For the Soo Greyhounds, it was an act the team has already seen while for the Guelph Storm, there are a lot of things to take away from a Sunday afternoon in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Greyhounds scored four times in the third period Sunday afternoon to pick up a 7-4 Ontario Hockey League win over the Storm in front of an announced crowd of 3,495 at the Essar Centre.
“It was similar to Friday,” said Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister. “If you take away that four-minute span in the second period, you’re really happy. Even in the second period, we were a lot better tonight that we were in the second on Friday because we were really good to start the second period until we got into the penalty trouble.”
The penalty trouble led to a roughly four-minute stretch that saw the Storm score three times to get back into the hockey game and eventually take the lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
The Greyhounds scored a pair of quick goals early in the third period to retake the lead
Storm Coach George Burnett called the game “a pretty good learning opportunity for us today.”
“To get on the bus and come up here and have an opportunity to lead the game going into the third period, there are a lot of good things we can take from that,” Burnett added.
Burnett called some mistakes made, specifically early in the final period, “tired mistakes.”
Boris Katchouk and Hayden Verbeek scored 28 seconds apart early in the third period to take the lead en route to the win.
Verbeek finished the day with two goals and an assist while Katchouk and Jack Kopacka had a pair of goals each. Tim Gettinger also had a three-point night with a goal and two assists.
Greyhounds netminder Matthew Villalta made 33 saves.
Storm netminder Anthony Popovich made 40 saves.
“Our goaltender was outstanding all weekend long,” Burnett said. “He gave us a chance to win the hockey game after 40 minutes.”
“He continues to get better,” Burnett added. “He’s very focused on his approach. He battled his butt off and I like the fact that when I asked him about playing today, he was hungry to have the net again.”
James McEwan and Ryan Merkley had a goal and an assist each for the Storm while Dmitri Samorukov and Barret Kirwin also scored.
The Greyhounds lost the services of forward Barrett Hayton midway through the third period after a heavy hit in the Greyhounds zone by Zach Poirier. The hit left Hayton with a bad cut on his face and Poirier was hit with a major penalty for checking to the head. Bannister said he didn’t know much more regarding the injury following the game.
The Storm played the game without rookie forward Tag Bertuzzi, who is out with a concussion, and veteran Givani Smith, who remains out due to an injury suffered at the camp of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.
Burnett said Bertuzzi’s status remains up in the air while Smith remains out long-term. The loss of Smith is one that Burnett said the team felt in a game like Sunday afternoon’s.
“His impact on the lineup would be significant as a big, strong guy who can control the puck down low and work some defencemen down,” Burnett said.
The Greyhounds, who improve to 9-2-2-0 with the win return to action on Friday night on the road in Sarnia against the Sting while Guelph, now 5-6-0-1, is also back in action Friday at home against the Erie Otters.