Soo Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister saw some positives as the Greyhounds hit the road for their first exhibition game of the 2016-17 Ontario Hockey League season.
After falling behind 3-0 in the opening 10 minutes of the game, the Greyhounds scored eight unanswered goals to beat the Saginaw Spirit 8-3 at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw on Saturday night.
“The first ten minutes we were slow out of the gate,” Bannister said. “A little bit was nerves and we were standing around a bit in the defensive zone and not moving our feet but after it was 3-0 we settled in, started moving our feet and things opened up for us. From then on, the kids played very well.”
The Greyhounds bench boss went on the credit the rookies in the lineup for adjusting to the Greyhounds system quickly in their first taste of OHL game action.
“To see that happening as quickly as we did, considering they’ve only been with us for five days, that they’re able to do the things we’re asking them to do and pick up on it that quick is a good sign,” Bannister said.
“Once they settled in they were great,” Bannister also said.
Finnish-born forward Otto Makinen had a goal and an assist for the Greyhounds while Alex Gritz also had a goal. First round pick Barrett Hayton assisted on two goals.
Veteran forwards Tim Gettinger and Bobby MacIntyre had a goal and two assists each for the Greyhounds while Jack Kopacka scored a pair of goals. Boris Katchouk and Bryce Yetman had a goal and an assist each as well. Sophomore centre Liam Hawel assisted on two goals.
“For the guys that were returning, they just continued to play the way we play,” Bannister said.
Dougie Newhouse got the start for the Greyhounds, stopping 30 shots, including a penalty shot attempt by Saginaw veteran Mitchell Stephens in the third period.
“(Newhouse) played exceptionally well in the net for us,” Bannister said. “He did a really good job.”
Bannister said Matthew Villalta is expected to get the start Sunday in the second game of the weekend series between the two clubs.
The two teams end the home-and-home series Sunday afternoon in a 4:07 p.m. start at the Essar Centre.
Stephens, Matthew Kreis and Kris Bennett scored for Saginaw.
Evan Cormier got the start in goal, giving up five goals on 15 shots. Cameron Lamour entered the game, stopping 16 of 19 shots in the second half of the game.
There were two other games on the exhibition schedule on Saturday night.
In Sarnia, Jakob Chychrun and Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist while Jordan Kyrou assisted on a pair of goals as the Sarnia Sting beat the London Knights 5-3. Adam Ruzicka, Filip Helt and Troy Lajeunesse also scored for the Sting. Sam Miletic had a goal and two assists for London. Alex Formenton and Kole Sherwood had the other London goals.
In Hamilton, Brandon Saigeon’s goal at 13:54 of the third period was the game-winning goal as the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Guelph Storm 6-5. Trent Fox and Cole Candella had a goal and two assists each for Hamilton while Saigeon scored a pair of goals. Matthew Strome, Justin Lemcke and Connor Walters assisted on two goals each. Marian Studenic and Michael Cramarossa also scored for Hamilton. Albert Michnac and Nate Schnarr scored twice each for Guelph. Luke Burghardt had the other Guelph goal.