When you’ve won 12-straight games and 21 of 26 to start the season, not all of them are necessarily going to be pretty.
For the Soo Greyhounds, that was the case on Thursday night.
A pair of goals in the third period were the difference as the Greyhounds opened up a three-game Ontario Hockey League road trip with a 7-5 victory over the Peterborough Petes at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.
Morgan Frost scored the game-winner with just under six minutes to go in regulation time and Barrett Hayton sealed the win with an empty net goal with 1:04 to go in a game that the Greyhounds will happily take the two points from.
“At the end of the day, it’s two points on the road,” said Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister. “And it’s two points against a good hockey team.”
“We were pretty sloppy defensively but anytime you’re this hot, you find ways to win games,” said Greyhounds defenceman Conor Timmins, who scored a pair of goals.
Frost had a goal and three assists for the Greyhounds, who have scored 23 goals in their last three games and 65 goals during the winning streak.
“Our offence is definitely clicking and that’s nice to see,” Frost said.
Jack Kopacka chipped in with a goal and two assists while Ryan Roth also scored a pair of goals each.
Defencemen Rasmus Sandin and Mac Hollowell assisted on a pair of goals each for the Greyhounds, who improve to 21-3-2-0 and take over top spot in the OHL’s Western Conference, one point ahead of the Sarnia Sting.
Greyhounds goaltender Matthew Villalta made 27 saves.
“Both goalies probably weren’t at their best,” Bannister said. “There were probably some goals he would like to have back and there were some goals that were bad bounces.”
Bannister credited Villalta for a key save late in the game moments before Hayton’s empty-net goal.
“At the end of the day, he makes that big save and that’s what you want him to do to preserve that big win,” Bannister said.
At the other end, Peterborough’s Dylan Wells made 43 saves.
Nikita Korostelev, Jonathan Ang, and Cole Fraser had a goal and an assist for the Petes, who fall to 14-13-0-1.
Logan DeNoble and Zach Gallant had the other Peterborough goals. Semyon Der-Arguchintsev assisted on a pair of Petes goals.
Bannister would say that the Greyhounds had a tough time adjusting to the boards at Peterborough Memorial Arena, which make things more difficult in the defensive zone.
“It’s a difficult rink to play in,” Bannister said. “The boards are pretty lively and plays into the hands of the home team. Our D had a difficult time reading the bounces and it led to a little more chaos than we usually have. At the end of the day we weren’t as sharp as we’d like to be but that certainly didn’t help things.”
The Greyhounds return to action as the road trip continues on Friday night in Kingston against the Frontenacs. The trip wraps up on Sunday afternoon in Ottawa against the 67’s.
In other action around the league on Thursday, in St. Catharines, four goals in the second period helped the Niagara IceDogs to a 5-2 win over the Erie Otters. Bradey Johnson scored a pair of goals while Ben Jones picked up three assists.
In Saginaw, the Hamilton Bulldogs scored three times in the third period to come from behind and beat the Saginaw Spirit 4-3. The Bulldogs scored four unanswered goals in the win. Marian Studenic scored a pair of goals for Hamilton. Evan Cormier made 38 saves for the Spirit.
In Windsor, Cole Purboo had two goals and three assists as the Windsor Spitfires beat the North Bay Battalion 5-2. Mathew MacDougal added two goals and an assist for Windsor while Sean Day assisted on three goals.
In Barrie, Ben Hawerchuk scored a pair of goals as the Barrie Colts doubled up the Mississauga Steelheads 6-3. Justin Murray and Jason Willms assisted on two Barrie goals each. Nicolas Hague scored twice for Mississauga.