Eyes around the Ontario Hockey League will be on the Soo Greyhounds and Owen Sound Attack on Tuesday night at the Essar Centre.
That’s when the two Western Conference clubs will do battle in game seven of their semifinal playoff series to determine who moves on after the Attack forced the deciding game with a 7-1 victory over the Greyhounds at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre on Sunday night.
It was a disappointing night from start to finish for the Greyhounds.
“We weren’t ready at the drop of the puck,” said Greyhounds captain Tim Gettinger.
“We knew what was at stake. Their season was on the line and they gave it to us the whole game,” Gettinger also said.
“Our compete level wasn’t where it had to be,” added forward Barrett Hayton. “They out-competed us and wanted it more than us.”
With the game tied at one, Owen Sound scored four times in the second period to break the game open.
“At the end of the day, your best players have to lead your team and have to come to play and our best players weren’t our best players in the latter part of that game tonight,” said Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister.
“For whatever reason, in the second period of a tight game, they disappeared,” Bannister also said.
After Hayton opened the scoring with just over five minutes to go in the opening period, the Attack wasted little time evening the score as defenceman Trenton Bourque, who missed game five due to injury, scored his first OHL goal 48 seconds later to tie the game.
“It popped into the middle there and I was just able to tee up on it there,” Bourque told RogersTV Owen Sound. “It was rolling a bit. but it landed in the right spot.”
Alan Lyszczarczyk, Ethan Szypula, Jonah Gadjovich, and Aidan Dudas chipped in with a goal and an assist each for the Attack. Brett McKenzie and Kevin Hancock also scored. Defenceman Sean Durzi assisted on a pair of goals.
Rookie goaltender Mack Guzda, who saw his first action in the series in a relief appearance in game five, stopped 24 shots for Owen Sound.
Matthew Villalta stopped 21 shots before being pulled after Owen Sound’s fourth goal. Tyler Johnson came in and stopped 18 shots.
“Matty got hung out to dry especially in the second period,” Bannister said.
Already playing the game without overage forward Hayden Verbeek due to a concussion, the Greyhounds received word before the game that Keeghan Howdeshell would be forced to sit out the game. Howdeshell was suspended indefinitely after a hit on Attack defenceman Markus Phillips in game five. The hit was deemed a slew foot by the league office despite no penalty being called initially on the play.
Phillips left the game with a leg injury and did not play on Sunday night.
In other action around the OHL on Sunday, the Kitchener Rangers advances to the Western Conference final thanks to a 6-2 win over the Sarnia Sting in Sarnia. Adam Mascherin had two goals and an assist for the Rangers, who win the series in six games. Givani Smith also had a pair of goals.
In the Eastern Conference, the Hamilton Bulldogs and Kingston Frontenacs open up their conference final on Wednesday night in Hamilton.