It came down to capitalizing on their chances.
For the Soo Greyhounds, they were happy with a lot of things on Friday night, but disappointed with the result as the team opened its final homestand of the Ontario Hockey League season with a 3-0 loss to the Windsor Spitfires at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
Compete level and work ethic certainly weren’t an issue for Greyhounds coach John Dean in the game.
“We played a really nice game tonight,” Dean said. “We competed right to the final whistle.”
“We had a lot of opportunities to score in general in the game,” Dean added. “We just have to find a way to capitalize on our chances.”
Overage forward Mark Duarte agreed.
“We’re putting the work in and we’ve got guys buying in still. Even though we’re out of a playoff spot, no one has checked out or gave in,” Duarte said. “That’s a good sign for next year.”
“We played really well,” Duarte also said.
Dean added that he saw an improvement from Wednesday’s loss in Sudbury as well.
“We were a lot better here tonight than we were in Sudbury, (but that’s) two games in a row that we had a chance to win hockey games and we haven’t been able to do that,” Dean said. “That starts to hurt a little bit. It starts to sting, especially when really all we’re shooting for is to compete, play for each other, and some pride.”
The Spitfires played the game shorthanded due to injury and coach Marc Savard was pleased with the effort of his team, especially Windsor’s top players, many of whom figured into the scoring in the game.
“There’s taxing minutes and it’s been a long time,” Savard said.
“Guys just keep stepping up and that’s the amazing thing about our team,” Savard added. “It’s just next man up.”
Savard added that he felt the Spitfires “played a pretty sound game.”
“Our two-one-two early was fantastic in the first two periods,” Savard added. “We switched to a one-two-two there late and I’m proud of the guys, the way they dug in and everybody competed tonight.”
Goaltender Joey Costanzo was also solid in the win, stopping all 33 shots he faced.
“Obviously he was excellent tonight,” Savard said.
“He’s a heart and soul guy too. He never stops battling,” Savard added.
Matthew Maggio opened the scoring as he went to the net and redirected a pass from Jacob Maillet past Charlie Schenkel to complete a three-way passing play started by Brett Harrison at 7:46 of the opening period.
Shane Wright made it a 2-0 game as he took a pass in the left circle from Matthew Maggio and beat Schenkel glove side at 5:40 of the second period.
Brett Harrison extended the lead further, beating Schenkel with a one-timer short side from the right faceoff circle on a feed from defenceman Jacob Holmes at 12:59.
Schenkel made 31 saves for the Greyhounds in the loss.
Offensively for the Spitfires, Harrison and Maggio had a goal and an assist each.
The two teams are set to wrap up their season series on Saturday night in a 7:07 p.m. start locally.
For the Greyhounds, Friday’s loss drops their record to 18-32-9-6 on the season.
Windsor improves to 42-16-4-2 on the season and remains two points ahead of the London Knights, who also won on Friday night, for top spot in the OHL’s Western Conference.