The Soo Greyhounds haven’t had much luck against the Guelph Storm this season.
In three games against the Storm, the Greyhounds have lost by a combined five goals, two of which have been of the empty net variety. That includes a 5-3 loss against the Storm on Friday night at the Essar Centre in the first of a four-game homestand for the locals.
A pair of third-period goals broke a 3-3 tie in the third period to give the Storm the win, including a tough game-winner that saw Guelph’s Pius Suter score on a rebound that seemed to deflect in off Greyhounds defenceman Tyler Ganly and past Matt Murray.
“Our guys deserved better,” said Greyhounds Coach Sheldon Keefe. “We had a great period (in the third) and played hard for a better part of the game. We were right in there against the best team in the league and gave ourselves every chance.”
“We had enough opportunities and enough time in their end,” Keefe added. “We talked before the game that to beat this team you have to be close perfect as you can get. We were close today. We didn’t have a lot of cracks defensively but we had a few and they all ended up in our net.”
Said Guelph coach Scott Walker: “You never know what’s going to happen. It was a fast, high-paced hockey game. It was exciting. We were a little looser than we wanted to be and I’m sure they were a little looser than they wanted to be. All-in-all, it was a hard-fought game.”
Tyler Gaudet had a goal and an assist for the Greyhounds in the loss while Bryan Moore and Jean Dupuy also scored for the Greyhounds. Darnell Nurse added two assists. Goaltender Matt Murray stopped 33 shots for the Greyhounds.
“I don’t think he faced a ton of chances,” Keefe said of Murray in the loss. “We needed him to be better. If we’re going to beat (Guelph) we need Matt Murray need to be better. He needs to be the best goalie on the ice and I don’t think he was. We had more chances than they did and he didn’t have as many opportunities to outplay the opposition.”
Jason Dickinson, Justin Auger and Brock McGinn had a goal and an assist each for Guelph in the win. Suter and Zac Leslie also scored. Goaltender Justin Nichols, a former Greyhound, stopped 39 shots for the Storm.
Walker spoke highly of Nichols in the win and talked about how tough it is to play against former teams.
“Everybody gets up but it affects people differently,” said Walker of playing against former teams. “Sometimes you play too hard and you don’t have a great game and sometimes you have your best game. There’s no question everybody gets up. It’s human nature.”
The game would take a physical turn in the second period when Greyhounds defenceman Darnell Nurse took a heavy hit in the corner in the Greyhounds zone from Guelph’s Chadd Bauman. With Nurse bloodied from the hit and fans looking for a penalty, Greyhounds blueliner Tyler Hore would eventually step in and fight Bauman.
“I think it’s a suspendable hit,” Keefe said of the Baumann hit. “Watching it, the player comes right off the bench, skates directly on the forecheck and doesn’t attempt to make a play on the puck and then hits him in the back of the shoulder. The result was pretty gruesome.”
The cut, which was to Nurse’s forehead, was into the muscle and led to Nurse being taken to the hospital following the game.
Walker was pleased with the fact that the Storm didn’t crack during a third period that saw the Greyhounds outshoot the Storm 17-9.
“We bent and we didn’t break,” Walker said of the third period. “They definitely came on and pushed us hard and I like the response when they tied it.”
The Greyhounds return to action on Saturday night in a divisional game when they host the Windsor Spitfires in a 7:07 p.m. start at the Essar Centre.