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Improved effort for Greyhounds on road

A pair of shorthanded goals were the difference for the Soo Greyhounds on Friday night
File photo. Soo Greyhounds forward Jack Kopacka. Jeff Klassen/SooToday

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A two-game road trip will see the Soo Greyhounds return home with four points and top spot in the Ontario Hockey League’s West Division.

After a win on Thursday night in North Bay in a game that Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister said was one “where you walk away and feel like you lost,” the Greyhounds used a pair of shorthanded goals in the third period to pick up a 2-0 victory over the Sudbury Wolves at Sudbury Arena.

Jack Kopacka opened the scoring for the Greyhounds just under seven minutes into the third period after sophomore forward Barrett Hayton forced a turnover behind the Sudbury goal and hit Kopacka going to the net for the eventual game-winner.

“As a whole our group really competed hard, so it doesn’t surprise me that Barrett was able to strip that puck because we were first on pucks and anytime we were around the puck we were heavy on our sticks,” said Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister. “We won a lot of loose puck races and battles.”

Tim Gettinger had the other goal for the Greyhounds on a partial break shorthanded later in the frame.

Matthew Villalta made 16 saves for the shutout for the Greyhounds.

Bannister called the game a bounce-back game for the sophomore netminder, who struggled at times in the win over North Bay on Thursday.

“He wanted to be better,” Bannister said. “He settled in really good. He did have to make some saves. Even though they only had seven shots (in the final two periods), there were probably two that were really good scoring chances and he made them look easy.”

Sudbury netminder Jake McGrath had a busy night, making 37 saves.

“It was a really good bounce-back game,” Bannister said. “I liked the way we played right from the start of the game. We didn’t have any lapses in our game. We didn’t give them any space out there tonight.”

The Greyhounds improve to 17-3-2-0 and sit one point ahead of the Sarnia Sting in the West Division. The Sting also won on Friday night, beating the Windsor Spitfires in Sarnia.

Meanwhile, the Wolves fall to 7-13-4-0.

The Greyhounds return to action on Nov. 22 on home ice against the Wolves in a 7:07 p.m. start at the Essar Centre.

In other action around the OHL on Friday night, in Kingston, Ryan Cranford’s goal at 10:50 of the third period was the game-winner as the Kingston Frontenacs beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 3-2. Jeremy Helvig made 38 saves for Kingston.

In Mississauga, Ryan McLeod assisted on three goals as the Mississauga Steelheads doubled up the Oshawa Generals 4-2. Nicolas Hague and Owen Tippett had a goal and an assist each for Mississauga.

In St. Catharines, Johnny Corneil had a goal and two assists as the Niagara IceDogs beat the North Bay Battalion 6-1. Oliver Castleman and Philip Tomasino added a goal and an assist each for the IceDogs.

In Sarnia, Anthony Salinitri scored three times as the Sarnia Sting beat the Windsor Spitfires 6-3. Jordan Kyrou added a goal and three assists for the Sting.

In London, Sam Miletic had the overtime winner as the London Knights beat the Saginaw Spirit 4-3. Miletic finished the night with two goals and an assist while Cliff Pu added a goal and two assists. Mason Kohn had a pair of goals for Saginaw.

In Kitchener, Joseph Garreffa assisted on four goals as the Kitchener Rangers beat the Guelph Storm 7-5. Adam Mascherin added a pair of goals for the Rangers. James McEwan had three goals and an assist for Guelph.