There was little doubt in the dressing room that they would bounce back.
After a tough shootout loss to the Windsor Spitfires on Thursday night, the Soo Greyhounds opened up a 3-0 lead that propelled the team to a 4-2 Ontario Hockey League win over the Guelph Storm on Friday night at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph.
The Greyhounds rode a pair of power play goals and a strong performance from goaltender Tucker Tynan to the win.
“The strength of our group is our character,” said Greyhounds coach John Dean. “I wasn’t worried for a second. I knew we would come out and play a good, hard game.”
Overage forward Tye Kartye feels the team has a higher level.
“We played a good game, but we still have a little more to give,” Kartye said. “We came out and got the lead early. The big thing was we shut it down, which we didn’t do (against Windsor). That was a good lesson to build on.”
Overage forward Cole MacKay said the best part of the game for the Greyhounds was “we stuck to what we’re good at.”
“That’s playing fast,” MacKay added. “We know we have success against (Guelph) when we play fast. We executed that well. Tucker was amazing tonight and that always helps. From D up to forward we were playing our game and playing fast.”
Dean said special teams was a big factor in the game.
“Special teams was really the difference ultimately,” Dean said. “The penalty kill has a good night again. The power play has a really good night again. Five-on-five was pretty even for the most part. (Guelph) might have out-chanced us five-on-five, especially in the third, but I still liked our grit, our determination, and the effort from our guys.”
Guelph coach George Burnett said the Storm lacked pace in the loss.
“I think our lack of pace and our lack of overall energy showed tonight,” Burnett said in an interview with GuelphToday.
“We had some opportunities tonight,” Burnett also said. “If we get one when it’s 1-0, maybe that changes the game a little bit.”
The Greyhounds opened the scoring late in the first period thanks to a power play goal from Kartye.
With 17 seconds to go in the period, Kartye took a short pass from Rory Kerins along the right wing boards, moved toward the slot and beat Storm goaltender Jacob Oster stick side. The goal came just 12 seconds into the power play.
Kartye called the goal “huge.”
“It kind of got us going,” Kartye said. “It was a really nice retrieval from both Cole and Rory. It was a really good play overall. It kickstarted the game for us.”
Overage defenceman Robert Calisti extended the league in the second period when he one-timed a pass from the top of the left faceoff circle that handcuffed Oster glove side 4:36 into the middle frame.
Kartye made it 3-0 late in the third when he finished off a give-and-go with Kerins on the power play.
After leaving the puck with Kerins high in the Guelph zone before taking a pass in behind the Guelph defencemen and sliding a backhand past Oster with 1:46 to go in the period.
The Storm got on the board in the third period when a point shot by Cam Allen found its way through traffic and past Tucker Tynan in the Sault goal at 12:58.
The goal came shortly after a faceoff in which the Greyhounds had just four players on the ice despite not being shorthanded.
Dean said it was a “coaching error there with only having four guys on the ice and not recognizing it before the faceoff.”
MacKay capped off the Greyhounds scoring with a shorthanded empty net goal late.
On a scramble in the slot late, Storm forward Valentin Zhugin was the last to touch a bouncing puck that found its way past Tynan with eight seconds to go in the contest.
Tynan was strong for the Greyhounds throughout, stopping 39 shots in the win. The veteran netminder made 17 saves in the third period.
Tynan said that he “just tried to focus on the things I do best” in the win.
The veteran netminder also said the busier third period was a time in which he wanted to bear down.
“Going into the third period when you have any lead, it’s up to you at that point and you have to bear down and make saves,” Tynan said of his play in the third period.
“Tucker, outside of special teams, was probably the difference in the game,” Dean said. “He played exceptionally well.”
MacKay finished the night with three points, assisting on a pair of goals in addition to scoring in the win.
Oster made 26 saves for the Storm in the loss.
The Greyhounds improve to 21-12-2-1 with Friday’s victory. The team sits five points ahead of the Windsor Spitfires atop the OHL’s West Division. The Spitfires were also in action on Friday dropping a 4-2 decision in Kitchener against the Rangers.
The Storm fall to 18-9-2-1 with the loss and fall two points behind the London Knights for top spot in the Midwest Division. The Storm and Knights entered action on Friday night tied atpo the division with the Knights pulling ahead thanks to a win in Erie.
Next up for the Greyhounds is a three-game homestand that is scheduled to begin Wednesday night.
The team will host the Saginaw Spirit on Wednesday before facing the Flint Firebirds and Barrie Colts on Friday and Saturday nights.
Puck drop at the GFL Memorial gardens for all three games is set for 7:07 p.m.