OSHAWA – They’re still looking to limit the number of costly mistakes, but the Soo Greyhounds opened a three-game road trip by rebounding and picking up an important two points on Friday night.
After giving up three goals in the third period, including a late goal to tie the contest, Rory Kerins had the shootout winner as the Greyhounds beat the Oshawa Generals 6-5 Friday in Ontario Hockey League action at the Tribute Communities Centre.
Overage forward Brett Neumann tied the game for the Generals with 1:06 to go in regulation time as Oshawa erased a 5-3 deficit to force the extra frame.
“We are a relentless team, said Greyhounds coach John Dean. “Unfortunately, we shoot ourselves in the foot every night and tonight was no different, but our response was fantastic. Our goaltending response was fantastic. I thought the bench was very positive for the most part, even when things didn’t go our way. It’s nice to see us get the bounces for a night and it’s really nice for the kids to be on the right side of the scoreboard tonight.”
Dean added that, in speaking to the team following the win, he spoke of the need to “close out a little bit better.”
“It was a really good 40 minutes against a good hockey club,” Dean said of the opening two periods.
“Credit to (Oshawa), they did a really good job in the third period against us and pressured us really well,” Dean also said. “For us to get rewarded, now the guys can take a breath.”
After a scoreless overtime period, Kerins beat Oshawa goaltender Zachary Paputsakis with a backhand high glove to give the Greyhounds the win.
“I knew that I had that move in my back pocket,” Kerins said. “Watching the goalie on the previous two shots, I knew that he was biting hard on some fakes and I knew he would go down early so I went to that move.”
Defenceman Ryan O’Rourke paced the Greyhounds offensively with a goal and two assists.
Jaden Peca had a goal and an assist for the Greyhounds.
“He’s been really good the last three games,” Dean said. “He just looks like a rejuvenated hockey player.”
“I got the monkey off my back against Niagara and I’m just back to Peca hockey,” the overage forward said.
Robert Calisti assisted on two goals for the Greyhounds while Joe Carroll, Jaromir Pytlik, and Kalvyn Watson also scored.
Bailey Brkin made 19 saves for the Greyhounds before leaving the game in the third period after a series of excellent saves on Oshawa forward Kyle MacLean.
“Bailey was a beast,”: Dean said of the overage netminder. “I’m really excited about the way he played and his attitude toward starting tonight. Even before the game, when he’s vocal with me and when he’s positive with me, I know good things are going to happen.”
Dean said Brkin left the game with a lower body injury, but details were limited as far as the severity. Dean said he didn’t think it was serious but would discuss it with the team training staff before determining his availability for Saturday’s game in Hamilton against the Bulldogs.
Nick Malik entered the game in relief of Brkin and stopped 11 of 13 shots the rest of the way, which included a pad stop late in overtime on Oshawa defenceman Nico Gross.
“He was a stone-cold killer,” Dean said of Malik. “He didn’t care (about the situation). I didn’t feel nervous at all when he went in. He doesn’t care. He’s a goaltender through and through. He loves going in. He doesn’t care what the situation is.
“He was exceptional in overtime,” Dean added. “It’s his personality that shines through. Both our goalies, it’s their personalities that shine through.”
Philip Tomasino had a goal and an assist for the Generals.
Brett Harrison also scored for Oshawa while Lleyton Moore and Kyle MacLean assisted on two goals each.
Jordan Kooy got the start in goal for Oshawa but was pulled after giving up three goals on 17 shots.
Paputsakis made 20 saves on 22 shots the rest of the way.
The win improves the Greyhounds record to 25-27-2-0 and pulls the team to within one point of the Erie Otters for the final playoff spot in the OHL’s Western Conference.
Erie holds two games in hand on the Greyhounds with both teams in action on Saturday.
In other action around the OHL on Friday night, in Kingston, Tyler Angle’s goal at 15:42 of the third period was the difference as the Windsor Spitfires beat the Kingston Frontenacs 6-5. Egor Afanasyev had a goal and two assists for the Spitfires. Zayde Wisdom had two goals and an assist for Kingston.
In Mississauga, Noel Hoefenmayer’s goal with three minutes to go in regulation time was the difference as the Ottawa 67’s beat the Mississauga Steelheads 6-5. Marco Rossi had two goals and an assist for Ottawa. Keean Washkurak had two goals and an assist for Mississauga.
In St. Catharines, Zachary Roy made 32 saves as the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Niagara IceDogs 5-3. Jake Uberti scored twice for Niagara.
In Saginaw, Jack Wismer had two goals and an assist as the Flint Firebirds beat the Saginaw Spirit 5-4. Goaltender Luke Cavallin made 44 saves for Flint. Cole Perfetti scored three times for Saginaw.
In Sudbury, Blake Murray scored three times as the Sudbury Wolves beat the Sarnia Sting 5-3. Brayden Guy scored twice for Sarnia.
In Guelph, Nico Daws made 40 saves as the Guelph Storm blanked the Owen Sound Attack 2-0.
In London, Jonathan Gruden scored twice, and Ryan Merkley assisted on four goals as the London Knights beat the Kitchener Rangers 6-3. Alec Regula added two goals and an assist while Liam Foudy and Connor McMichael chipped in with a goal and two assists each for London.