It hasn’t happened very often.
For a team that lost just once in regulation time on home ice in the regular season, Thursday, that feeling hit the Soo Greyhounds again.
The Greyhounds fell 4-1 to the Owen Sound Attack on Thursday night in the opening game of their Western Conference semifinal series at the Essar Centre.
The loss was the first by the Greyhounds in regulation time on home ice since their home opener on Sept. 23 against the Oshawa Generals.
Costly turnovers early in the game were the difference for the Greyhounds.
“A game like this is a game of mistakes and the team that makes the fewest mistakes usually wins and the first period was the deciding factor,” said Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister. “I didn’t think we played badly but we made three bad turnovers that ended up in the back of our net.”
Owen Sound scored goals 30 seconds apart midway through the period as Nick Suzuki and Alan Lyszczarczyk converted chanced while defenceman Sean Durzi scored with 1.6 seconds to go in the period to give the Attack a 3-0 lead through 20 minutes.
Bannister also spoke of the Greyhounds passing up chances at times that could have helped make a difference in the game.
“We had some golden opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on to make that game a little bit closer,” Bannister said. “When you do that, it’s hard to fight yourself back into a hockey game.”
Ethan Szypula had the other goal for the Attack, scoring into an empty net late in the third period. Szypula and Suzuki had a goal and an assist each for the Attack while veteran forward Brett McKenzie assisted on a pair of goals.
Boris Katchouk had the lone goal for the Greyhounds. Goaltender Matthew Villalta made 34 saves.
While penalties were an issue at times, Owen Sound Coach Todd Gill spoke of the Attack at even strength as being solid.
“Five-on-five, we did what we had to do,” Gill said.
“The third period, we had a really good period taking what they gave us and not giving anything up,” Gill also said.
Olivier Lafreniere made 28 saves for Owen Sound.
“In some instances, we passed up some opportunities to shoot the puck” Bannister said. “We had open nets and we missed. At the end of the day, you have to be able to score on an open net.”
Bannister called puck management and creating more second chances as two of the biggest adjustments the team needs to make heading into game two on Friday night.
“We have to fight inside their defencemen and find second chances and get pucks to the net,” Bannister said. “As a goalie, if you don’t have to make a save, it’s an easy night. I don’t think we challenged their goalie enough by putting pucks on him.”
Gill called discipline the biggest adjustment the Attack want to make heading into game two.
“We have to stay out of the penalty box,” Gill said. “You can’t allow a power play like that on the ice. It’s a little unusual for us to do that but we dodged a bullet.”
Puck drop for game two on Friday is set for 7:07 p.m. at the Essar Centre before the series shifts to Owen Sound for games three and four on Monday and Wednesday nights.
In other playoff action around the league on Thursday night, Isaac Nurse scored 6:32 into overtime to give the Hamilton Bulldogs a 5-4 win over the Niagara IceDogs in Hamilton. Nurse had a pair of goals while MacKenzie Entwistle assisted on three goals as the Bulldogs take a 1-0 series lead over Niagara.
On Wednesday night, Jason Willms scored 1:58 into overtime as the Barrie Colts took a 1-0 series lead over the Kingston Frontenacs thanks to a 6-5 victory in Barrie. Willms had two goals and an assist for Barrie. Jason Robertson had a goal and two assists while Cliff Pu assisted on three goals for Kingston.