The final week of the Ontario Hockey League regular season is here.
TONIGHT (7:05 PM) the Hounds take their 9-game regulation unbeaten streak (8-0-1-0) into action at the Dow Event Center against the Saginaw Spirit.
It’s the start of a home-and-home series between the two clubs as Saginaw visits the Lock City on Friday Night (March 17).
Thanks to five unanswered goals on Sunday afternoon, the Hounds erased an early Sudbury lead before downing the Wolves by a score of 5 to 2.
Boris Katchouk (1g,1a), Tim Gettinger (1g, 1a), Hayden Verbeek (2a) and Jack Kopacka (1g,1a) all chipped in with two point efforts.
Saginaw is coming off a 4-2 setback in Owen Sound on Saturday Night snapping their 4-game winning streak.
Damien Giroux (8) and Hayden Hodgson (37) chipped in with the lone goals for the visitor’s.
Sault Ste. Marie (46-15-3-1, 96 points)
1st in West Division, 2nd in Western Conference
Saginaw Spirit (26-30-7-2, 61 points)
5th in West Division, 9th in Western Conference
The final week of the regular season will see the Hounds and Spirit square off twice, once at home and once on the road.
The locals have won 5-in-a-row against their division rival. Here’s how the season-series has went so far this year;
W 3-1, Feb. 8 @ SSM
After a scoreless first period, Jack Kopacka gave the Hounds a 1-0 lead 0:53 into the second period; Max Grondin tied the game sending into the third period deadlocked; Zach Senyshyn and Jack Kopacka with his 2nd of the night, less than two minutes apart, scored the remaining goals in the Hounds win; Hounds were 1-for-4 on the power play
W 5-2, Feb. 1 @ SAG
Saginaw opened the scoring in the opening minute before Bobby MacIntyre pulled the Hounds; Hounds had the only two goals of the second period (Miller, Frost) along with holding Saginaw to just 4 shots on goal; MacIntyre, Speers scored in third period as Hounds skated to win; MacIntyre with 3 pt night (2g, 1a) along with being named Red Star 1st Star
W 4-3, Dec 29 @ SAG
After surrendering the first goal of the game 2:30 in, Greyhounds defenceman Conor Timmins pulled the Hounds even to end the first and then gave them a 2-1 lead 7:54 into the second period before sitting tied 2-2 after two; David Miller gave the Hounds their second lead of the night 6:03 into the third; Colton White later scored the GWG with 1:04 to play; Hounds were 1-for-6 on PP and 4-for-4 on PK
W 5-3, Dec. 16 @ SSM
After scoreless first period, Hounds scored 4 goals in the second period to take that lead into the third period, thanks to goals by Katchouk, Hayton, Gettinger and Hawel; Hounds held Saginaw to just 20 shots
W 5-3, Nov. 16 @ SAG
Hounds trailed 1-0 after first period despite outshooting SAG 12-7; Zach Senyshyn scored back-to-back goals for Hounds before Tim Gettinger notched his 1st-career hat trick as the Hounds skated to an early morning victory; Hounds held 37-31 shot advantage
L 0-4, Nov. 11 @ SSM
After a scoreless opening period Cole Coskey put Saginaw on the board with just over three minutes to play in the second period; then despite the fact the Hounds outshot the Spirit 15-10 in the third period, it would be the visitors notching three more goals (Mitchell Stephens, CJ Garcia and Jesse Barwell) to hand the Hounds their first shutout loss this year.
DOWN TO THE WIRE FOR SAGINAW
With three games remaining in the regular season, it’s down to the wire for the Spirit.
They currently sit in 9th in the Western Conference, 6 points behind the Sarnia Sting for the 8th and final playoff position.
It’s a razor thin margin for error. A loss by Saginaw or 1 point gained by Sarnia and the Spirit are officially eliminated from the playoff picture.
HOME AND AWAY
The Hounds are 26-6-1-0 on the road this season, while Saginaw is 17-11-4-0 inside the confines of the Dow Event Center.
TOP 3 IN SCORING
• Bobby MacIntyre (27-50-77); 7 GWG; 22 PP Pts
• Zach Senyshyn (41-21-62); 250 SOG; 10 GWG
• Boris Katchouk (33-28-61); 7 SHG
• Hayden Hodgson (37-28-65); 18 PP Pts; 226 SOG
• Filip Hronek (13-47-60); 21 PP Pts; 3 GWG
• Kris Bennett (25-26-51); 4 GWG
DID YOU KNOW?
Looking at the Greyhounds franchise record books (and thanks to team statistican Dave Mislan) brings to light some interesting notes regarding this year’s edition of the Hounds, and their players.
• Team has set a new franchise record for shorthanded goals in a season
(Old mark of 20 was set in 1991/92)
• Team has set a new franchise record for both road wins and fewest road losses
Wins – Old mark was 23 in 2014-15; team has 26 presently
Losses – Fewest was 11 in 80/81 and 84/85; team currently has 6 + 1 OTL
• Boris Katchouk has tied Wayne Gretzky’s mark for shorthanded goals by a player at 7 (from 1997/98) – 3rd in franchise history.
Record is 10 set by Steve Gatzos in 80/81
• G Matthew Villalta is close to a Greyhound record of SEASON lowest GAA held by Kyle Gajewski of 2.44 in 2007/08.
Villalta is at 2.47 presently.
For all the stats throughout the game check out the OHL boxscore HERE.
The Rock 101 pre-game show with Gerry Liscumb Jr. begins starting at 6:35 PM. You can hear the action by tuning your FM dial to 101.3 or listen online HERE.
This game is not televised.
MUIO’S PREDICTOR CHALLENGE
Don’t forget to take part in tonight’s “Muio’s Predictor Challenge”.
Tweet us who you predict to score the Hounds first goal for a chance to win a $10 Muio’s Restaurant gift card. #muios
DO YOU HAVE YOUR PLAYOFF TICKETS?
Tickets for Game 1 & 2 of the opening round of the 2017 OHL Playoffs are on-sale NOW to both season ticket holders and the general public.
Opponent and dates are TO BE ANNOUNCED.
You can secure your seat for the playoff run by visiting the Essar Centre Box Office during regular business hours of 10 AM to 5:30 PM Monday to Friday, 10 AM to 2 PM on Saturday or online at www.essarcentre.ca or by phone at 1.866.775.9422.
Questions? Contact the Greyhounds Manager of Ticket Sales Matt Rodell by phone at 705.574.0090 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by James Egan Photography