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Determination helps Greyhounds sweep Storm

Next up is round two of the OHL playoffs

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As much as they were looking forward to returning home, they wanted to make sure the return wasn’t with a fifth game looming.

After taking a stranglehold on their opening round Ontario Hockey League playoff series on Monday night with an overtime win, the Soo Greyhounds capped off a series sweep of the Guelph Storm on Wednesday night.

The Greyhounds scored four unanswered goals en route to a 5-1 win over the Storm at Guelph’s Sleeman Centre, capping off a four-game sweep of their opponents from the Royal City.

Overage forward Jordan D’Intino said the Greyhounds were on a mission not to let the series get back to Sault Ste. Marie for a fifth game.

“Very determined,” D’Intino said. “This thing wasn’t going to five for sure. The boys wanted it done.”

Forward Julian Fantino said the Greyhounds entered the game “extremely hungry.”

“We wanted to close it out tonight,” Fantino added. “Elimination games like that, you want to take full advantage.”

Greyhounds coach John Dean credited Guelph with not making like easy for his team, even in a sweep.

“They really pushed and competed,” Dean said.

“They prepared us for the next round with how hard they played us,” Dean added.

“The game was a little bit back and forth,” Dean said of Wednesday’s victory. “We didn’t have a ton of zone time. They pushed us pretty hard in the second period again, but I just loved the way we stuck to our structure.”

Fantino added that he felt the Greyhounds were solid throughout in the win and there wasn’t a part of the Greyhounds effort he didn’t like in the win.

“All four lines were buzzing,” Fantino said. “It was just an all-around, complete effort.”

Guelph coach Chad Wiseman credited the Greyhounds following the game four loss.

“That’s a great team over there,” Wiseman said in an interview with GuelphToday. “They’re well-coached, they play with pace, they’re deep on offence, they’ve got a defence that can exit. It’s a good hockey team.”

Dean said what stood out most for him in the series was the sacrifices players were willing to make.

“The willingness of our guys to sacrifice their body for the group was exceptional,” Dean said. “Guys blocking shots, tracking back.”

Dean added that a consistent message from assistant coach Tyler Ertel played a role in helping the team recover from mistakes over the course of games.

“That was part of the reason for our series sweep is the resiliency and our ability to recover from a mistake and not dwelling on it,” Dean said.

“You’re going to break down over the course of a playoff series, but we’ve been talking about how you react and how you can bounce back,” D’Intino added. “Guys will make mistakes, but it’s getting in shot lanes. Guys are sprawling out like they’re playing goalie just says a lot about this group. I can’t say enough. I’m so proud of every guy.”

The Greyhounds opened the scoring with just over five minutes to go in the opening period thanks to a goal off the stick of rookie forward Brady Martin.

Martin skated into the slot from the left wing and beat Guelph goaltender Brayden Gillespie high stick side at 14:49.

With the Storm on the power play to start the second period, the home team tied the game at one as Michael Buchinger beat Greyhounds goaltender Charlie Schenkel from the slot after a shot by Charlie Paquette from the left side of the net missed the goal and banked off the end boards to Buchinger. The goal, which came just 23 seconds into the period, came after a point shot by Buchinger was initially stopped by Schenkel.

The Greyhounds then took the lead for good at 8:56 as Gavin Hayes skated into the right faceoff circle and took a cross-ice pass from Bryce McConnell-Barker before beating Gillespie.

D’Intino added to the lead with 3:42 to go in the period as he beat Gillespie on a breakaway with a backhand high glove side to make it a 3-1 game heading into the third period.

D’Intino made it 4-1 Greyhounds at 8:30 of the third when he went to the net and redirected a pass from Fantino past Gillespie.

The Greyhounds sealed the win with 3:26 to go in regulation time thanks to an empty net goal by Owen Allard.

D’Intino paced the Greyhounds offensively with two goals and an assist for the Greyhounds in the victory.

Fantino added a pair of assists for the Greyhounds.

Schenkel made 26 saves in the victory.

Dean credited the veteran goaltender for rebounding after being pulled in game three.

“We didn’t think he was poor in the last game. A couple of bad bounces, but for him, that’s got to be nerve wracking for a goalie,” Dean said. “We forget that this is his first playoff series as well. He closed up real big tonight and allowed us to settle down in front of him and eventually get him the win.”

Gillespie stopped 17 shots in the loss for the Storm.

While their opponent for the second round of the playoffs isn’t official, the status of the other Western Conference playoff series’ is leading to a potential matchup with the Saginaw Spirit for the Greyhounds in round two.

The Spirit, seeded second in the conference after winning the West Division title, skated to a 5-1 win over the Owen Sound Attack in Owen Sound on Wednesday to cap off a four-game sweep as well.

The other two series in the Western Conference were set to resume on Thursday night as the top-seeded London Knights are in Flint to take on the Firebirds in game four of that series with the Knights leading the series 3-0.

The series sees the fourth-seeded Kitchener Rangers facing the fifth-seeded Erie Otters. The Rangers lead the series by a 2-1 margin heading into game four in Erie.

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Brad Coccimiglio

About the Author: Brad Coccimiglio

A graduate of Loyalist College’s Sports Journalism program, Brad Coccimiglio’s work has appeared in The Hockey News as well as online at in addition to regular freelance work with SooToday before joining the team full time.
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