What was a manageable result through 20 minutes turned into a long day for the Soo Greyhounds.
Coming out of the opening period tied at three, the Greyhounds surrendered seven of the next eight goals in a 10-4 loss to the Windsor Spitfires at the GFL Memorial Gardens on Sunday afternoon in Ontario Hockey League action.
Greyhounds coach John Dean called the loss “embarrassing.”
“That’s pretty disappointing,” Dean also said. “That’s for first place and against a team that handled us pretty well by the end of yesterday’s game. You would like to see a real good response today and to watch a division rival put up 10 is very disappointing.”
Veteran defenceman Jacob Holmes echoed the thoughts from Dean.
“(Embarrassed) is a bit of an understatement,” Holmes said.
For the Spitfires, a strong start to the second period helped the team pull away following what they felt was a difficult start to the game for the visitors.
“We weren’t really happy with our start,” said Windsor coach Marc Savard. “We went in (after the first period) and settled the guys down. We were a little louder than normal. We got back to our game plan and stuck with it.”
Thanks to a pair of weekend wins over the Greyhounds, the Spitfires improve to 16-9-2-2 and pull to within two points of the Greyhounds for top spot in the OHL’s West Division.
“It shows you the character we have in that room,” Savard said of sweeping the two games against the Greyhounds. “The thing I was most proud about was not the 10 goals (Sunday), but the way we played all night. We never changed a thing. We didn’t cheat. We played the right way. That was the best thing about our game tonight.”
Dean said that, for the Greyhounds, the game is one that the team won’t forget about.
“We’ll probably scrap the video, but we won’t forget about how embarrassing that was and our lack of response,” Dean said. “We’ll challenge the group and challenge each other. There has to be guys in that room that are unhappy with other guys. You have to look to your left and right and trust that the guy beside you is going to work his butt off every night and when you lose that trust, it can cause trouble. The boys are going to have to challenge each other this week.”
“We’ve been working all year for this and we’ve been playing some great hockey of late,” Savard said. “It’s a confidence-builder, but we’ve been keeping an even keel all year. The nice thing about our team is early in the year, there was some adversity. We couldn’t get a win when we outplayed some teams. That’s a credit to the locker room for sticking with it.”
The Greyhounds opened the scoring in the game when Cole MacKay tucked in a chance at the side of the Windsor goal past Spitfires starter Matt Onuska on the power play, 55 seconds into the contest.
Windsor tied the game at 6:29 when Wyatt Johnston skated down the right wing and sent the puck to the net from the bottom of the right, beating Sault starter Tucker Tynan.
The Spitfires would take a 2-1 lead when Will Cuylle scored on a scramble in tight at 8:09 of the opening frame.
Greyhounds rookie forward Marco Mignosa tied the game at 10:55 when he deflected a point shot by defenceman Jacob Holmes past Oksuna.
Windsor took a 3-2 lead when James Jodoin went to the net and redirected a pass from Avval Baisov past Tynan at 14:47. The goal came off a rush following a Greyhounds turnover at the Windsor blueline.
The Greyhounds tied the game 47 seconds later when Rory Kerins beat Onuska from the right faceoff circle, ending the day for the Spitfires netminder, who was replaced by Xavier Medina.
Windsor took the lead for good in the second thanks to a stretch of 1:08 that saw the team score three times,
Veteran defenceman Michael Renwick gave the Spitfires the lead at 5:01 when he beat Tynan with a point shot.
Ethan Miedema made it 5-3 when he potted a rebound off the end boards from a sharp angle past Tynan at 5:44. The goal was the end of the afternoon for Tynan as Samuel Ivanov entered the game for the home side.
Ryan Abraham extended the lead to 6-3 when he beat Ivanov with a backhand on a breakaway at 6:09.
Windsor’s top line made it 7-3 early in the third when Matthew Maggio beat Ivanov from the right faceoff circle, high stick side at 2:48.
Baisov made it 8-3 Windsor at 9:17, beating Ivanov with a shot from the slot.
Miedema got his second goal of the afternoon 1:19 later.
Mignosa got his second of the day at 17:01 when he went to the net and redirected a pass from Bryce McConnell-Barker, and Cuylle capped off the scoring for Windsor at 18:37, when he redirected a pass past Ivanov.
Windsor’s top line of Maggio, Johnston, and Cuylle finished the night combining for 12 points in the win.
Maggio and Johnston had a goal and three assists each for Windsor, while Cuylle had two goals and two assists.
“They’ve been good all year,” Savard said. “I’ve rode them pretty hard, and they’ve been really good for us.”
“I can’t say enough about them,” Savard added. “They bring it every night. When I put those three on the ice, I can almost go sit in the room because I know nothing bad is going to happen. That’s a pretty comfortable feeling for a coach.”
Defenceman Louka Henault assisted on three goals for Windsor.
Onuska stopped eight of 11 shots for the Spitfires before being pulled, while Medina stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced the rest of the way.
“We felt bad for him (Onuska). We let the boys know. (The Greyhounds) came hard and he took a little bit of heat there,” Savard said. “X has been really good lately and the guys have a lot of confidence in him moving forward. He made some key saves all weekend when we needed him to.”
Tynan surrendered five goals on 15 shots before making way for Ivanov, who stopped 16 shots in relief.
“They both want that night back,” Dean said of the goaltending. “They’ve been pretty good for us so sometimes we have to bail them out too.”
With the loss, the Greyhounds record falls to 18-12-2-0.
The team returns to action next weekend with a pair of games at home against the Owen Sound Attack.