For a team battling for its playoff life, it didn’t look that way on Sunday afternoon for the Soo Greyhounds.
A 3-0 deficit through one period was too much to overcome as the Greyhounds dropped a 4-2 Ontario Hockey League decision to the Sarnia Sting on Sunday at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
“It’s a massive game for us and it left a lot to be desired there in the first 40 minutes,” said Greyhounds coach John Dean. “It was too little, too late there in the third period.”
“We came out with a lot of mustard in the third period,” Dean also said. “On the bench, there was a feeling that we might tie it up but when you’re climbing out of a hole and you’re pushing, all of a sudden you get yourself into some penalty trouble and (they score). If that happens in the first period and you’re pushing like that, I don’t think that’s the score.”
Dean also called the first period “very disappointing.”
“I don’t think it’s from lack of care in there,” Dean added. “I think we’re a little bit immature with our approach. We have to work as hard as we do against the Ottawa’s and the London’s of the world.”
Dean went on to say he didn’t feel the Greyhounds took the Sting lightly but “our guys like to get up for what they perceive to be challenges. What they need to realize is it’s big picture.”
For the Sting, the start was as good as the team could have hoped for.
“We haven’t given up and in the first two periods we played pretty well,” said Sarnia coach Derian Hatcher.
“We came out and we were moving the puck clean and crisp,” Hatcher also said. “We were making the right decisions with the puck in when to put it in and when not to put it in. And we played just as well in the second period. In the second period we had three breakaways and six two-on-one’s. If we convert a few of those, all of a sudden it’s 5-0.”
Hatcher went on to say he felt Sarnia’s execution “was as good as I’ve seen it in a while for us.”
“We were doing the right things,” Hatcher said. “We were chipping the puck. We were winning the wall battles and that makes a difference. That’s what created a lot of the odd-man rushes is winning battles along the wall.”
Dean credited Sarnia’s ability
“They really shade to our D and if you turn over the puck, they’re ready to jump right by our D,” Dean said. “If you mismanage the puck at all as you enter their zone, it could be an odd-man rush against. That’s where they’re good. They’re very good in transition and they did a good job of it.”
Brayden Guy paced the Sting with a pair of goals while Jacob Perreault chipped in with a goal and an assist.
Ryan McGregor, Sean Josling, and Jamieson Rees assisted on two goals each.
Eric Hjorth had the other Sarnia goal.
Sting netminder Ethan Langevin stopped 25 shots.
Robert Calisti and Tye Kartye completed the scoring for the Greyhounds.
Nick Malik made 32 saves.
Sunday’s loss drops the Greyhounds record to 25-29-3-1. The team sits five points back of the Erie Otters after the Otters picked up a win on Saturday night in Owen Sound.
A win on Sunday would have pulled the Greyhounds to within three points after the Otters lost in Owen Sound on Sunday afternoon.
With 10 games remaining, the Greyhounds head out on the road for three games, beginning on Thursday night in Windsor against the Spitfires.
Sarnia improves to 20-31-5-1.
In other action around the OHL on Sunday, in Guelph, Cam Hillis had the overtime winner as the Guelph Storm beat the Niagara IceDogs 5-4. Keegan Stevenson and Danny Zhilkin had a goal and two assists each for Guelph.
In Mississauga, Calvin Martin scored twice as the Mississauga Steelheads beat the Barrie Colts 8-1. Keean Washkurak and Cole Schwindt had a goal and two assists each for the Steelheads.
In North Bay, Damien Giroux had two goals and two assists as the Saginaw Spirit beat the North Bay Battalion 6-3. D.J. Busdeker had a goal and three assists for Saginaw.
In Owen Sound, Barret Kirwin scored three times as the Owen Sound Attack beat the Erie Otters 4-2. Mack Guzda made 34 saves for Owen Sound.
In Sudbury, David Bowen made 26 saves as the Sudbury Wolves blanked the Ottawa 67’s 2-0.