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Greyhounds cap homestand with win over Battalion (video)

Jack Kopacka's power play goal in the second period was the game-winner
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For the Soo Greyhounds, it capped off a homestand that they come away pleased with.

The Greyhounds overcame a slow start to pick up a 3-1 Ontario Hockey League victory over the North Bay Battalion Sunday afternoon at the Essar Centre.

Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister felt his team wasn’t sharp early, but adjusted midway through the opening period in the victory.

“The first 10 minutes, we weren’t really good,” Bannister said. “We didn’t seem to be very sharp and then the second half of the period we started to take over the game and continued that through the second period.”

“In the third, we had a team that had to push, and we sat back a little bit and didn’t really do a lot in the third,” Bannister also said. “There wasn’t really a lot of anything to be excited about in the third on both sides.”

For a team playing its third game of the weekend, the effort was a pleasing one for the Battalion.

“Our compete-level was pretty good,” North Bay Coach Stan Butler said. “Our guys pushed right to the end. When we scored to make it 2-1 (in the third), we were still on the power play and had a chance. Anytime you come into this building, if you have the chance to win in the third period, that’s a good thing.”

Brett Jacklin, Jack Kopacka and Boris Katchouk completed the scoring for the Greyhounds, who improve to 13-3-2-0 with the victory. Jacklin’s goal was the first of his OHL career. Mac Hollowell picked up a pair of assists.

Matthew Villalta made 25 saves for the Greyhounds.

“Matthew was good again,” Bannister said. “He looked composed. He didn’t get a lot of work early but had to make some saves towards the end. It wasn’t anything outstanding, but there was a lot of traffic in front of him, which makes it difficult to find pucks.”

North Bay netminder Julian Sime made 30 saves.

“(Sime) made some outstanding saves,” Bannister said. “They were pretty lucky to be where they were.”

“If you’re going to play against the better teams in the league and have a chance to win, you need good goaltending,” Butler said. “For the most part, our team has played pretty well but our goaltending, with injuries, has been a tad inconsistent. The last few times Julian’s played, he’s put together some good games, which is encouraging.”

Butler would also say that Christian Propp, acquired in a trade with the Owen Sound Attack but was injured shortly after the deal, will likely be out “another two weeks.” The netminder was acquired on Oct. 22 in the deal that sent Brady Lyle to the Attack.

Brett McKenzie had the lone goal for the Battalion in the loss, which drops North Bay’s record to 6-10-2-0, dead last in the 20 team league.

The Greyhounds now prepare for a stretch of four-straight games on the road, beginning on Nov. 10 in Sarnia against the Sting. Meanwhile, the Battalion also return to action on the road on Nov. 10 in Guelph against the Storm.

In other games around the OHL on Sunday, in Hamilton, Nick D’Onofrio made 23 saves as the Hamilton Bulldogs blanked the Windsor Spitfires 2-0. Matthew Strome assisted on both Hamilton goals. 

In Mississauga, a four-goal outburst in the opening period lifted the Mississauga Steelheads to a 9-2 win over the Peterborough Petes. Albert Michnac scored three times while Brendan Harrogate and Jacob Moverare had a goal and two assists each for Mississauga. Stephen Gibson and Merrick Rippon assisted on three goals each for the Steelheads.

In Ottawa, Sasha Chmelevski’s shorthanded goal at 3:39 of the second period was the game-winner as the Ottawa 67’s beat the Sarnia Sting 4-3. Mathieu Foget and Austen Keating had a goal and an assist each for the 67’s while Travis Barron assisted on a pair of goals.