For Soo Greyhounds coach John Dean, he’s much happier having his players learn from mistakes in wins than losses and that was the case on Saturday night.
After an opening night win on Friday, the Greyhounds picked up a 6-4 Ontario Hockey League win over the North Bay Battalion at the GFL Memorial Gardens, but it wasn’t necessarily a pretty win
The team recovered from a slow start in the opening period but needed a pair of goals in the second half of the third period to beat the Battalion.
“In the first 10 minutes, we came out really flat,” Dean said. “We’re trying to teach guys to consistently make plays and when you play that style and come out flat, you look really bad.
“We responded well in the second half of the first period and our second period was an exceptional response to the first period,” Dean added. “The third period left a lot to be desired. We let them crawl back into the game and once they score the trying goal, they really put us on our heels. The message after the game was that we need to learn to win in different ways and good for us that we did. We need to remain poised and confident no matter what happens.”
North Bay got the game on even terms in the third period thanks to goals by Alex Christopoulos and Liam Arnsby.
“There was some resolve in our group,” said North Bay assistant coach Adam Dennis, who handled the coaching duties in place of Stan Butler, who didn’t make the trip. “We had a letdown in the second and you probably expect coming off the bus to have that in the first period but our first period was good. (In the second period), we sat back and got a little bit comfortable and give the Hounds credit, they came back and took it to us in the second and that was the difference.”
Jaromir Pytlik broke the tie for the Greyhounds with 8:15 to go and proceeded to seal the win with an empty net goal in the final minute of play.
“When he wants to play big and strong, he can physically dominate,” Dean said. “And he’s got an unbelievable shot. He took over, especially with (the game winner). It’s a big man’s goal on an unbelievable release.”
Pytlik also had an assist in the game to finish the night with three points.
Zack Trott and Ryan Roth also had three points with a goal and two assists each.
Rory Kerins and Cole MacKay also scored for the Greyhounds.
Goaltender Christian Propp finished the night with 20 saves.
Mitchell Russell had a goal and an assist for the Battalion while Mason Primeau had the other North Bay goal. Braden Henderson assisted on a pair of goals.
Goaltender Christian Cicigoi stopped 21 shots.
Dennis called the game a “young loss.”
“There were some mistakes that were definitely preventable,” Dennis said. “What our hope is that a month from now, our young guys won’t make those same mistakes and we’ll get a better result.”
The Greyhounds return to action on Sept. 27 at home against the Kitchener Rangers.
North Bay is set to host the Rangers on Sept. 26.
In other action around the OHL on Friday night, in Hamilton, Jamie Drysdale had a goal and four assists as the Erie Otters beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 8-5. Chad Yetman had a pair of goals for Erie. Avery Hayes had two goals and an assist for Hamilton.
In Saginaw, Jake Durham scored three times as the Flint Firebirds beat the Saginaw Spirit 4-1.
In Windsor, the Windsor Spitfires scored five times in the third period to beat the Peterborough Petes 9-6. Tyler Angle, Curtis Douglas, and Jean-Luc Foudy had two goals each for Windsor. Semyon Der-Arguchintsev assisted on four goals for Peterborough.
In Barrie, four third period goals broke a 2-2 tie as the Barrie Colts beat the London Knights 6-2. Matej Pekar had three goals and an assist for the Colts.
In Owen Sound, shootout goals by Marco Rossi and Graeme Clarke lifted the Ottawa 67’s to a 4-3 win over the Owen Sound Attack.