A four-goal opening period was ultimately the difference for the Soo Greyhounds on Saturday night and it meant the first loss of the Ontario Hockey League regular season for the club.
Early struggles meant a 4-3 loss to the Sudbury Wolves Saturday in the opening game of a short two-game homestand for the Greyhounds at the GFL Memorial Gardens and there were plenty of ways to describe it from a Greyhounds perspective.
“I’m disappointed,” said Greyhounds coach John Dean of the opening period. “We were extremely flat, lacked compete, lacked intensity.”
“We didn’t come prepared to compete against a team that works extremely hard,” Dean also said.
Early mistakes put the Greyhounds behind the eight-ball early in the game.
A turnover defensively by Cole MacKay led to Sudbury’s first goal and the Wolves went up 3-0 before the game was 10 minutes old thanks to goals on both ends of a double minor to Greyhounds defenceman Ryan O’Rourke.
Dean called the double minor, which saw O’Rourke hit with a second minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play, was a “valuable lesson” because of the power play goals.
Owen Gilhula opened the scoring for the Wolves while Owen Robinson and MacAuley Carson extended the lead with goals on the power play. David Levin had the other goal in the opening period for the Wolves and finished the night with a goal and two assists.
On the heels of a win over Peterborough on Friday night at home, Wolves coach Cory Stillman called Saturday’s game “a nice win on the road.”
“It makes for a good weekend for us, playing two top teams,” Stillman added.
Generating offence in the final two periods was also an issue.
“Our work ethic was there,” Dean said. “I don’t think we generated enough scoring chances. When you take 20 minutes off against a good hockey club, the new buzz-word is you don’t want to be chasing the game and we had to chase the game for the entirety of it.”
Jaden Peca got the Greyhounds on the board with a power play goal in the opening period and cut the Wolves lead to 4-2 in the second period with a penalty shot goal after being pulled down on a breakaway.
O’Rourke had the other goal for the Greyhounds.
“We didn’t get too defensive, they just took it to us,” Stillman said of the final 40 minutes, which saw the Greyhounds outshoot the Wolves 23-9.
Goaltender Christian Purboo, who gave up three goals on five shots before being pulled in Friday’s win over Peterborough, stopped 28 Greyhounds shots on Saturday night.
“In the second and third, he played well,” Stillman said. “It was a big bounce-back game from him.”
Christian Propp got the start for the Greyhounds but was pulled after Sudbury’s fourth goal and made seven saves in the game.
Ethan Taylor stopped all 11 shots he faced the rest of the way.
Dean said he had not made a decision on who would start Sunday’s game against Peterborough.
The Greyhounds will take a 4-1-0-0 record into Sunday’s clash with the Petes, a 2:07 p.m. start at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
The win improves Sudbury’s record to 5-2-0-0
In other action around the OHL on Saturday night, in Erie, Maxim Golod had a goal and an assist as the Erie Otters beat the Kingston Frontenacs 4-1.
In Hamilton, Ty Tullio had a pair of goals as the Oshawa Generals beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3. Serron Noel had a goal and two assists for the Generals.
In Windsor, shootout goals by Daniel D’Amico and Egor Afanasyev were the difference as the Windsor Spitfires beat the Barrie Colts 3-2. Kari Piiroinen made 36 saves and stopped two of three shooters in the shootout for Windsor.
In Owen Sound, Adam McMaster and Aidan Dudas had a goal and two assists each as the Owen Sound Attack beat the Flint Firebirds 7-3. Kirill Nizhnikov had a pair of goals for Owen Sound. Ty Dellandrea had a goal and two assists for Flint.