Through 40 minutes it looked as through the Soo Greyhounds were in good shape to extend its winning streak to seven games.
The Niagara IceDogs would make things a lot closer, but the Greyhounds would eventually hold on for a 4-3 Ontario Hockey League victory Thursday night at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.
After falling behind 4-0 early in the third period, the IceDogs would score three times in the third period to make it close but the IceDogs couldn’t find the equalizer in the final minute after Kirill Maksimov made it 4-3 with 46 seconds to go.
For the Greyhounds, it was one of their better efforts during its streak.
“That was probably the best game we had in quite a long time,” said Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister. “We played really well for most of the game. We did a lot of good things. Our specialty teams were good. Our five-on-five play was good. We played with a lot of speed throughout the whole game and they had a tough time with it. Even physically, I thought we physically dominated the game too.”
“We all bought in tonight and that was huge,” added Greyhounds forward Boris Katchouk. “That’s why we played a good 60 minutes.”
Veteran Morgan Frost noted the Greyhounds work ethic had improved over recent games.
“Our work ethic was definitely at a higher level than it has been in the last couple of games,” Frost said.
“After these last couple of games, we’ve been winning but haven’t been giving our best efforts,” Frost also said. “We knew we had to bring a better game tonight. We rose to the occasion and picked up our game.”
Katchouk paced the Greyhounds offensively with a goal and two assists while Frost scored a pair of goals. Barrett Hayton chipped in with a goal and an assist.
In his return to the lineup from injury, rookie defenceman Rasmus Sandin assisted on a pair of goals.
“For being out as long as he was, he stepped in and was comfortable,” Bannister said of the Swedish blueliner.
Greyhounds goaltender Matthew Villalta made 32 saves.
“He had to make a few saves down the stretch and overall he played well for us,” Bannister said.
Maksimov had a goal and an assist for Niagara. Will Lochead and Sam Miletic also scored for the IceDogs.
Niagara goaltender Stephen Dhillon made 31 saves.
The Greyhounds will take a 44-5-2-1 record into action on Saturday night in Erie against the Otters. The team will then wrap up the weekend on Sunday afternoon in Hamilton against the Bulldogs.
Niagara, in a battle with the Barrie Colts for top spot in the Central Division, falls to 26-18-4-3.
In other games around the OHL on Thursday night, in Hamilton, Andrei Svechnikov had a pair of goals as the Barrie Colts beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 5-1. Aaron Luchuk and Dmitry Sokolov chipped in with a goal and an assist each for the Colts.
In North Bay, shootout goals by Adam Thilander and Adam McMaster helped the North Bay Battalion to a 4-3 win over the Flint Firebirds. Luke Burghardt and Matthew Struthers had a goal and an assist each in regulation time for the Battalion.
In Peterborough, Aidan Dudas had three goals and two assists as the Owen Sound Attack beat the Peterborough Petes 6-5. Ethan Szypula had two goals and two assists for the Attack. Logan DeNoble had two goals and an assist for Peterborough.
In Windsor, Alexey Toropchenko’s goal at 16:07 of the third period was the game-winner as the Guelph Storm beat the Windsor Spitfires 4-3. Nate Schnarr had a goal and two assists for the Storm.