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Overtime goal moves Greyhounds within win of advancing

Owen Allard was the overtime hero for the Soo Greyhounds on Monday night

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It looked bleak.

They had fallen behind by a 4-1 margin with their starting goaltender chased from the game and nearly half the game left to be played.

It took just over 20 minutes of play for the Soo Greyhounds to turn a disappointing game into an important victory as the team picked up a 5-4 overtime win Monday night at Guelph’s Sleeman Centre to put the Guelph Storm on the brink of playoff elimination.

With the win, the Greyhounds now lead the best-of-7 playoff series 3-0 in the opening round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

A power play goal in the opening minute of overtime ended the game thanks to an adjustment made heading into the period.

“It was a really great dish by (Gavin) Hayes,” said forward Owen Allard, who scored the game-winner. “It was really well executed by the coaching staff and the boys.”

Greyhounds coach John Dean said the adjustment was made to throw off the Storm, who the Greyhounds felt would be expecting more of the same from what they’ve seen from the Greyhounds power play to that point.

“We were running a very particular set play all game,” Dean said. “(Assistant coach Brendan Taylor) suggested we go to our secondary set play.”

“Deaner told me, once I move down to (Jacob) Frasca, go east/west and there will be a split second where you can get a shot off,” Allard also said in describing the goal.”

Greyhounds captain Bryce McConnell-Barker credited the Greyhounds coaching staff for the decision to make the adjustment.

“We were using me a lot for the shooter, and we decided to switch it up and we drew up a play and it worked to perfection,” McConnell-Barker said.

Dean said some of the wind got taken out of the Greyhounds sails after Guelph scored to make it 3-1 in the second period.

“I was very disappointed in our blueline play,” Dean said. “We lacked a lot of pace in the second period, but the tail end of the second period when we started our rally, you could see more decisive choice to get pucks in behind their D (and) forecheck and pressure them, get pucks to paint.”

“We’re a team that’s never out of a game,’ McConnell-Barker also said.

“We have so much confidence in our group,” McConnell-Barker added. “We’ve come back from big leads. We’re a really resilient group.”

Allard said positivity on the bench played a major role in the comeback as well.

“Everybody believing, that was the biggest thing,” Allard said. “You have to believe in those moments, and it really paid off tonight.”

For the Storm, discipline was an issue in the game.

"A lack of discipline by us by taking penalties, we shoot ourselves in the foot and credit to them they capitalized on the opportunities," said Storm assistant coach Rob Collins, who was handling media responsibilities after the game in place of head coach Chad Wiseman. Wiseman was tossed from the game for arguing a call in the final minute of the third period.

"Five on five, we were really solid,” Collins added in an interview with GuelphToday. “We had discipline in the game plan, and we had buy-in from everybody. Where we came up short is we took too many penalties tonight...we've got to find a way to stay out of the penalty box."

After the teams skated through a scoreless opening period, Guelph wasted little time opening the scoring in the second period.

Just 80 seconds into the frame, Vilmer Alriksson followed up on a play that saw his initial shot blocked by Greyhounds defenceman Kirill Kudryavtsev and proceeded to beat Sault goaltender Charlie Schenkel from in close to give Guelph the lead.

The Storm extended the lead thanks to a goal by rookie Parker Snelgrove. The young forward scored on a rebound after Schenkel stopped a redirection by Leo Serlin initially at 3:52.

The Greyhounds made it a one-goal game 1:36 later as Jacob Frasca scored on a loose puck in the crease after Guelph starter Brayden Gillespie made a save on Sault forward Jordan D’Intino but couldn’t hold onto the puck after making the save.

Guelph restored the two-goal lead at 8:38 as Charlie Paquette scored on the power play in tight after shots by Jett Luchanko and Gavin Grundner were blocked on the way to the net.

Brody Crane then ended Schenkel’s night as he went to the net and took a pass from Hunter McKenzie and beat the Sault netminder at 10:52.

The Greyhounds pulled back to within two as Bryce McConnell-Barker took a pass from Frasca off a faceoff win and proceeded to beat Gillespie on the power play at 17:35 to make it a 4-2 game.

The visitors then made it a one-goal game with 1:57 to go in the period as Gavin Hayes went to the net and redirected a shot by Kudryavtsev past Gillespie.

The Greyhounds tied the game with 5:08 to go in the third period as Kudryavtsev took a pass from Arttu Karki, skated into the left circle, and beat Gillespie to knot the game up at four.

Guelph nearly retook the lead late while killing a two-man advantage, but Grundner was turned aside on a shorthanded breakaway by Greyhounds goaltender Landon Miller after a neutral zone turnover.

With 14.1 seconds to go in regulation time, Paquette took a check to the head minor penalty that proceeded to carry over into the extra frame where the Greyhounds capped off the comeback.

Just 57 seconds into overtime, Owen Allard skated into the slot, took a pass from Gavin Hayes in the left corner and beat Gillespie 5-hole to give the visitors the win.

Frasca and McConnell-Barker had a goal and two assists each for the Greyhounds in the victory.

Hayes and Kudryavtsev added a goal and an assist each for the Greyhounds.

Schenkel made nine saves on 13 shots for the Sault in just under 31 minutes of work while Miller stopped all eight shots he faced in relief.

Dean said he felt the Greyhounds didn’t make life easier for Schenkel in the game.

“We pull the goalie just to get a little bit more jump in our legs and wake up our guys,” Dean said.

Dean added that he felt Miller was “the star of the game.”

Grundner had a pair of assists for the Storm.

Gillespie, making his first start of the series after missing the opening two games due to injury, stopped 33 shots.

Game four is set for Wednesday night in Guelph. If necessary, game five is in Sault Ste. Marie on Friday night.

Jack Beck remained out of the lineup Monday night while the Greyhounds were also without rookie forward Travis Hayes due to an upper body injury.

Dean said Hayes is out day-to-day after suffering an injury in Saturday’s game. Dean also said that Beck travelled with the team as planned and his status is day-to-day.

With injuries already a factor for the Storm, Guelph played Monday’s contest without veteran forwards Jake Karabela and Braeden Bowman due to injuries suffered in game two on Saturday night in the Sault.

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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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