The Soo Greyhounds ran their winning streak on home ice to eight games on Sunday night thanks to a 4-2 win over the London Knights at the Essar Centre.
The Greyhounds scored a pair of goals in the first period to pick up the win in the lone evening game on Sunday’s Ontario Hockey League schedule. The loss was the second straight for the Knights, who dropped a 5-2 decision in Saginaw on Saturday night.
The losses marked the first two-game losing streak for the Knights since dropping three-straight from Oct. 26 to Nov. 1, which was right before the Knights opened their streak of 28 games without a regulation loss that ended in Saginaw.
“This was the biggest challenge we’ve faced since I’ve been here,” said Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe. “Because of that it required the best effort since I’ve been here and the guys delivered. Right from start to finish, they showed that they wanted it.”
Keefe added that the win will be a standard as the season continues.
“This should be the perfect example to show what we’re capable of,” said Keefe. “We’ve played well in the last while but we’ve never had a test like this. The guys should recognize that they believe and they’re buying in and enjoying themselves. We asked them to bottle up and remember the commitment that it took to play in a game like this from the first shift to the last.”
“It should be the beginning of our team really going to the next level,” Keefe added. “It’s one thing to win the type of games we’ve been winning against the teams we’ve been beating. To come out with this type of effort tonight, this is the type of effort you’re going to come back to. This is the standard that we’ll hold (the players) to. We’ve reached another level and this is what we’ll expect every game.”
Colin Miller, Nick Halagian, Jared McCann and Brandon Alderson scored for the Greyhounds in the win. Nick Cousins added three assists in the win. Michael Schumacher set up two goals in the win.
Greyhounds goaltender Matt Murray stopped 26 shots.
“He’s the key,” said Keefe of Murray. “He controlled his rebounds very well tonight. He was calm and he looked like he was enjoying the challenge of having to play against such an offensive team.”
Alex Broadhurst had a goal and an assist in the loss for London. Ryan Rupert also scored. Goaltender Jake Patterson, a Sault Ste. Marie native, stopped 24 shots.
“It just comes down to being prepared,” said Knights assistant coach Jeff Paul, who handled questions from the media for coach Dale Hunter. “We’ve been on quite a ride lately and we’re getting into the dog days of the season. We’ve got to analyze things again and just get back to work.”
Keefe was also pleased with the discipline of the Greyhounds in a game that featured two teams that have built up a rivalry in recent seasons.
“We talked about (the discipline) before the game,” said Keefe. “We were here for a reason tonight. We wanted to win the hockey game and we didn’t want to be thrown off track for anything. You want to remain composed and there was nothing that could have happened in the game tonight that would change what we wanted to do. (London) is so good that we can’t afford to get side-tracked.”
Next up for the Greyhounds is three games on the road. The team travels to Saginaw on Jan. 18 and Plymouth the following night. Jan. 23 will see the Greyhounds travel to Sudbury to take on the Wolves.
Photo courtesy Jim Egan
In Brampton, Blake Clarke’s goal at 4:38 of the third period held up as the winner as the Brampton Battalion beat the Sudbury Wolves 2-1. Dylan Blujus had a pair of assists for Brampton. Matt Schmalz scored the lone goal for Sudbury.
In Guelph, Jason Dickinson had a goal and an assist as the Guelph Storm beat the Kingston Frontenacs 4-1. Saverio Posa and Tanner Richard had two assists each in the win. Ryan Kujawinski scored the lone goal for Kingston.
In Kitchener, Derek Schoenmakers and Justin Bailey had a goal and an assist as the Kitchener Rangers beat the Niagara IceDogs 5-3. Curtis Meighan and Jared Gilbert added two assists each for Kitchener. Niagara goaltender Brent Moran stopped 40 shots in the loss.
In Oshawa, Jaroslav Pavelka stopped 29 shots as the Windsor Spitfires beat the Oshawa Generals 3-1. Kerby Rychel and Alexander Khokhlachev had a goal and an assist each in the win. Scott Sabourin scored the lone goal for Oshawa.