A pair of power play goals spoiled the opening of a new year for the Soo Greyhounds.
The Greyhounds dropped their first game of 2014, losing a 3-2 decision in a shootout to the Plymouth Whalers on Thursday afternoon in Plymouth.
The Whalers used a power play goal while up two men in the second period to tie the game at one and scored in the final minute of regulation time while on the power play and with goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic on the bench for an extra attacker to tie the game at two and force overtime, which ultimately led to the shootout.
“We felt five-on-five we were well in control and did a lot of things that we wanted to do,” said Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe. “We didn’t give up much and generated more than enough scoring opportunities. The issue was that we didn’t capitalize and extend our lead. Because of that, it allowed (Plymouth) to hang around, score a goal five-on-three and six-on-four to tie the hockey game. It’s one of those games where we weren’t extending our lead and you could tell special teams perhaps would give them an opportunity to screw everything up and that’s how it sorted out.”
The Whalers finished the night 2-for-4 on the power play in the win while the Greyhounds scored once in five man advantages.
Keefe noted that, despite the two power play goals, the Greyhounds penalty kill while down a single man got the job done for the most part.
“Special teams were fine,” said Keefe. “In both situations (where Plymouth scored), we were down two men and those are very tough. Our penalty killing when we were down one man, was quite good. We took a few too many penalties today.”
Jordan Addesi scored the eventual game-winner in the sixth round of the shootout. Zach Lorentz and Carter Sandlak had a goal and an assist each for the Whalers in the win. Plymouth goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 32 shots. Connor Chatham and Zach Lorentz also scored in the shootout for the Whalers.
“We didn’t do a good enough job of bearing down on the opportunities that we had, particularly in the third period,” said Keefe. “We didn’t do a good job of generating rebounds or second chance opportunities. That was an issue for us. As much as we generated enough chances to score more than we did, we made things pretty easy for him.”
“You don’t win hockey games when you only score two goals,” Keefe noted, “and that’s the source of us giving up a point today. I was fine with how we played but we just need a little more killer instinct around the net.”
Sergey Tolchinsky and Jared McCann completed the Greyhounds scoring in the loss while goaltender Matt Murray stopped 28 shots. Tolchinsky and Andrew Fritsch scored in the shootout for the Greyhounds.
Shootouts have been very kind to the Whalers of late. Plymouth has now won three of their last four games, all by way of the shootout as they improved their record to 14-21-0-4 with the win.
The loss sees the Greyhounds three game winning streak snapped though they remain undefeated in regulation time in their last seven games with five wins, an overtime loss and Thursday’s shootout loss. Thursday’s game drops the Greyhounds record to 26-8-1-4 on the season.
Next up for the Greyhounds is their second visit of the season to the Sleeman Centre in Guelph where they will take on the Storm on Friday night. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m. The three-game road trip wraps up on Sunday afternoon when they Greyhounds make their lone appearance in Mississauga when they take on the Steelheads in a 2 p.m. start.