The final result may not have reflected the game in some ways.
Despite a 49-17 shot differential and having north of 70 shot attempts in the game, the Soo Greyhounds came away with a narrow 2-1 victory over the Niagara IceDogs in Ontario Hockey League play at the GFL Memorial Gardens on Saturday night.
It was a game in which the Greyhounds felt like they stuck to their gameplan and not get frustrated despite carrying the play to the IceDogs at points in the game.
“We have to bury our chances, obviously,” Greyhounds coach John Dean said. “For the most part, I didn’t think we got away from (the gameplan). It’s tough when you’re carrying play like that, sometimes you could try a little extra and get yourself in a bit of trouble, which we did the odd time.”
“It’s an easy game to show frustration in and really try to extend and do extra and I don’t think for the most part, our guys did,” Dean added.
The game wasn’t without opportunities to learn for the Greyhounds as well.
“It was a good game for us just to learn if you get (a lot) of shots, some might go in, you just have to keep hammering down and chopping the tree,” said Greyhounds forward Owen Allard. “That was a good testament to our group. Sometimes the bounces don’t go your way. If you throw a lot of pucks on net, good things will happen.”
Overage forward Jack Beck said the game saw the Greyhounds “get back on track.”
“The last two games, we were cheating the game, not playing Greyhounds hockey,” Beck added. “Tonight, we did really well in the O zone.”
Beck added that the team still feels a need “to get to the inside a little more and a little bit better net front presence.”
Dean said what he liked most about the game for the Greyhounds was “the maturity from the bench.”
“We finally got back to where we were holding each other to a standard,” Dean added.
“If the guys saw something they didn’t like, it got cleaned up right away by the bench,” Dean added. “If guys saw something they liked, they rewarded it with positive affirmation.”
For the IceDogs, coach Ben Boudreau said “there’s no question” that goaltender Owen Flores kept his team in the game.
“He’s coming off injury, the first game he played on Thursday, there was a lot of rust on him,” Boudreau said. “It was pretty crazy to see how well he played against such a good team.”
“If it wasn’t for Flo, we would have been out (of the game) early,” Boudreau also said.
Flores made 47 saves in the loss.
Boudreau said the game brought with it a lot of learning moments for the IceDogs.
“They didn’t let us breathe,” Boudreau said. “The way they played consistently shift after shift after shift, they smothered us. We were coming back to the bench gasping for air every single shift.”
The Greyhounds opened the scoring as Bryce McConnell-Barker scored on a rebound after his initial redirection was stopped by Flores at 4:53 of the opening period.
The IceDogs proceeded to tie the game on a shorthanded marker 1:24 later. Kevin He beat Beck to a loose puck down the ice and was stopped initially by Landon Miller before beating the rookie Sault netminder on the rebound as he went to the net.
The Greyhounds took a 2-1 lead in the second period as Jacob Frasca scored on a rebound in tight after Flores stopped a shot by Justin Cloutier from the right wing initially at 7:33.
Miller made 16 saves for the Greyhounds in the victory.
With the win, the Greyhounds improve to 33-14-2-1 and keep pace with the Saginaw Spirit for top spot in the OHL's West Division after the Spirit also won on Saturday night.
Saginaw holds a four-point lead on the Greyhounds as the teams prepare to meet Sunday afternoon in the Sault.
Puck drop at the GFL Memorial Gardens is set for 2:07 p.m.
Niagara falls to 14-30-6-1 with the loss.
For the Greyhounds, veterans Jordan D'Intino and Marco Mignosa missed the game due to injury.
Dean said following the game that D'Intino would not be available for Sunday's game against Saginaw while Mignosa "might" be able to play.