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Greyhounds hold on for win despite 'disappointing' 30 minutes

After building a comfortable lead, the Soo Greyhounds needed it more than they would have expected in a win over the Sudbury Wolves

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There was plenty to like, for about 30 minutes.

The Soo Greyhounds rode a hot start to an Ontario Hockey League win over the Sudbury Wolves on Wednesday night at the GFL Memorial Gardens.

The team jumped out to a 5-0 lead through the first 28 minutes of the game and proceeded to hold on for a 7-4 victory after the Wolves scored four times in the final 26 minutes of the contest.

Defenceman Andrew Gibson called it “some of the best 30 minutes of hockey we’ve played” all season.

“Then we fell apart,” Gibson said.

Gibson said the Greyhounds “got away from our game” in the second half of the contest.

Greyhounds coach John Dean, returning behind the bench after a stint at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, said he was “pretty disappointed in the second half of that game.”

“The second half of the second period was poor as well,” Dean said. “We started to cheat. We started to mismanage the puck as well. We let guys get behind us. Obviously, the power play in the third period was atrocious.”

“We got away from things that were working,” Dean added.

Dean called the opening 30 minutes by the Greyhounds “elite.”

“We were above pucks the entire time. We were really heavy on the forecheck,” Dean said. “There’s clearly a formula that works for out team. We’ve yet to do it for 60 minutes.”

Dean said the Greyhounds recovering from a Sunday afternoon loss to the Kitchener Rangers was a positive, but the team’s inability to carry it for 60 minutes was disappointing.

“The second half of the game tells me that we’re not prepared to do the things that it takes to win hockey games yet,” Dean said.

Sudbury coach Ken MacKenzie said the Wolves “just weren’t ready” from the start of the game.

MacKenzie added that the Wolves discipline was also a factor.

“We were undisciplined at the start,” MacKenzie said. “We know they have a good power play and our special teams hasn’t been very good this year in terms of our power play. We knew we couldn’t afford to give those guys too many.”

The Greyhounds got on the board first as Owen Allard beat Sudbury goaltender Jakub Vondras from the left circle high stick side on the power play 1:27 into the game.

Allard added his second of the game, also on the power play, at 19:22 of the opening period when he beat Vondras on a rebound in the slot after a shot by Kirill Kudryavtsev was stopped.

In the second period, Marco Mignosa took a pass from Jack Beck and beat Vondras from the right circle at 1:34 in.

Andrew Gibson extended the lead to 4-0 at 3:09 when he beat Vondras stick side through traffic, ending the night for the Sudbury netminder.

Just 13 seconds into a major penalty to Sudbury's Quentin Musty, Bryce McConnell-Barker beat goaltender Nate Krawchuk stick side at 8:46 to make it 5-0. 

Sudbury got on the board at 14:46 when Evan Konyen beat Greyhounds goaltender Chalie Schenkel stick side from near the top of the left circle.

Allard then grabbed his third goal of the night, beating Krawchuk from the right of the goal after taking a pass from Jack Beck at 16 seconds later.

Konyen scored his second of the night at 16:58, beating Schenkel stick side from the slot.

Sudbury cut the Sault lead to 6-3 in the third period as Dalibor Dvorsky one-timed a pass from David Goyette past Schenkel on a shorthanded 2-on-1 at 9:46.

Nick Yearwood beat Schenkel with a shot from the left circle short side with the Wolves shorthanded to make it 6-4 at 17:34.

Justin Cloutier capped off the scoring in the final minute with an empty net goal for the Greyhounds.

Kudryavtsev finished the night with three assists for the Greyhounds to go along with Allard's three-goal night.

Allard left the game in the third period after taking a high stick and did not return, but Dean said the veteran forward was going to be fine following the game.

After Wednesday’s game, Allard has goals in four consecutive games, scoring six times in the stretch.

“You name something, and he did it well,” Dean said of Allard in the stretch.

Dean also spoke highly of Kudryavtsev’s game, specifically citing the blueliner’s defensive game.

“The best part of his game was his penalty kill,” Dean said. “(Brendan Taylor) asked him to take away lanes. They had seams and Kirill takes those away. He doesn’t get enough praise for his defensive game. It’s always about how good he is with the puck. He’s unbelievable defensively. Always in the right spots. Penalty kill specialist. A one-man exit machine.”

Mignosa had a goal and an assist for the locals while Beck assisted on a pair of goals.

Schenkel stopped 21 shots.

“Charlie was good,” Dean said. “He wasn’t tested much early, but when we needed him, especially on the penalty kill, he was great. We hung him out to dry for the goals that did go in.”

In addition to the two-goal night for Konyen, Yearwood had a goal and an assist.

Vondras stopped eight of 13 Sault shots before being pulled. Krawchuk stopped 16 of 18 shots the rest of the way in just under 36 minutes of work.

The Greyhounds return to action on Friday night at home against the North Bay Battalion.

Puck drop at the GFL Memorial Gardens is 7:07 p.m.

Asked about Friday’s game, Gibson said the Greyhounds getting a full effort from start to finish is critical.

“I don’t think we’ve done that this year, play a full 60 of our game,” Gibson said. “If we do that all year, we can shock some people and win a lot of games.”

With the win, the Greyhounds improve to 13-7-0-0 on the season. Sudbury falls to 10-7-1-0 with the loss.

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Brad Coccimiglio

About the Author: Brad Coccimiglio

A graduate of Loyalist College’s Sports Journalism program, Brad Coccimiglio’s work has appeared in The Hockey News as well as online at in addition to regular freelance work with SooToday before joining the team full time.
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