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MacKay, Katchouk, Frost lead Greyhounds

Cole MacKay scored his first two OHL goals on home ice in a win by the Soo Greyhounds

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It wasn’t perfect, but capitalizing on some opportunities helped the Soo Greyhounds on Wednesday night.

Boris Katchouk scored with 35.9 seconds left in overtime to give the Greyhounds a 5-4 victory over the Sudbury Wolves in Ontario Hockey League action. For Katchouk, the winner gives him five game-winners on the season in 16 games.

“My confidence has just grown this year,” Katchouk said. “It’s turned into good, positive energy.”

Sault Ste. Marie native Cole MacKay had a big night for the Greyhounds, scoring a pair of goals in the victory.

“I have really no words,” MacKay said of scoring his first two OHL goals at home. “Putting those two in the net is crazy and to do it in front of that crowd.”

The line of MacKay, Katchouk and Morgan Frost combined for 10 points

“We’re going well right now,” MacKay said. “They’re both amazing players and if you work hard, good things will happen with them.”

In addition to MacKay’s two goals, Katchouk potted a pair and assisted on three goals while Frost also assisted on three goals.

In five games since returning from injury, MacKay has two goals and five points. 

“To come back from injury and produce the way I have is special and to get wins is the most important,” MacKay said. “For me, to help the team win is what I’m trying to do and if we keep winning, I’m happy.”

Rookie defenceman Rasmus Sandin had the other goal for the Greyhounds.

Goaltender Tyler Johnson got the start for the Greyhounds, coming off a shutout on the road over the weekend, but struggled and was pulled after surrendering four goals on 13 shots. 

“Our goaltending wasn’t what we expected it to be,” Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister said.

“But sometimes when goalies don’t get a lot of work, it’s more difficult to stay in and game, and that could have been the case (Wednesday),” Bannister also said. “At the end of the day, you expect your goalies to make certain saves.” 

Matthew Villalta came in and stopped all eight shots he faced the rest of the way.

Owen Gilhula scored a pair of goals for the Wolves while Dmitry Sokolov and Noah Serre also scored.

“We worked hard tonight and that’s the identity of our team,” said Wolves Coach Cory Stillman. We try to outwork teams and we did that for 40 minutes.”

The Wolves held a 4-2 lead through 40 minutes before the Greyhounds scored a pair of early goals in the third to tie the game and force overtime.

“I didn’t think we competed really hard over that 40 minutes,” Bannister said. “We created opportunities but there wasn’t a lot of finish because I didn’t think we bared down on our opportunities.”

Wolves goaltender Jake McGrath stopped 40 shots.

“We’re going home now to play Friday night against Niagara and he’s going to be between the pipes and if he can put in that effort again, we have another great chance to win,” Stillman said.

The Greyhounds’ three-game homestand continues on Saturday against the Niagara IceDogs. Puck drop at the Essar Centre is set for 7:07 p.m. with the weekend set wrapping up in a 2:07 p.m. puck drop on Sunday afternoon against the North Bay Battalion.

Greyhounds rookies Hayden Fowler and Joe Carroll missed Wednesday’s matchup with the Wolves as they are set to compete in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge this week in British Columbia. 

The event is set to begin on Nov. 5.

On Wednesday, Greyhounds rookie forward Brett Jacklin was named the OHL Academic Player of the Month for October for the West Division.

Jacklin maintained an 88 per cent average in University level math advanced functions, accounting and chemistry courses at Superior Heights.

In other action around the OHL on Wednesday, Kole Sherwood had two goals and two assists as the Kitchener Rangers went on the road and beat the Erie Otters 7-3. Cole Carter and Connor Bunnaman also had two goals each for the Rangers.

In Ottawa, Jeremy Helvig made 28 saves as the Kingston Frontenacs beat the Ottawa 67’s 5-1. Linus Nyman had a goal and an assist for the Frontenacs. 

In Saginaw, Damien Giroux had a goal and two assists as the Saginaw Spirit beat the Flint Firebirds 5-3. Trailing 3-1, Saginaw scored four times in the third period to pick up the victory.