Story by soogreyhounds.com | Photos by James Egan Photography
SAULT STE. MARIE, ON-
Forty-eight hours after opening their Western Conference Quarter-Final series in a positive fashion, the Soo Greyhounds were doubled up in Game 2 against Flint.
That allowed the visitors to leave the Lock City with a split (1-1) in their best-of-seven series.
“There’s no silver lining to this. We weren’t good all around. There is a lot of holes in our game from our goaltending to defence to forwards, our discipline, our special teams. It was ugly. That was about as bad as we’ve played in a long time” commented Hounds Head Coach Drew Bannister.
A Greyhounds’ turnover under five minutes (4:35) into the first period would set the tone for the game all night long.
A puck placed on the stick of Maurizio Colella was skated towards the left of MATTHEW VILLALTA before a backhand pass was fired home by Kole Sherwood for the 1-0 Flint lead.
Hunter Holmes skated the puck from end-to-end before his pass was dropped by Ryan Littlejohn to Alex Peters who would quickly release his 2nd goal of the series past VILLALTA’s right side to push the Firebirds to a 2-0 lead at 7:04.
A final minute play in the period by Flint was reviewed and called back due to an offside leaving the deficit to a pair of goals after twenty minutes.
It would be all specialty-teams converting in the second period and it began in the opening minute.
With over a minute on the powerplay carrying over into the second, Flint would extend their lead.
After the Hounds won the draw in their own zone the puck was won back to the Flint blueline where Jalen Smereck skated towards the top of the circle and wristed home a 3-0 lead for the visitors.
BORIS KATCHOUK gave the hometown crowd something to cheer up in quick order (2:57) using speed up the middle of the ice before cutting past the Firebirds defenceman and backhanding home his second goal of the playoffs to cut the deficit to 3-1.
BOBBY MACINTYRE had the lone assist on the play.
Over the midway point of the period and with the Hounds Captain in the box serving a double minor penalty, Flint would connect on the second half of the four minute advantage.
Maurizio Colella would tip the initial point shot on goal and then put home his own rebound, retaking the Firebirds three goal lead, now 4-1.
While then with 1:38 to go in the period, and while shorthanded, Flint would push the puck from their own line up ice sending Ryan Moore in on a breakaway where he would make no mistake padding their lead to 5-1 through two periods.
JOSEPH RAAYMAKERS would replace MATTHEW VILLALTA to start the third period, leaving the Hounds starter with 18 saves on 23 shots.
ZACH SENYSHYN struck early in the third (1:53) putting home a rebound for his 1st goal of the post season and cutting the deficit to three goals.
And after RAAYMAKERS denied Ryan Moore sneaking past the Hounds about eight minutes into the period while Flint was shorthanded, the Hounds would reward him.
BORIS KATCHOUK made a pass from the corner where JACK KOPACKA settled it quickly and then snapped a shot to the blocker side of Connor Hicks to cut the Flint lead to 5-3.
Momentum would never swing significantly in the third period before Maurizio Colella would seal an empty net goal with 1:19 to go in regulation, and Flint would double the Hounds for the Game 2 victory.
“Ya, no question. We have an opportunity to go up two games on this team. Our execution, we were a little bit sloppy, obviously our focus wasn’t there” began Bannister when asked if he was disappointed.
“When you put yourself in a hole then you start to push. I thought we started to try to do things individually and when you do that you usually give the other team more opportunities to score which they did and they were able to capitalize on them” he added.
Flint would go 2-for-6 on the powerplay along with scoring a pair of shorthanded goals in the game.
The Hounds were 0-for-5 on their man advantage while tallying a shorthanded marker of their own.
“You don’t get too high when you win, and you don’t want them to get too low. Think about it a little bit tonight, forget about it and let’s get back to work tomorrow and get ourselves ready for Monday” concluded Bannister when asked post-game where his club has to go from here.
ATTENDANCE – 3,901
RED STAR THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1- Jalen Smereck, FLNT
2- Ryan Moore, FLNT
3- Boris Katchouk, SSM
To view the online boxscore CLICK HERE.
The series will now shift south and to the Dort Federal Event Center (Flint, MI) for the next two games tied at one-game-a-peice.
Game 3 is set for this Monday, March 27th @ 7:00 PM.
Fans can tune into all the action beginning with the Pre-Game Show on Rock 101 (101.3 FM) starting at 6:30 PM.
You can also listen online HERE.
This game is not televised.