Jockeying for position in the Ontario Hockey League’s West Division continued on Wednesday night at the Essar Centre as the Soo Greyhounds hosted the Sarnia Sting.
With one-point separating the second-place Sting from the third-place Greyhounds entering action, the Greyhounds blanked the Sting 8-0, moving up in the process and keeping pace with the Plymouth Whalers. The Whalers entered Wednesday night in top spot in the division and remain there after a win over the Saginaw Spirit.
For the Greyhounds, Andrew Fritsch was the offensive catalyst in the win, scoring four times and setting up another goal in the win. Fritsch opened the scoring with a pair of power play goals before the game was six minutes old, tipping in point shots from Ryan Sproul with the Greyhounds up a man.
“He’s a very smart player,” Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe said of Fritsch. “He’s very good around the net. He times it very well. When you look at his goals, on the first one he places his stick in the perfect spot and Sproul finds him and on the second one he has his stick down in the right space and tips one. He’s a very talented player.”
Nick Cousins also had a big night for the Greyhounds setting up four goals in the win. In the process, Cousins re-took the OHL scoring lead over Sarnia’s Charlie Sarault. Cousins now has a three-point edge over Sarault with 88 points (21 goals). London Knights forward Seth Griffith and Plymouth forward Vincent Trocheck are currently tied for third with 82 points each.
Nick Halagian added a pair of goals for the Greyhounds in the win. David Broll chipped in with a goal and an assist while Tyler Gaudet had the other goal. Goaltender Matt Murray stopped 25 shots for the shutout.
“There were a lot of things I was happy with,” said Keefe. “It was just one of those nights where everything just seemed to go our way. We got real good shifts (from everyone). There were no weak links.”
Keefe noted that the Greyhounds adjusted their game plan following the second period with a 6-0 lead.
“We made some adjustments after the second period,” said Keefe. “We pulled our defencemen back because we didn’t want to give up the odd-man stuff. It was a combination of you don’t want to rub it in and you don’t want to develop bad habits.”
For the Sting, JP Anderson got the start in goal, stopping 20 shots before being pulled after the Greyhounds fourth goal. Knick Dawe came in and stopped 21 shots the rest of the way for Sarnia.
“We had no intensity, our coverage was really loose,” said Sting coach Jacques Beaulieu. “We came (to Sault Ste. Marie) early to provide some rest and some good legs and it didn’t work. It is what it is. These are kids. They’re going to have some bad games. You can’t punish them. You just have to show them their mistakes and move on.”
With the win, the Greyhounds record improves to 30-21-2-2 while the Sting fall to 30-22-0-3.
The Greyhounds return to action on home ice on Saturday night when they host the Kingston Frontenacs. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m.
For details from the OHL's other Wednesday night games, click here.
Photo courtesy Jim Egan