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Greyhounds ride five-goal first period to win over Guelph (video, 7 photos)

The period included a stretch in which the Greyhounds scored four times in just over five minutes

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After an unexpected day off on Wednesday, the Soo Greyhounds were ready to go on Friday night.

A five-goal first period, which included four in just over five minutes late in the period, lifted the Greyhounds to a 7-2 Ontario Hockey League win over the Guelph Storm on Friday night at the GFL Memorial Gardens.

Greyhounds coach John Dean called the first period “our best period all year.”

Greyhounds forward Rory Kerins agreed with Dean’s  and spoke on the late-period surge offensively.

“Those five-minute spans can make you or break you,” Kerins also said. “You just have to be on the right side of those. I they’re pushing, you have to make sure you keep it out of your net and if you’re pushing, you have to make sure you get a couple.”

“There wasn’t anything super fancy about the period,” Dean said. “We just did things properly. We executed off the rush. We made really good choices in the offensive zone on when to use the back of the net and when to use our feet and challenge the dots.”

Asked about the opening period, Storm general manager and coach George Burnett said “there’s nothing positive about the game in any way, shape, or form.”

“I don’t have any answers,” Burnett said. “My job is to get the team ready to go and they weren’t tonight. I have to take responsibility for that.”

The game came after the Greyhounds had a game Wednesday night postponed due to 12 Sudbury Wolves players testing positive for COVID-19.

“They guys had a really good week of practice,” Dean added. “We really took advantage of the one day off. It was just a good vibe all week. A lot of work ethic. A lot of compete. They brought that forward in the first period.”

Playing a Storm team that had won four straight games entering Friday, Kerins said “if we play our game and we play the way we’re capable, we can beat anyone.”

The Greyhounds opened the scoring 3:24 into the opening period when Marc Boudreau took a pass in the slot from defenceman Kirill Kudryavtsev and beat Guelph starter Owen Bennett high from in close.

The Greyhounds the opened the game up later in the period.

Bryce McConnell-Barker made it 2-0 at 14:28 when he took a pass from Marco Mignosa and beat Bennet stick side.

Rory Kerins proceeded to make it 3-0 just 1:27 later when he beat Bennett short side at 15:55.

Overage defenceman Robert Calisti made it 4-0 at 16:19 when he beat Bennett glove side from the right faceoff circle.

Kerins got his second of the night with 30 seconds to go in the opening period when he beat Bennett with a shot from the right faceoff circle.

Guelph got on the board at 12:11 of the second period when Sasha Pastujov took a pass in the slot and beat Greyhounds goaltender Samuel Ivanov from in close.

Tye Kartye made it 6-1 Greyhounds when he redirected a pass in tight from Rory Kerins past Jacob Oster at 19:02 of the second.

Justin Cloutier made it 7-1 Greyhounds at 6:52 of the third, beating Oster high with a shot from the slot.

Veteran defenceman Daniil Chayka made it 7-2 late, beating Ivanov with a point shot on the power play with 2:47 to go.

Kerins finished the night with four points thanks to a pair of assists in addition to his two-goal performance.

“I just play my game,” Kerins said. “I play with great players and I get in good spots to get the puck. I had a couple of opportunities to put the puck in the net and I did. I play the game the same way every night.”

Asked about not being selected to the Canadian National Junior Team selection camp and if it brought any added motivation, Kerins said “I play to prove it to myself.”

“He’s a pretty special kid and it’s a pretty special response,” Dean said. “Those things can go different ways. The game he put in tonight shows a lot about his character.”

Defenceman Ryan O’Rourke and forward Cole MacKay assisted on a pair of goals each for the home team.

Ivanov made 22 saves for the Greyhounds.

Bennett stopped 16 of 21 shots in one period of work for the Storm. Oster made 20 saves the rest of the way.

“He’s got to be better, but we’ve got to be better around him,” Burnett said of Bennett’s play in the opening period.

The win improves the Greyhounds record to 13-9-0-0.

The Storm fall to 13-7-1-1 with the loss.

The Greyhounds return to action on Sunday afternoon at home against the Saginaw Spirit. Puck drop is set for 2:07 p.m. at the GFL Memorial Gardens.