation

The Soo Greyhounds road trip continued on Friday night with what the team feels was one of the best games of the season
File photo. Soo Greyhounds defenceman Conor Timmins. Jeff Klassen/SooToday

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Even though it wound up going to overtime, the Soo Greyhounds were confident they were playing well enough that they would come out with a win to extend their winning streak to 13 games.

Conor Timmins scored 17 seconds into an overtime power play to give the Greyhounds a 3-2 win over the Kingston Frontenacs at the K-Rock Centre in Kingston on Friday night.

Timmins would take a feed from Barrett Hayton and beat Kingston goaltender Jeremy Helvig high stick side from the high slot to give the Greyhounds the victory.

“I had a pretty good lane to the net because the defencemen parted ways, so I just wanted to get off a good shot,” Timmins said. 

After Hayton was hit with a penalty in the final minute of the third period, the trio of Timmins, Tim Gettinger and Hayden Verbeek killed off much of the Frontenacs power play time that carried over into the extra frame, setting the stage for a power play of their own and the eventual game-winner by Timmins.

“They were in the shooting lanes and they were able to get their sticks on pucks and break up plays,” Bannister said of the penalty kill in overtime. “It wasn’t scrambly. They did a good job of not getting themselves out of position.”

The Greyhounds played the game minus three key veterans in forwards Boris Katchouk and Morgan Frost along with overage blueliner Noah Carroll. The trio missed the game due to breaking a team rule, but Bannister said all three will be back in the Greyhounds lineup for Sunday afternoon’s road trip finale against the Ottawa 67’s.

Timmins said that the Greyhounds depth is “the strongest part of our team.”

“Everyone really stepped up tonight,” Timmins said.

Goaltender Matthew Villalta made 22 saves for the Greyhounds.

“He was really dialed in,” Bannister said. “He was really good.”

Earlier in the day, Villalta was honoured by the OHL on Friday as he was named the league’s goaltender of the month for November.

The sophomore netminder posted a perfect 9-0-0-0 record and a 2.22 goals against average to go along with a .907 save percentage in nine appearances in the month. 

Bannister said he plans to go with Tyler Johnson in goal on Sunday.

Timmins finished the night with a goal and an assist while Hayton set up a pair of goals. Cole MacKay and Keeghan Howdeshell also scored for the Greyhounds.

“We came out really hard and dominated for most of the game,” Bannister said. “That’s one of the better games we’ve played. We played outstanding. The energy we had and the way we competed, it was good to see.”

The win moves the Greyhounds three points ahead of the Sarnia Sting in the OHL’s West Division after the Sting dropped a 3-2 decision on home ice against North Bay on Friday. The Greyhounds record improves to 22-3-2-0.

Kingston, in a battle with the Hamilton Bulldogs for top spot in the East Division, falls to 14-7-3-3.

Helvig finished the night with 37 saves for Kingston, which included 19 in the opening period.

“If it wasn’t for Helvig in the first period, that game could have got out of hand really early,” Bannister said of the overage netminder. “In the first period, he had to make some saves in tight against some really good shooters.”

Nathan Dunkley and Linus Nyman had a goal and an assist each for Kingston. Jason Robertson assisted on both Frontenacs goals.

In other action around the OHL on Friday night, in Flint, Hunter Holmes scored at 1:38 of overtime to give the Flint Firebirds a 4-3 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs. Kyle Harris had a pair of goals for Flint. Former Firebird Ryan Moore had a goal and an assist for the Bulldogs.

In Sarnia, Brett McKenzie’s goal at 10:43 of the third period was the game-winner as the North Bay Battalion beat the Sarnia Sting 3-2. Luke Burghardt had a goal and an assist for the Battalion. Ryan McGregor had a goal and an assist for Sarnia. 

In Sudbury, MacAuley Carson had two goals and an assist as the Sudbury Wolves beat the Mississauga Steelheads 6-3. Dmitry Sokolov also had two goals and an assist for the Wolves.

In Guelph, Cedric Ralph scored 20 seconds into overtime to give the Guelph Storm a 5-4 win over the Erie Otters. Ralph had a pair of goals while Storm netminder Anthony Popovich stopped 34 shots.

In Kitchener, Kole Sherwood scored at 1:25 of overtime as the Kitchener Rangers beat the Owen Sound Attack 5-4. Sherwood had a pair of goals while Joseph Garreffa assisted on four goals for the Rangers. Maksim Sushko score twice while Aidan Dudas and Sean Durzi assisted on three goals each for Owen Sound.

In London, Jack Studnicka had two goals and two assists as the Oshawa Generals beat the London Knights 5-3. Evan Bouchard and Robert Thomas had a goal and an assist each for London.