As the Ontario Hockey League moves towards the Christmas break, the Soo Greyhounds continue to win.
In a game that wasn’t perfect, the Greyhounds skated to a 4-1 victory over the Flint Firebirds Wednesday night at the Essar Centre.
The win extends the Greyhounds winning streak to 18 games.
A solid response in the third period after struggling in the second period helped lift the Greyhounds to the victory.
“The second period we weren’t very good. In the first period we were ok but there were some tendencies slipping into our game,” said Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister, “but in the third we had a better response.”
“It wasn’t a good performance but at the end of the day we still went out and won,” Bannister said.
Morgan Frost paced the Greyhounds with a pair of goals while Hayden Verbeek had a goal and an assist.
Defenceman Mac Hollowell also had a multi-point night as the veteran assisted on two goals.
Keeghan Howdeshell had the other goal for the Greyhounds.
Greyhounds goaltender Tyler Johnson stopped 26 shots.
“He’s been really good,” Bannister said. “He’s settling in with the group and he’s comfortable with his position on the team. He’s had four of five really good starts in a row.
Maurizio Colella had the lone goal for the Firebirds.
Goaltender Garrett Forrest made 28 saves.
“If you would have told me we would be down by one going into the third period here I’d probably take it,” said Flint Coach Ryan Oulahen said. “We were in good shape, but you could see the difference. We’re probably two years behind these guys (in development). We get grade-A scoring chances and we panic and pass up shots. (The Greyhounds) are so dangerous, they get anything and they make the most of it.”
Oulahen said he was pleased with the Firebirds’ ability to get some offensive zone time against the Greyhounds.
“There were times where we were able to get in on the forecheck and develop some o-zone time,” Oulahen said. “The only way to defend them is to play in their end. You’ve seen them eat up every team in the league right now with their o-zone that’s really dynamic. I was happy with when we were able to get in on the forecheck and be physical, we created a lot of turnovers.”
The Greyhounds improve to 27-3-2-0 and gain two points on the Sarnia Sting in the OHL’s West Division as the Sting lost to the Saginaw Spirit on Wednesday night. The Greyhounds move six points ahead of the Sting atop the division and hold a game in hand.
The loss drops Flint’s record to 9-19-3-0.
The Greyhounds return to action on the weekend with a pair of road games ahead of the Christmas break. The team faces the Kitchener Rangers on Friday night before meeting the Guelph Storm on Saturday
In Wednesday’s other OHL game, Evan Cormier made 38 saves for the Spirit in the victory over the Sting. Brady Gilmour’s seventh goal of the season at 1:09 of the third period was the game-winner. Justin Fazio made 35 saves for the Sting.
Notes: The Greyhounds played the game without the services of a pair of veterans in forward Boris Katchouk and defenceman Conor Timmins. The pair are currently in St. Catharines competing in the selection camp for the Canadian National Junior Team.
Earlier in the day Wednesday, forward Barrett Hayton and defenceman Rasmus Sandin were included in the list of players who will compete in the annual Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects game in January.
The game is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2018 at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph.