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Lost battles mean 2-0 deficit for Greyhounds returning home

An early onslaught lifted the Saginaw Spirit to a convincing win over the Soo Greyhounds on Sunday night

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In a word, embarrassed.

That was the mood from the Soo Greyhounds following a 10-1 game two loss to the Saginaw Spirit at the Dow Event Center in Saginaw on Sunday evening in Ontario Hockey League playoff action.

It’s a game they plan to put behind them as they return home and prepare for game three of their Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday at the GFL Memorial Gardens.

“There were a lot of different breakdowns in our game,” Greyhounds captain Barrett Hayton said. “We just made it way too easy and gave them way too much and left our goalies out to dry.”

“It looked like we didn’t want the puck tonight,” said Greyhounds coach John Dean. “It looked like we didn’t want to make plays. We were mishandling the puck and not making clean plays trying to come out of our zone right from top to bottom. We looked a little timid and shy with the puck and that translated to timid and shy in defensive zone coverage.”

The Spirit opened up a 5-0 lead through 20 minutes en route to the victory

“They won every battle tonight and it started right from the drop of the puck,” Dean said. “Some goals that were scored early on were a result of losing puck battles. In the playoffs, if you’re going to lose the 50/50 battles on a consistent basis, you’re going to end up with 10-1 scores against.”

Despite the result, the confidence hasn’t wavered for the Greyhounds.

“There’s a reflection period and you have to learn and learn quick from it,” Hayton said. “We’re still a confident group. We have to learn fast and move on for game three.”

“We have to have way more intent in our game,” Hayton said of game three.

“We have to compete like our season is on the line,” Dean said about Tuesday’s game.

Sault native Nick Porco had two goals and two assists for the Spirit in the victory.

“He’s played unbelievable down the stretch,” Spirit coach Chris Lazary said on the Spirit television broadcast. “He’s really taken his game to another level but hadn’t been rewarded with points and then tonight it fell his way.”

Ryan McLeod also had two goals and two assists for the Spirit.

Blade Jenkins chipped in with two goals and an assist.

Owen Tippett, Mason Millman and Brady Gilmour also had three points nights with a goal and two assists each.

Sault native Camaryn Baber also had a goal for Saginaw while goaltender Ivan Prosvetov stopped 42 shots.

Mac Hollowell had the lone goal for the Greyhounds.

Goaltender Matthew Villalta got the start but was pulled after the fifth Saginaw goal in the first period. The veteran did return to action to start the second period before being pulled again.

Villalta finished the night with 14 saves on 21 shots.

Ethan Taylor made 18 saves, also on 21 shots.

Game notes: Zack Trott and Joe Carroll remained out of the lineup for the Greyhounds with injuries.

The Spirit played Sunday’s contest without overage defenceman Reagan O’Grady due to an injury suffered in game one. The veteran is day-to-day.

Jake Goldowski sat out the game after receiving a cross checking major in game one. The sophomore forward was suspended one game for the incident.

The five-goal first period was a Spirit record for most goals in a period in the playoffs.

The previous record was four, set in 2007 and also against the Greyhounds.

In other action around the OHL on Sunday three teams took 2-0 series leads.

In Ottawa, Tye Felhaber had a goal and two assists as the Ottawa 67’s blanked the Sudbury Wolves 5-0. Noel Hoefenmayer chipped in with a pair of goals. Michael DiPietro stopped 27 shots for Ottawa.

In St. Catharines, Jason Robertson had two goals and an assist as the Niagara IceDogs beat the Oshawa Generals 5-1. Ivan Lodnia added a goal and two assists for the IceDogs.

In London, the London Knights scored five times in the third period to beat the Guelph Storm 7-0. Kevin Hancock had two goals and an assist for the Knights. Goaltender Jordan Kooy made 27 saves for the shutout.


Brad Coccimiglio

About the Author: Brad Coccimiglio

A graduate of Loyalist College’s Sports Journalism program, Brad Coccimiglio’s work has appeared in The Hockey News as well as online at in addition to regular freelance work with SooToday before joining the team full time.
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