A slow start was compounded by an offensive outburst and it turned into the difference for the Soo Greyhounds.
The Greyhounds struggled out of the gate on Sunday afternoon on the road and a four-goal outburst in the second period led to the team dropping a 5-2 decision on the road to the Hamilton Bulldogs in Ontario Hockey League action.
The loss ended the Greyhounds eight-game winning streak in the process.
In the opening period, the Greyhounds would miss the net on a number of quality scoring chances and struggled in the frame before rebounding early in the second period.
“We missed (the net) a lot and they were good chances, but we were missing the net high,” Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister said. “We weren’t good in the first. We didn’t seem like we were physically engaged at all.”
“The first half of the second period, we were really good,” Bannister also said. “We just weren’t able to score on our opportunities. We hit four or five crossbars and posts in that time.”
After a solid start to the period, the Greyhounds surrendered four goals in the final 10:34 of the period to fall behind 5-1 at the time and couldn’t battle back.
Matthew Villalta started in goal for the Greyhounds but was pulled after two periods. The sophomore netminder gave up five goals on 24 shots. Tyler Johnson entered the game for the third period and stopped all eight shots he faced.
“I’ve got to be better,” Villalta said.
“I just have to roll with it and get ready for the next opportunity I’m in the net,” Villalta also said. “It was one of those tough days.”
“That’s an off-game for him,” Bannister said of Villalta. “The way the game was going, it was best to take him out and get (Johnson) some ice time.”
Boris Katchouk and Hayden Verbeek scored for the Greyhounds.
MacKenzie Entwistle and Matthew Strome paced the Bulldogs with a goal and three assists each.
“It was a good character win,” Entwistle said in an interview with Cable14 television in Hamilton. “The Sault is a good team and they’ve got a lot of highly offensive guys and we shut them down.”
Entwistle added that rebounding from a disappointing loss at home on Saturday night against the Kitchener Rangers was big. The Bulldogs surrendered four unanswered goals in a 4-3 loss.
“It was a tough game,” Entwistle said. “We outshot them and were up 3-0. It was frustrating but that’s adversity and today we overcame that.”
Isaac Nurse, Will Bitten, and Ben Gleason had the other goals for the Bulldogs.
Hamilton goaltender Kaden Fulcher made 29 saves.
Conor Timmins remained out of the Greyhounds lineup Sunday, but Bannister said the veteran defenceman is close to getting back in the lineup. Timmins skated with the team on the weekend and took the warmup ahead of Sunday’s game.
The Greyhounds lost Keeghan Howdeshell early in the game to injury. Bannister said the seriousness of the injury, suffered early in the first period, wasn’t known.
“It changed the dynamic of our lineup,” Bannister said.
The loss drops the Greyhounds record to 45-6-2-1 while Hamilton remains atop the Eastern Conference with a 34-14-3-3.
The Greyhounds return to action on Wednesday night on the road in Saginaw against the Spirit before returning home for a pair of games next weekend, which includes a rematch against the Bulldogs on Friday night at the Essar Centre.
In other action around the OHL on Sunday, in Erie, Ivan Lodnia had the shootout winner as the Erie Otters beat the Mississauga Steelheads 3-2. Dan Murphy made 36 saves for the Otters and stopped all three shooters he faced in the shootout.
In Guelph, Liam Foudy scored at 3:48 of overtime to lift the London Knights to a 3-2 win over the Guelph Storm. Foudy finished the night with a pair of goals.
In Kingston, three unanswered goals lifted the Kingston Frontenacs to a 3-2 win over the North Bay Battalion. Ryan Cranford paced the Frontenacs with a goal and an assist. Jakob Brahaney assisted on a pair of Kingston goals.
In Ottawa, Sasha Chmelevski had a pair of goals as the Ottawa 67’s beat the Owen Sound Attack 4-3. Ottawa scored four times in the third period en route to the win. Olivier Tremblay made 41 saves for Ottawa.
In Sarnia, a goal by Jordan Ernst at 3:39 of the third period was the game-winner as the Sarnia Sting beat the Sudbury Wolves 5-4. Jonathan Ang and Connor Schlichting had a goal and two assists for the Sting, who scored four unanswered goals in the win
In Windsor, Michael DiPietro made 24 saves as the Windsor Spitfires blanked the Niagara IceDogs 2-0. Curtis Douglas had a goal and an assist for the Spitfires.
In Oshawa, Allan McShane and Danil Antropov had two goals each as the Oshawa Generals beat the Peterborough Petes 7-5. Kenny Huether chipped in with a goal and two assists for the Generals. Jack Studnicka set up three goals for the Generals. Nick Robertson had two goals and an assist for the Petes while Nikita Korostelev and Matthew Timms also had three-point nights for the Petes with a goal and two assists each.