They hoped things would carry over after a solid effort and disappointing result on Friday.
Hopeful that the offensive floodgates would open, the Soo Greyhounds scored eight times in a convincing 8-2 win over the Windsor Spitfires at the GFL Memorial Gardens on Saturday night.
Greyhounds coach John Dean said a morning conversation with team captain Bryce McConnell-Barker left him confident heading into Saturday’s rematch with the Spitfires after losing 3-0 to Windsor on Friday night.
“I had a really good conversation with Bryce McConnell-Barker this morning in my office, I like to ask what his thoughts were and where his head’s at with the team,” Dean said. “Me and Mark Duarte, we decided last night we’re going to win tonight.”
Dean also said that the Greyhounds ability to handle Windsor’s forecheck was important.
“I really liked our exits through their forecheck and I loved our forecheck,” Dean said. “We were relentless on their D.”
Dean added that “it was exciting to see our guys execute a gameplan.”
For the players, the game was a confidence-builder as the Ontario Hockey League regular season winds down.
“Mentally, this is a huge win,” said Greyhounds captain Bryce McConnell-Barker. “Windsor is one of the top teams in the league, beating them 8-2 is a big confidence-booster for the rest of this year and leading into next year as well.”
“To beat a team like Windsor is pretty big for us,” added forward Justin Cloutier.
For the Spitfires, fatigue became a factor in Saturday’s setback.
“They capitalized on their opportunities early and we got behind the eight-ball and we had to come back all night and we couldn’t do it,” said Windsor coach Marc Savard.
Savard also said “even though the score was what it was, we battled and tried to keep coming back. We just didn’t have it tonight.”
Brenden Sirizzotti paced the Greyhounds offensively in the win and earned the praise of Dean following the game.
“Brenden Sirizzotti was an absolute monster tonight,” Dean said.
“With the puck, he’s incredible,” Dean also said.
Sirizzotti said the offensive production in the win was a by-product of "the puck just finding my stick."
The Greyhounds opened the scoring when Kirill Kudryavtsev broke into the Windsor zone down the left wing and beat Spitfires starter Mathias Onuska 5-hole on the power play 2:23 into the game.
Off a faceoff win by McConnell-Barker, Kalvyn Watson beat Onuska high stick side with a shot from the left circle 3:13 later.
Jacob Maillet got Windsor on the board as he redirected a pass from Michael Renwick at the left point past Greyhounds goaltender Charlie Schenkel at 17:08.
The Greyhounds took a 3-1 lead as Cloutier scores on a loose puck after Brenden Sirizzotti tries to tuck the puck in past Onuska as he slated behind the net at 3:05.
Sirizzotti made it 4-1 when he scored on a scramble in the slot after Cloutier hit the post from the left circle at 12:41.
Owen Allard capped off the scoring in the periods when he beat Onuska high stick side as he fell to the ice on a breakaway with 1:03 to go in the period.
The Greyhounds took a 6-1 lead on the power play as Sirizzotti redirected a pass from McConnell-Barker past Onuska 1:45 into the third.
Windsor cut into the lead when Rodwin Dionicio beat Schenkel with a shot from the high slot glove side on the power play at 11:01.
Mark Duarte made it a 7-2 game with 2:16 to go in regulation time as he beat Onuska glove side from the right faceoff circle.
Daylen Moses capped off the scoring with a power play goal with 42.1 seconds to go as he beat Onuska short side from the right faceoff circle.
Sirizzotti paced the Greyhounds with five points in the win. The veteran forward had three assists in addition to a pair of goals.
Cloutier and Kudryavtsev chipped in with a goal and an assist each while McConnell-Barker and Andrew Gibson assisted on a pair of goals each.
Schenkel made 33 saves in the win.
Onuska made 44 saves for the Spitfires.
The Greyhounds will wrap up the OHL regular season next weekend with a pair of games at home, beginning on Friday night against the Saginaw Spirit.
With the win, the Greyhounds improve to 19-32-9-6 on the season heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
Windsor falls to 42-17-4-2 with Saturday's loss.