A strong performance on the power play and good goaltending helped the Soo Greyhounds snap a four-game losing skid on Sunday afternoon.
The team scored six times on the power play and got a 28-save performance from goaltender Ethan Taylor in an 11-2 Ontario Hockey League win over the North Bay Battalion Sunday at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
It was a game that saw some positives for the Greyhounds
“What’s nice is we found a way to battle,” said Greyhounds coach John Dean. “Obviously we’re having a tough time as a 20-man unit right now and our guys at least put their hearts out there and battled for the night.”
“Losing is stressful,” Dean also said. “I’m happy that the guys finally got some results.
With a strong performance from Taylor, the Greyhounds will look to whomever is playing well when it comes deciding between Taylor and overage Christian Propp for starts.
“He was great,” Dean said of Taylor. “He settled us down. He made some saves look easier than they are.”
“We’re at a point now where whomever is going is probably going to get the next start,” Dean also said.
For the Battalion, a Greyhounds goal that came on a delayed penalty call was a back breaker.
Battalion forward Brandon Coe looked to pass the puck to the blueline in the Greyhounds zone and it slid past a North Bay defenceman and into the empty Battalion goal. The Greyhounds proceeded to score shorthanded on the subsequent penalty as well.
The goal opened a stretch that also saw the Greyhounds score four times on a seven-minute power play in the third to blow the game completely open.
“The tough part is, the kid who got the penalty is our best penalty killer and then the guy that usually kills with him is in the box too,” Butler said. “At that stage of the game, my biggest concern was we had a lot of exhausted guys. We just had a lot of guys kill there who never kill penalties.”
For the Greyhounds, the six power play goals the team scored were a big confidence boost for a team that has struggled with the man advantage of late.
“For us, the biggest thing is our special teams are struggling,” Dean said. “We put three different units on and rolled three units through the power play. We’re trying to get a spark for our group. We’re worried about our club getting better and we’re not worried about what the score is.”
Zack Trott and Rory Kerins had a goal and three assists each for the Greyhounds. Defencemen Ryan O’Rourke and Robert Calisti chipped in with two goals and an assist. Tanner Dickinson assisted on three goals.
Cole MacKay scored twice for the Greyhounds.
Jaden Peca added a goal and an assist while Dominic Mufarreh and Alex Johnston also scored.
Tye Kartye assisted on a pair of Sault goals.
Harrison Caines and Matthew Struthers scored for North Bay.
Making his first OHL start, Reece Proulx made 29 saves for the Battalion.
The Greyhounds will take a 6-5-1-0 record into the opening game of a three-game road trip on Thursday night against the Windsor Spitfires.
Having dropped three consecutive games, the Battalion fall to 3-9-0-0 and return to action on Friday night on the road against the Guelph Storm.
In other action around the league on Sunday, in Guelph, Nolan Hutcheson had a pair of goals as the Sudbury Wolves beat the Guelph Storm 4-2. Christian Purboo made 33 saves for the Wolves.
In Ottawa, Noel Hoefenmayer had the overtime winner as the Ottawa 67’s beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 5-4. Hoefenmayer scored three times for the 67’s while Austen Keating had a goal and an assist. Marco Rossi assisted on all five Ottawa goals. Joseph Garreffa added a goal and two assists for Ottawa.
Sunday’s other games, which saw the Sarnia Sting hosting the Kingston Frontenacs and the Oshawa Generals hosting the Peterborough Petes were not complete at the time of writing.