Result aside, the effort was much better than what they saw on Wednesday night.
After dropping a 5-3 decision to the Saginaw Spirit on Wednesday night in a game that the team was not pleased with, the Soo Greyhounds dropped a 3-2 decision to the Oshawa Generals on Friday night in a game that the team felt they deserved a better fate.
“I’m disappointed for the kids,” said Greyhounds Coach John Dean. “We played a really strong game against a strong team.”
The result came down to what Dean said were three mistakes.
“We made three mistakes all night and all three end up in the back of our net,” Dean said. “I hope they know how hard they worked and I’m proud of the way they played. If we keep those efforts up for the rest of the year, I like the way we’re trending.”
Oshawa’s Nicolas Mattinen scored the game-winner with 5:38 to go in regulation time as he was stopped initially on a redirection while driving the net before scoring on the rebound.
“They scored two goals where they drove through us on the rush,” Dean said. “Our rush coverage was poor on both. Those are two of the mistakes we made all night. Unfortunately, those are lessons learned for us.”
Generals Coach Greg Walters credited the Greyhounds in the game as well.
“They played an extremely good game,” Walters said. “We were lucky to get one (late) and we were really good at blocking shots and protecting the lead.
Despite the result, the improved effort from Wednesday night against Saginaw was a major positive for the Greyhounds.
“We laid an egg against Saginaw and I’m proud of the way the guys came out (against Oshawa),” Dean said. “Just the work ethic and compete. We made plays with the puck. We didn’t panic. We had good chances. Guys were blocking shots and tracking back. Guys were doing things that you need to do to win big games.”
Keeghan Howdeshell had a goal and an assist for the Greyhounds while Jaromir Pytlik also scored.
Goaltender Matthew Villalta made 21 saves.
Oshawa netminder Kyle Keyser made 27 saves.
“Keyser was unbelievable for us early,” Walters said.
“He’s one of the best goalies in the league and he gives us a chance every night,” Walters also said. “It was no different tonight.”
Mattinen had a goal and an assist for Oshawa.
Brett Neumann and Allan McShane also scored.
On the injury front, Barrett Hayton remained out of the lineup, as did rookie goaltender Ethan Taylor.
Dean said both players remain out day-to-day.
For Hayton, Dean said his injury is nagging and the team doesn’t want to rush the veteran back into the lineup.
With Taylor, Dean said the rookie netminder is close to getting back in the lineup.
“We’re not going to rush them,” Dean said. “There’s no need to.”
With the Saginaw Spirit off on Friday, the game was a missed opportunity for the Greyhounds to move two points ahead of the Spirit in the Ontario Hockey League’s West Division.
The Greyhounds fall to 39-15-6-1 heading into action on Sunday afternoon against the Owen Sound Attack at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
With a game in hand on the Greyhounds, Saginaw returns to action on Saturday night at home against the Kingston Frontenacs.
As the Generals battle for positioning in the OHL’s Eastern Conference, Friday’s win improves Oshawa’s record to 39-18-4-1. The team has won 11 of its last 13 games with the two losses coming in overtime.
In league news, Morgan Frost was named the OHL’s player of the month for January after scoring six goals and 25 points in 12 games.
In other action around the OHL on Friday night, in Kitchener, Alex Formenton had a goal and three assists as the London Knights beat the Kitchener Rangers 8-6. Liam Foudy had a pair of goals for London. Joseph Garreffa had a goal and three assists for the Rangers.
In Flint, Hakon Nilsen’s goal at 9:06 of the second period was the game winner as the Flint Firebirds beat the Kingston Frontenacs 3-2. Nilsen and Emmet Pierce had a goal and an assist each for Flint.
In Hamilton, Sasha Chmelevski had a goal and two assists as the Ottawa 67’s beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 5-3. Arthur Kaliyev had two goals and an assist for Hamilton.
In Mississauga, Alan Lyszczarczyk had two goals and an assist as the Mississauga Steelheads beat the Barrie Colts 6-3. Cole Schwindt assisted on three goals for the Steelheads. Barrie goaltender Jet Greaves made 38 saves.
In North Bay, Akil Thomas had a goal and two assists as the Niagara IceDogs beat the North Bay Battalion 6-4. Kirill Maksimov chipped in with a pair of goals for the IceDogs.
In Sudbury, MacAuley Carson had two goals and two assists as the Sudbury Wolves beat the Owen Sound Attack 9-1. Shane Bulitka also had a pair of goals for Sudbury.
In Guelph, Cedric Ralph had three goals and an assist as the Guelph Storm beat the Windsor Spitfires 11-4. MacKenzie Entwistle had two goals and two assists while Nate Schnarr had a goal and three assists for Guelph.