Mistakes at key times can be a killer for any hockey team.
Needing a solid start, mistakes would lead to the Greyhounds falling behind 3-0 through one period in a 4-3 loss to the Owen Sound Attack on Friday night in Ontario Hockey League playoff action. The loss is the Greyhounds third consecutive as the team now heads into game six trailing its Western Conference semifinal series 3-2.
“Our start wasn’t very good,” said Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister. “We made three uncharacteristic plays that wound up costing us goals in those situations.”
“We were opportunists in the first period,” said Owen Sound Coach Ryan McGill. “We played structurally pretty well and we took advantage of a few moments where we had the opportunity to put some pucks to the net.”
The Greyhounds would manage to rebound over the final 40 minutes to make the game close, outshooting the Attack by a 30-21 margin.
“Obviously from what we saw in the second and third periods, there’s no question who the better team was (in the final 40 minutes),” Bannister said.
An unfortunate bounce would be the only goal for Owen Sound over the final two periods.
Petrus Palmu had the winning goal for the Attack as his shot from above the top of the left faceoff circle in the Greyhounds zone was going wide of the Greyhounds goal before it hit Hayden Verbeek in the slot with 2:26 to go.
“Good things happen when you put pucks to the net,” McGill said. “And good things happen when you have traffic there.”
Bannister was pleased with the Greyhounds ability to match the physical game played by the Attack in game five.
“They played hard and we matched that,” Bannister said.
Jack Kopacka had a goal and an assist to pace the Greyhounds offensively. Boris Katchouk and Zach Senyshyn also scored. Defenceman Conor Timmins assisted on a pair of goals.
Katchouk was stopped on a penalty shot late in the first period as well after being taken down on a breakaway.
“If you take away that first period, the guys played well,” Bannister said. “It’s a disappointing way to start and with the lead that we gave up. Against good teams (like Owen Sound), if you put yourself in a hole like that, it’s tough.”
Goaltender Joseph Raaymakers made 30 saves for the Greyhounds.
“He was good,” Bannister said. “On the first three goals, you couldn’t fault him. They were breakdowns by us and the fourth one was a bad bounce.”
At the other end, Owen Sound goaltender Michael McNiven made 36 saves.
“He was outstanding,” Bannister said.
“That’s what he’s been doing all year, so I’m not surprised,” McGill said when asked his thoughts on McNiven’s effort in the win. “That’s what we expect from him.”
Nick Suzuki and Chase Campbell had a goal and an assist each for Owen Sound while Kevin Hancock also scored.
Notes: Overage forward Bobby MacIntyre missed the game, serving the first of an automatic two-game suspension.
MacIntyre received a match penalty in game four for slew-footing.
Game six is set for Sunday night at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound. Puck drop is 6 p.m. If necessary, game seven is Tuesday night back at the Essar Centre at 7:07 p.m.
AROUND THE OHL
The Greyhounds and Attack was the lone game in the OHL on Friday night.
In the other Western Conference semifinal, the London Knights and Erie Otters head into game five tied at two games apiece after the Knights picked up a 4-2 win on Thursday night. The Knights erased a 2-0 deficit with four goals in the third period in the game. Game five is Saturday night in Erie.
The Peterborough Petes became the first team to advance to the conference final thanks to a four-game sweep of the Kingston Frontenacs. The Petes completed the sweep thanks to a 6-2 win on Thursday night. The game included an empty net goal by Petes goaltender Dylan Wells. Steven Lorentz and Jonathan Ang had two goals each for Peterborough.
In the other Eastern Conference semifinal, the Mississauga Steelheads lead the Oshawa Generals 3-1 heading into game five on Saturday afternoon. The Steelheads beat the Generals 4-3 on Thursday night. Spencer Watson had a pair of goals for the Steelheads, who opened up a 4-0 lead through 40 minutes before the Generals scored three times in the final period to make the game close. Medric Mercier scored twice for Oshawa.