It wasn’t a pretty first period but the Soo Greyhounds recovered to put together two solid periods of hockey on Saturday night at the Essar Centre.
As a three-game homestand continued, the Greyhounds scored four times in the final 40 minutes of action to beat the Mississauga Steelheads 4-1 in a game that saw the Steelheads carry the play in the opening period.
The Greyhounds struggled out of the gate as the Steelheads took a 1-0 lead 20 seconds into the game and rode the momentum early on in the game.
“I didn’t like our first period at all,” Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Mississauga outworked us and set the pace in the first period. That caught us off-guard a little bit because it was their third game in three nights. Credit to them. They really came hard and worked hard. It seemed like they didn’t have the gas to keep it up and we got better once our players recognized the effort and the pace that was required to play in the game.”
“It was another mental challenge for our guys to stick with it and not get too frustrated,” Keefe would also say about the Greyhounds early game struggles. “They found a way to get two real big goals in the third period.”
Bobby MacIntyre scored the lone goal for Mississauga in the loss. Goaltender Spencer Martin stopped 42 shots in the loss.
“We don’t make excuses,” said Mississauga coach James Boyd when asked about fatigue setting in. “We’ve got a young team here. I didn’t think we were out-worked tonight but we were thoroughly out-played.”
“We shot ourselves in the foot with some mistakes,” Boyd would also say.. “There were too many mistakes but that’s the nature of our team. Our margin of error is very slim so we have to be almost perfect.
Andrew Fritsch, Kyle Jenkins, Sergey Tolchinsky and Tyler Gaudet into an empty net, completed the scoring for the Greyhounds. Jenkins’ goal came on the power play midway through the third period with the game tied at one.
“It was a huge power play goal for us,” Keefe said of the Jenkins goal. “We changed things up and changed the first unit there and it paid off. We needed that goal. I was pretty confident that we could keep Mississauga at one goal.”
With the win, the Greyhounds improve their record to 28-10-1-4, good for 61 points. The team remains in second in the OHL’s Western Conference and first in the West Division. The Greyhounds hold a nine-point lead over the Windsor Spitfires in the division.
Meanwhile, Mississauga falls to 16-24-1-3 as they continue to battle for seeding in the OHL’s Eastern Conference. With 36 points, the Steelheads are two points behind the sixth-seeded Peterborough Petes while holding a two-point edge over the Niagara IceDogs, who sit in eighth.
The Greyhounds are back in action on Sunday afternoon as they wrap up a three-game homestand by hosting the London Knights at the Essar Centre. Puck drop is 2 p.m.
Kyle Jenkins file photo courtesy Kenneth Armstrong