Story by soogreyhounds.com | Photo by James Egan Photography
SAULT STE. MARIE, ON-
Heading into the weekend, the Soo Greyhounds knew the task that was ahead of them in facing the Hamilton Bulldogs (1st, Eastern Conference) and Sarnia Sting (2nd, Western Conference).
After winning 10-0 on Friday (Hamilton), the locals scored early and often on Saturday while downing the Sting by a score of 7 to 1.
Two impressive back-to-back victories.
“Considering opponents, no question” answered Head Coach Drew Bannister when asked if the past two nights were his club’s best back-to-back performances this season.
“I can’t really look down my bench and say there was any passengers over the last two nights, in the 120 minutes. Everyone was involved, everyone contributed. Guys didn’t take shifts off and played hard right from the start of the puck drop till the end of the buzzer” he added.
Saturday Night’s offense started quickly and from an unfamiliar source.
Playing in his 157th career contest, ANTHONY DEMEO got the Hounds ahead just 53 seconds into the game firing a shot that seemed to handcuff Justin Fazio for the 1-0 lead.
The rest of the period would be determined by the specialty teams.
A combined five power plays followed, with the Greyhounds holding three, Sarnia two. All ten minutes of 5-on-4 play would see the penalty kill units go the distance and hold the other team off the scoreboard, an area that pleased Bannister the most.
“The penalty kill early in the first we had two we had to kill off was really good. Matty was real strong in the net. They’re the best PP in the league and we were able to kill off four of them. The game tonight was won 5-on-5, and we played well 5-on-5” he stated.
Fast forward to the second period, and yet again an early goal came from the sticks of the Greyhounds.
Just forty-seven seconds into the period, JOE CARROLL cut off the side boards and fired high glove side on Fazio for his 6th goal of the season and a 2-0 Greyhounds lead.
The goal eventually stood as the game-winner.
Sarnia would respond quickly though, as at 1:35 Anthony Salinitri was the trailer on a 3-on-1 rush for the Sting and beat MATTHEW VILLALTA stick side to cut the Greyhounds lead in half.
Already with two injuries on the table in CONOR TIMMINS and KEEGHAN HOWDESHELL, the Hounds would add to that list when JACOB LEGUERRIER was on the receiving end of a hit at the Sting blueline.
The 2nd year Greyhound would leave the contest under his own power, but did not return and any further update was unavailable.
Midway through the period the home side received some offensive cushion when TIM GETTINGER muscled the puck off the wall and took the first shot before HAYDEN VERBEEK was there to pounce on the rebound and fire home a quick low shot for a 3-1 lead.
And before forty-minutes were in the books, a beautiful tick-tack-toe play started with TAYLOR RADDYSH, met JACK KOPACKA and was finished off with RASMUS SANDIN for the 4-1 lead through two periods.
Three goals blanketed the third period, all from the Greyhounds.
TAYLOR RADDYSH notched his 29th of the season at 8:43 before RASMUS SANDIN notched his second of the game at 17:33 and then BARRETT HAYTON wired a high shot with just 48 seconds to play in the seven goal onslaught.
The Greyhounds outshot the Sting 37-28 in the game and owned the face-off circle winning 43 of the 70 draws in the game.
“The only thing it says, when we put our mind together to play 60 minutes, we are a very difficult team to beat regardless of who we’re playing” started Bannister post-game when asked what it says to outscore the calibre of opponents the Hounds faced this weekend, 17 to 1.
“We have done that over periods of this year, I don’t think we have been that strong over two games, but we also had very strong opponents. It’s probably the toughest weekend we’ve had opponent-wise all season” he concluded.
With the win, the Hounds improve their record to 47-6-2-2, good for 98 points on the season. That’s good for a 16 point lead over the Sting for the West Division lead while Sarnia holds a game in hand.
ATTENDANCE – 4,587
RED STAR THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1- Anthony DeMeo, SSM
2- Hayden Verbeek, SSM
3- Joe Carroll, SSM
To view the OHL Box Score CLICK HERE.
One week from tonight – Saturday, February 24 – the Greyhounds kick off a quick two game roadtrip with a visit to the WFCU Centre against the Windsor Spitfires.
Game time is 7:05 PM.
Fans can hear all the action beginning with the Soo Video TV Pre-Game Show on Rock 101 (101.3 FM) starting at 6:35 PM or watch on ShawTV at 7 PM.