They entered the day as two of the Ontario Hockey League’s lowest-scoring teams.
When all was said and done, they combined for 73 shots and 16 goals as the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Soo Greyhounds 10-6 at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton on Sunday afternoon.
For the Greyhounds, the game was a disappointment all around.
“I’m embarrassed,” said forward Justin Cloutier. “You give up 10 (goals); it’s unacceptable.”
“We go in every night expecting to win games,” Cloutier added.
For Greyhounds coach John Dean, “there was nothing good about that game.”
Dean questioned whether a strong performance against Mississauga on Friday night led to players thinking, “we could change our style of play.”
“We’re a team that has to earn every inch of the ice, and today we didn’t want to compete for much of it for sure,” Dean said.
Veteran forward Tyler Savard agreed it was a factor.
“This is a league where you have to come ready to play,” Savard said. “I don’t think we were ready to play tonight in the first period. It was tough. We ended up 3-3 after the first, but we didn’t come out of the gate the way we wanted to, and that was the end of us tonight.”
“When you score six, it should give you a good chance to win,” Savard also said.
Cloutier agreed that the start of the game was critical.
“Our start wasn’t great,” Cloutier said. “That’s something that we’ve been working on is our starts, and we’ve shown that when we start strong, like in Mississauga, we can win games and carry the energy through the whole game.
Jordan D’Intino opened the scoring for the Greyhounds 2:08 into the game as he took a shot from the top of the left circle through Hamilton defenceman Gavin White that beat Bulldogs goaltender Tristan Malboeuf.
Avery Hayes tied the game 2:05 later after his pass attempt from the right faceoff circle deflected off Greyhounds defenceman Kirill Kudryavtsev and past goaltender Samuel Ivanov.
Jorian Donovan made it 2-1 Hamilton 63 seconds later when he took a pass near the left faceoff circle, skated in, and beat Ivanov high short side.
The Greyhounds tied the game at 8:06 when Justin Cloutier scored from the slot after Malboeuf initially stopped a deflection by Mark Duarte in close off a point shot by Matthew Virgilio.
The Greyhounds took a 3-2 lead at 16:44 when Tyler Savard deflected a Ryan Thompson point shot past Malboeuf.
Just 35 seconds later, Logan Morrison tied the game at three as he redirected a pass from Donovan in close past Malboeuf.
Patrick Thomas made it 4-3 Hamilton at 5:32 of the second period when he took a pass from Morrison and beat Ivanov's stick side from the right faceoff circle.
Donovan made it 5-3 at 10:04 when he beat Ivanov with a point shot through traffic.
The Bulldogs took a 6-3 lead with just under four minutes to go in the second period when Morrison chipped the puck in the air to beat Virgilio in the slot and then proceeded to beat Ivanov with a shot stick side.
Hamilton took a four-goal lead 2:56 into the third period when Hayes scored on the power play. Hayes potted a loose puck after a pair of stops initially by Ivanov during a scramble in close.
Landen Hookey pulled the Greyhounds to within three at 3:31 when he deflected a shot by Virgilio past Malboeuf after the Bulldogs turned the puck over moments earlier defensively.
Savard picked up his second of the night at 8:10 when he deflected a point shot by Kudryavtsev past Malboeuf on the power play to make it 7-5.
Hamilton took an 8-5 lead just over two minutes later when Ivanov stopped Florian Xhekaj initially, but the Hamilton forward followed up the play and beat the Greyhounds netminder with a shot from below the goalline that banked in of the Sault goalie.
Bryce McConnell-Barker made it an 8-6 game at 12:55 with the Greyhounds on the power play as he skated through the high slot and into the left circle before beating Malboeuf with a shot glove side.
Donovan scored his third of the day with 4:42 to go as he took a shot from the point that deflected off a Greyhound in the slot before beating Ivanov.
Noah Nelson capped off the scoring with 60 seconds to go on an empty net goal shorthanded.
Offensively for the Greyhounds, in addition to the two-goal day for Savard, Hookey had a goal and an assist, while Duarte, Virgilio, and Kudryavtsev assisted on a pair of goals each.
Ivanov stopped 26 shots for the Greyhounds.
Ivanov was the surprise starter for the Greyhounds, with Charlie Schenkel initially tabbed to start the game for the Greyhounds.
Following the game, Dean said Schenkel, who was on the bench with the team during the game, was injured during the warmup and wasn’t cleared to play.
Donovan and Morrison paced Hamilton offensively with four points each. Donovan finished the day with three goals and an assist, while Morrison had two of each.
“Everything I was touching was finding its way to the net,” Donovan said in a post-game interview with Cable14. “It was a weird game, but I’m happy we came out with the win. It’s good to see that we’re starting to trend well and get some wins.”
Donovan called it “probably the weirdest game I’ve ever played.”
In total, seven players had multi-point games for the Bulldogs. Hayes finished the night with a pair of goals, while Xhekaj and Thomas had a goal and an assist. Lucas Moore and Braeden O’Keefe added a pair of helpers each.
Malboeuf stopped 31 shots.
The Greyhounds return to action on Friday night in the opening game of a short two-game homestand. On Friday night, the Greyhounds will face the Saginaw Spirit before hosting the Owen Sound Attack on Sunday afternoon.
The Greyhounds will take a 6-10-4-4 record into the homestand.
With the win, Hamilton improves to 9-10-1-0.