Coming off a strong effort on Sunday afternoon, a dominant second period helped the team win its second straight game on Tuesday night.
A pair of goals in a period that saw the team outshoot the Sudbury Wolves 28-9 helped the Greyhounds to a 6-1 Ontario Hockey League victory at Sudbury Community Arena.
It was the second win for the Greyhounds over the Wolves in three days after the team picked up a 4-2 win on Sunday afternoon, also in Sudbury.
“In the second period, we were really dominant,” rookie forward Bryce McConnell-Barker said of Tuesday’s game. “We stuck to our systems and our structure and had success.”
“When things are going well, we have a really good team and we can generate a lot of offence when we stick to the structure,” McConnell-Barker also said. “It shows that if we can do that for three periods, we have a good chance of winning every game.”
Greyhounds coach John Dean called it “one of our better second periods in a while.”
“Our first period was pretty ordinary and the way they flipped the switch in the second and started to play the right way, structured, they just did a lot of things right,” Dean added.
Dean said the message following the first period was a reminder for the players about structure and competing.
“They need to make the decision on their own now,” Dean said. “If I need to continue to come into the room and talk about structure and compete and what those things look like, then we don’t have much of a chance. It needs to be taken care of by them. We reaffirmed that message.”
Veteran forward Tanner Dickinson said the difference in the second period was “we were just being more responsible.”
“We weren’t getting caught up the ice and we weren’t playing back and forth,” Dickinson added. “We were staying on the defensive side of the puck and when it was our turn to go, then we got the puck up the ice and went.”
The Greyhounds got on the board first at 7:26 of the opening period as Tanner Dickinson potted a rebound from the slot high stick side after Sudbury goaltender Mitchell Weeks made the initial save on Tyler Savard from in tight on the play.
The goal came just 12 seconds after the Greyhounds killed off a penalty to overage blueliner Robert Calisti.
The visitors took a 2-0 lead at 18:51 when Tye Kartye capped off a three-way passing play from the slot, beating Weeks glove side from the slot on the power play.
Sudbury cut the Greyhounds lead to 2-1 just 18 seconds later as Liam Ross scored on a rebound after Sault goaltender Samuel Ivanov stopped Nolan Collins initially on the play.
The Greyhounds extended the lead to 3-1 midway through the second period as Ethan Montroy scored on a rebound after McConnell-Barker’s initial shot was stopped.
Kalvyn Watson made it 4-1 Greyhounds at 12:48 of the second period when he took a pass in the slot from Tye Kartye and beat Weeks.
Rookie forward Tyler Savard made it 5-1 Greyhounds at 2:29 of the third period when he beat Weeks from the slot on the power play when his shot hit something on its way to the net and got past Weeks.
Caeden Carlisle made it 6-1 Greyhounds when he beat Weeks with a shot from the left side of the slot at 6:37, ending the night for Weeks.
Carlisle, Kartye, Savard, and Dickinson had two-point nights with a goal and an assist each for the Greyhounds. McConnell-Barker, Jacob Holmes, and Justin Cloutier assisted on a pair of goals each for the visitors.
With six different players scoring goals and seven players picking up at least two points, the spreading out of scoring in the game was not lost on Dean as well.
“These are exciting games for us that way because we have a belief in our players, but confidence is built from within and it’s personal,” Dean said.
“I feel like our young guys since they got back from Christmas, it almost feels like they’re starting their second season and are a little more mature and polished.”
“That’s big for our team,” McConnell-Barker said of the offence being spread out. “We’ve got our big guys and they put the puck in the net a lot, but it’s also crucial to have our secondary guys stepping up and putting the puck in the net and making good plays and getting some points.”
Weeks stopped 31 of 37 Greyhounds shots before being pulled. Lemaire stopped all four shots he faced the rest of the way.
Ivanov, who last saw action on Dec. 5 in a win over Saginaw, made 27 saves for the Greyhounds.
“I was really impressed with Sammy,” Dean said. “In the first period, he was really good for us.”
“In the third, when the lead got extended, we hung him out to dry for about five or six minutes there and he made four or five big saves,” Dean added. “He was really solid for us. He handled it like a pro. Calm, cool, and collected.”
With the win, the Greyhounds improve to 18-10-2-0 and, with 38 points, sit atop the OHL’s West Division, six points ahead of the Windsor Spitfires, who have three games in hand.
The loss drops Sudbury’s record to 8-16-2-0 and the team sits two points behind the Peterborough Petes for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
On the roster front, Dean said following Tuesday’s game that veteran defenceman Ryan O’Rourke will be back in the lineup this weekend for the first time since his return from the World Junior Hockey Championship.
The Greyhounds are scheduled to return to action on Friday night at home in the first game of a two-game weekend set against the Windsor Spitfires. Puck drop at the GFL Memorial Gardens is set for 7:07 p.m.