They called it the best 40 minutes they’ve played as a team this season and it was a major difference-maker.
The Soo Greyhounds outshot the Sudbury Wolves 27-11 through 40 minutes en route to a 5-2 Ontario Hockey League victory over the Sudbury Wolves on Saturday night at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
The Greyhounds led 3-2 through two periods but limited the Wolves offensively throughout.
“The first 40 might have been our most complete 40 minutes of the season (as a team),” said Greyhounds Coach John Dean. “It’s not all about scoring goals. We played the right way and had lots of chances.
“(Sudbury) had a good push there in the third,” Dean said. “We still played a pretty good period and our special teams rose to the occasion.”
The game was a struggle for the Wolves through two periods.
“We didn’t generate much and we turned pucks over,” Wolves Coach Cory Stillman said of the first two periods.
“If you don’t show up and play the game right for 60 minutes, you’re going to lose hockey games,” Stillman also said. “Today we played for 20 minutes and it’s not good enough.”
With the Wolves pushing in the third period, forward David Levin took a penalty and the Greyhounds took advantage of the power play midway through the frame. Cole MacKay scored on a rebound of a Zack Trott shot to make it 4-2 Greyhounds. The goal was one of a pair of goals on the man advantage for the Greyhounds in the win.
“Credit to Cole MacKay, he did a great job ad the net-front and Mac Hollowell keeps the play alive on the power play,” Dean said. Jamie Tardif has those guys going. Every time they get on the ice, whether it’s with Morgan Frost and Barrett Hayton or not, that power play is pretty dangerous.”
“That goal was huge and special teams were huge for us tonight,” Dean added.
“We come back in the game and make it 3-2 and then we take a penalty 200 feet away from out net and they score on the power play,” Stillman said. “That’s the difference in the hockey game. We were pushing and gave them an opportunity on the power play.”
The Greyhounds proceeded to seal the win with a shorthanded goal into an empty Sudbury net off the stick of veteran defenceman Jordan Sambrook with 3:02 to go in regulation time.
The locals finished the night 2-for-2 on the power play while holding the Wolves off the scoresheet on four man advantages.
Matthew Villalta made 23 saves for the Greyhounds, including 14 in the final period.
“That’s the Matty I’m used to seeing,” Dean said. “When Sudbury gave their real good push in the third period, Matty was the difference for sure.”
Hollowell finished the night with a goal and an assist for the Greyhounds while Tye Kartye also had two points with a pair of assists.
Jacob LeGuerrier and Brett Jacklin also scored for the Greyhounds.
Darian Pilon had a goal and an assist for Sudbury while Peter Stratis also scored.
Goaltender Jake McGrath made 31 saves.
Kalvyn Watson, a fifth round pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection who signed with the Greyhounds on Friday, got into his first OHL game on Saturday and earned praise from his coach.
“He really displayed the potential he has with the puck and his creative mind,” Dean said. “He made some plays out there that didn’t look like a rookie in his first game.”
The Greyhounds improve to 22-9-4-1 heading into a road trip that begins on Thursday night in Sarnia against the Sting. The trip will see the team move on to London to face the Knights on Friday before wrapping up in Flint on Sunday afternoon against the Firebirds.
The Wolves fall to 21-11-1-1.
In other action around the league on Saturday, in Hamilton, Pavel Gogolev scored at 1:51 of overtime to give the Guelph Storm a 4-3 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs. Gogolev finished the day with a goal and three assists.
In Flint, C.J. Clarke had a pair of goals as the Flint Firebirds beat the Windsor Spitfires 5-2. Ethan Keppen and Eric Uba chipped in with a goal and an assist each for Flint.
In Kingston, Kirill Maksimov had three goals and an assist as the Niagara IceDogs blanked the Kingston Frontenacs 8-0. Oliver Castleman added a pair of goals. Matthew Philip assisted on three Niagara goals while Stephen Dhillon stopped 30 shots for the shutout.
In Peterborough, Nick Robertson had the shootout winner as the Peterborough Petes beat the Mississauga Steelheads 3-2. Jacob Ingham made 39 saves for Mississauga. Alan Lyszczarczyk had both Mississauga goals.
In Saginaw, Danny Katic and Reagan O’Grady had a goal and an assist each as the Saginaw Spirit beat the Erie Otters 6-4. Cole Coskey, Bode Wilde and Cole Perfetti assisted on two goals each for Saginaw.
In Barrie, Christian Propp made 15 saves as the North Bay Battalion blanked the Barrie Colts 3-0. The Battalion scored three times in the second period en route to the win.
In Owen Sound, Jonathan Yantsis had two goals and an assist as the Kitchener Rangers beat the Owen Sound Attack 6-2. Greg Meireles and Ryan Stepien had a goal and an assist each for Kitchener. Mike Petizian assisted on a pair of Kitchener goals.