There was a lot more to like on day two for the Soo Greyhounds.
A better start and rebounding well after having a four-goal lead erased helped the Greyhounds to a 6-4 Ontario Hockey League victory over the North Bay Battalion on Saturday night at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
The Greyhounds jumped out to a 4-0 lead early in the second period, only to have North Bay claw all the way back and tie the game before the home side scored a pair of goals in the third period to pick up the win.
Greyhounds coach John Dean said he was impressed with his team rebounding after North Bay came back in the game.
“Obviously, I’m not happy about blowing a four-goal lead, but a lot of teams would have folded the tent right there, especially a team on the more inexperienced side,” Dean said. “We fought very hard and got rewarded with it.”
Asked about North Bay battling back after falling behind, veteran forward Tyler Savard said the team is prepared for the potential of lulls in their game due to a young roster and the team was still confident after the lead was erased.
“Last year, I felt like we would get down because we had such high expectations,” Savard said.
“There was no panic (after North Bay tied the game),” Savard also said. “Everyone stayed positive. There was no negativity. We just kept going, kept working. I felt like we were never out of it.”
Savard added that, even as North Bay tied the game, the Greyhounds didn’t feel the loss in momentum.
“It never felt like that on the bench,” Savard said.
North Bay coach Ryan Oulahen said following the loss that there was little to like from a Battalion standpoint.
“We just didn’t like our game from the start all the way through,” Oulahen said. “You’re always trying to come back and win hockey games and we clawed back, but at the end of the day we didn’t deserve to be in that hockey game. It was pretty evident.”
Oulahen also said a lack of compete was evident in the loss as well for North Bay.
Following Friday’s loss, Dean spoke of wanting more for the veteran players on the roster and said the team got that in Saturday’s victory.
“We’ve got a lot of great returning guys and maybe yesterday they needed that wakeup call and they responded today,” Dean said.
The Greyhounds opened the scoring 3:19 in as Mark Duarte picked up his first goal as a Greyhounds, beating North Bay goaltender Charlie Robertson from just inside the blueline glove side on a shot that hit a stick on its way to the net.
Kirill Kudryavtsev extended the lead to 2-0 at 8:26 when his point shot deflected past Robertson glove side.
The locals took a 3-0 lead at 14:15 when Duarte sent the puck to the net from high in the North Bay zone and it redirected off a North Bay stick to Andrew Gibson, who beat Robertson, ending his night.
The Greyhounds went up 4-0 early in the second period when Justin Cloutier went to the net and scored on a rebound after Kudryavtsev's initial shot was stopped by North Bay goaltender Dom DiVincentiis at 3:26.
North Bay got on the board midway through the second period on the power play when Kyle Jackson took a pass in the slot from Ty Nelson and beat Charlie Schenkel glove side.
Nelson then made it 4-2 at 18:19 when he beat Schenkel with a shot from the right point.
With one second to go in the period Matvey Petrov cut the Sault lead to 4-3 when he took a cross-ice pass from Justin Ertel and beat Schenkel after initially not being able to get a shot off on the pass.
North Bay tied the game 3:53 into the third when the Greyhounds turned the puck over and Dalyn Wakely hit Liam Arnsby with a pass in the slot. The veteran forward then beat Schenkel to knot the game up.
On a delayed penalty, the Greyhounds pulled ahead as Tyler Savard scored on a rebound after Kalvyn Watson’s initial shot from the right wing was stopped at 12:30.
Watson made it 6-4 Greyhounds on the power play with 2:35 to go as he potted a loose puck in a scramble in close past DiVincentiis.
Gibson finished the night with a goal and two assists for the Greyhounds offensively. Duarte, Savard, Watson, and Kudryavtsev added one of each.
Schenkel stopped 34 shots for the Greyhounds.
“He gave us a chance to win again,” Dean said. “We felt bad because we thought he didn’t deserve to have a four-spot against him with how well he played.”
Nelson finished the night with a goal and two assists for the Battalion while Petrov had one of each in the loss.
Robertson stopped three of the six shots he faced in just over 14 minutes of work. DiVincentiis stopped 18 shots the rest of the way.
The Greyhounds return to action on Wednesday night at home against the Flint Firebirds. Puck drop at the GFL Memorial Gardens is set for 7:07 p.m.
On the injury front, overage defenceman Ryan Thompson was hurt in Friday’s game after blocking a shot in the second period. The veteran defenceman suffered a fracture in his foot on the play.
Initially thinking the injury was worse, Dean said Saturday night that it might not be as serious as first thought.
“We thought it might be week-to-week, but we’ve taken a second look at it and it looks like there’s potential for it being less than that,” Dean said.