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Overtime goal puts Greyhounds on brink of elimination

Brennan Othmann scored the overtime winner as the Flint Firebirds took a commanding series lead over the Soo Greyhounds
 

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Confidence is something the Soo Greyhounds have relied on this season and that’s not going to change as the team heads on the road facing a 3-1 series deficit against the Flint Firebirds.

An overtime goal by Brennan Othmann was the difference as the Firebirds beat the Greyhounds 3-2 on Thursday night in game four of their Ontario Hockey League Western Conference semifinal series.

Firebirds defenceman Zack Terry took a shot from the left point that was blocked by a Greyhounds player in the left circle and redirected to Othmann in the circle, who scored on an empty net and Greyhounds goaltender Tucker Tynan diving over to try to make the save.

The Firebirds scored three unanswered goals in the win after falling behind in the opening period when the Greyhounds scored a pair of goals just over three minutes apart.

“Tonight isn’t for lack of compete and lack of character, that’s for sure,” Greyhounds coach John Dean said. “I don’t like the middle frame. That’s been a problem for us against Flint so far, but for the most part, that’s not for lack of compete. We’ll go look at some things and make a couple of tweaks, but there’s a formula there and we found a lot of success in the first period and a reasonable amount of success in the third. If we can find a way to put 60 together, we’re in good shape.”

While the mood was quiet in the Greyhounds dressing room following the loss, forward Rory Kerins said he “wouldn’t say (the loss) takes anything out of us.”

“We played a good game. Just like every game in this series, a bounce either way could have gone to either team,” Kerins added. “We’re quiet in here, but we’re not down. We’re focused on the next game. We’ve got a job to do.”

Kerins also spoke of the number of scoring chances the team had in the game and some bounces that didn’t go the Greyhounds way,

“We had a good start,” Kerins said. “We came out strong. We were just missing that one more goal. We had some chances. I had a breakaway. I had an empty net and hit the post at the end of the game. We had bounces in the game that didn’t go our way.”

For the Firebirds, there was a lot to like in game four though it’s a game that will be put in the rear-view mirror relatively quickly.

“This is a tough building to play in,” Flint coach Ted Dent said. “We fought back from down 2-0 and I’m proud of the guys. They stuck with it and it’s one game at a time and one period at a time. We’ll forget about this tomorrow and get ready for Saturday.”

Dent said he felt the Firebirds showed some improvements as well following a 3-2 loss in game three on Tuesday.

“We played harder than the other night,” Dent said. “We played faster, but there are some areas for improvement. We were a little high-risk at times. There were a few turnovers that we would like to have back, but Cavvy (goaltender Luke Cavallin) saved our butt a few times in the third period and overtime.”

The Greyhounds got on the board first when Jack Thompson beat Cavallin from the right circle short side through traffic at 5:11 into the opening period.

Tye Kartye made it 2-0 Greyhounds 3:19 later when he beat Cavallin from the left circle high glove side with the Greyhounds on the power play.

Flint pulled to within one when Braeden Kressler beat Greyhounds starter Tucker Tynan after taking a pass in the slot from Dmitry Kuzmin below the goalline at 16:17. The goal came after Kuzmin circled the Greyhounds zone and then hit Kressler with a pass before circling the net.

Sahil Panwar tied the game for the Firebirds with 1:01 to go in the opening period when he took a shot from the right circle that found its way though a block attempt by Greyhounds defenceman Kirill Kudryavtsev and past Tynan.

Kerins and Cole MacKay finished the night with two assists each for the Greyhounds while Tynan made 33 saves.

Othmann finished the night with a goal and an assist for the Firebirds.

“He’s been opportunistic,” Dent said of the high scoring forward. “He finds a way to get it done and he’s in the right spots to score goals.”

Cavallin stopped 39 shots.

The series shifts to Flint for game five on Saturday night at the Dort Financial Center.

The Greyhounds remain confident heading into the game.

“We still believe we can win the series,” Kerins said.

“(The message is) go win a game,” Dean said. “You have 20-year-olds playing for their life amd the end of their careers and for some 19-year-olds, it’s the same. Go win one game and do it in a desperate fashion.”

Dean added that he’s confident that the team will respond well after the disappointment of Thursday’s loss.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that these guys will respond really well on Saturday, and we’ll take it from there,” Dean said.

If necessary, game six is scheduled for Monday night locally at the GFL Memorial Gardens.