Story by Brad Coccimiglio (Sootoday.com) | Photo courtesy of OHLImages.ca
A slow start wasn’t enough to stop the Soo Greyhounds.
Keeghan Howdeshell scored with 2.9 seconds remaining in regulation time as the Greyhounds beat the Kitchener Rangers 4-3 to extend its team-record winning streak to 19 games as the team round out the pre-Christmas schedule.
“It was a crazy finish, there’s no question about that,” said Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister.
The Rangers carried the play early in the contest before the Greyhounds reeled off three unanswered goals to extend the winning streak.
“For the most part we got outplayed (early in the game),” Bannister said. “In the second period, we started to play hockey and showed a little pushback in our game. We started to play a little more like the way we’re used to playing.
Even with the Rangers up by a pair of goals, the mood was good on the Greyhounds bench.
“They’re a real positive group of guys and they have a lot of confidence in themselves,” Bannister said. “There never seemed to be any panic on the bench. They believe in themselves that regardless of the score or where we’re playing or who we’re playing against, if we stick to the process, we can come back and still win games.”
Howdeshell finished the night with a pair of goals.
“Everything we’re doing right now is going well for us and we just need to stick to the system,” Howdeshell said.
“I don’t think it’s magic, we’ve just got the will and the grit to win,” Howdeshell also said.
Greyhounds netminder Matthew Villalta made 28 saves.
“He was really good,” Bannister said of the sophomore netminder.
Defencemen Noah Carrol and Mac Hollowell chipped in with a goal and an assist each for the Greyhounds. Morgan Frost and Jack Kopacka chipped in with a pair of assists each.
Adam Mascherin, Connor Bunnaman and Rickard Hugg completed the scoring for the Rangers.
Kitchener goaltender Luke Richardson stopped 28 Greyhounds shots.
The win improves the Greyhounds record to 28-3-2-0 and the team remains six points ahead of the Sarnia Sting in the OHL’s West Division as the Sting also won on Friday night.
The Rangers fall to 20-11-2-0 but remain atop the Midwest Division, seven points ahead of the Guelph Storm.
The Greyhounds will head to Guelph to take on the Storm on Saturday in a 4 p.m. start at the Sleeman Centre. The game is the Greyhounds final contest before the team breaks for Christmas.