There wasn’t a lot to be happy with on Saturday night for the Soo Greyhounds.
After scoring three times in the third period on Friday night to pick up a win, the Greyhounds surrendered three goals in the first period en route to a 4-2 Ontario Hockey League loss to the North Bay Battalion on Saturday night at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
The game was the third in as many days for the Battalion, who picked up a pair of wins in the process.
Overage forward Cole MacKay admitted that the Greyhounds looked like the team playing their third game in three nights.
“If you were just a random guy off the street coming to watch the game, you would definitely think that,” MacKay said. “That’s unacceptable. If we’re going to win games here, we have to be good in the last game of the week, especially when it’s not three-in-three. There’s no excuse.”
MacKay also spoke of the start for the Greyhounds, which saw the team fall behind 3-1 through 20 minutes.
“Our first period needs to be a lot better,” MacKay said. “We weren’t connected like we were last night and (North Bay) took advantage of that. They’re a good transition team and they took advantage of us being all over the place.”
“I didn’t see a lot of push from our guys,” said Greyhounds coach John Dean. “I saw a team that I think underestimated our opponent and maybe thought that, with the number we put up (Friday), that things like that come easy. Our group works very hard for what we get and we forgot about that tonight. We didn’t look crisp at all. We looked nonchalant in our entries.”
“We told the guys, the way to describe it is we’re proud of them,” said Battalion coach Ryan Oulahen. “I loved our effort today. I loved how we came out with intent. I think we’re proving that we’re a good hockey team. To be able to bounce back with the way our third period went (on Friday), to show the guts today, I’m proud of our group.”
Dean said the game was one in which the team has to take lessons from.
“We would prefer not to go through this lesson,” Dean joked, adding that the ideal scenario is to be a team that is “unaffected by the night before no matter whether it was a win or a loss, but we’re not there yet.”
For the Battalion, the win meant a solid finish to a weekend that saw the club playing its third game in as many nights.
“It’s big because you have to learn that maybe you don’t have a lot of gas in the tank, but if you’re smart and you play for one another (you can achieve things),” Oulahen said. “You saw guys laying down blocking shots and doing the little things to get the job done. That’s junior hockey. I was saying to them, I’m almost jealous of them right now. Being three in three and (getting) a big win and you see guys paralyzed in their stalls right now. It’s a cool feeling.”
North Bay got on the board early as Brandon Coe found himself in the left faceoff circle and took a feed from Liam Arnsby and beat Greyhounds goaltender Charlie Schenkel 2:32 into the contest.
Owen Outwater made it 2-0 North Bay at 12:26 when he beat a pair of Greyhounds defenders before putting the puck past Schenkel on a partial break.
The Greyhounds got on the board thanks to a power play goal from overage forward Tye Kartye as he got the puck in close before beating North Bay goaltender Joe Vrbetic high glove side at 14:52.
North Bay restored the two-goal lead with 2.9 seconds to go in the period when rookie defenceman Ty Nelson beat Schenkel with a point shot through a screen by Arnsby in close on the power play.
“It was important,” Oulahen said of the goal. “We had some really good looks there and we thought that putting Ty up there on that unit today would add the shooting presence and that’s exactly what that provided. He was there for one reason…to get those shots through.”
Michael Podolioukh extended the North Bay lead early in the second period when he took a feed from Owen Van Steensel and beat Samuel Ivanov to make it 4-1 just 1:59 into the period.
Ivanov entered the game in place of Schenkel at the start of the second period.
Kartye cut the North Bay lead to 4-2 with a power play goal at 16:51 of the third.
The veteran forward beat Vrbetic from the slot on a feed from MacKay.
The loss drops the Greyhounds record to 5-3-0-0 while the Battalion improve to 5-3-0-0 thanks to a pair of wins on the weekend.
Tanner Dickinson assisted on both goals for the Greyhounds in the loss.
Schenkel faced four shots in the opening period, giving up three goals.
Ivanov made 12 saves in two periods of work.
Matvey Petrov assisted on a pair of goals for North Bay while goaltender Joe Vrbetic stopped 31 shots, including 18 in the final period.
The Greyhounds return to action on Wednesday night at home against the Kitchener Rangers. Puck drop at the GFL Memorial Gardens is set for 7:07 p.m.