Story by soogreyhounds.com | Photo courtesy of James Egan Photography | Post-Game Audio provided by Brad Coccimiglio (Sootoday.com)
SAULT STE. MARIE, ON-
For the second straight year the Windsor Spitfires spoiled the Home Opener for the Soo Greyhounds.
After leading by a pair of goals (2-0) through two periods of play, the Hounds saw the visitors net five unanswered third period goals before dropping a 5-2 decision in front of 3,968 at the Essar Centre.
“I don’t think guys got tired. I thought we did a lot of good things in the first but there was things that were creeping into our game. One was our discipline, there were soft penalties. And then turnovers, we had turnovers in the first and second, we warned the guys about them and they continued to turn the puck over and it ended up in our net in the third” stated Hounds Head Coach Drew Bannister when asked about his club’s third period.
Both teams came into the contest with nine scratches, most of which are away at NHL Training Camps.
MORGAN FROST opened the game’s scoring 5:47 into the first period when he the puck towards the net which went off a Windsor defender and redirected past Mario Culina for the 1-0 lead.
And while the Hounds held the slim 11-9 shot advantage in the opening period, it was with under four minutes to play that rookie netminder MATTHEW VILLALTA would make his biggest saves to send the Hounds into the dressing room with the lead.
With 3:30 to go, the Kingston ON product turned aside Jasper Forgrave on two opportunities in close, preserving the 1-0 lead.
“I thought he was good throughout the whole game. There was maybe one he could have had, the rebound. Other than that I thought he played real well” said Bannister post-game of his netminder.
Minutes after Aaron Luchuk was turned aside on a Windsor two-on-1, the Hounds would extend their lead to a pair of goals.
A turnover close to the Windsor goal saw the puck end up on LIAM HAWEL’s stick, and the 2nd-year Hound would make no mistake notching his 1st of the year for the 2-0 lead.
Building off the two goal lead, the Hounds allowed very little against in the second period as indicative of their 8-1 shot advantage through the opening twelve minutes of the period.
BOBBY MACINTYRE was stopped point blank with 7:30 to go in the period, following a slick feed from BARRETT HAYTON.
The Hounds would be forced to end the second period shorthanded, and received strong penalty kill from CONOR TIMMINS as the buzzer sounded to conclude forty-minutes of play.
Early in the third period, the two goal lead would evaporate in less than a minutes span.
After Hayden McCool put Windsor on the board (3:07), Cristiano DiGiacinto notched a powerplay goal six seconds into the man advantage (4:06) to pull the visitors on even terms.
Cole Furboo pounced on a rebound to provide Windsor their first lead of the night at 6:47.
And then two late goals by Aaron Luchuk (17:33) on the powerplay and Cole Carter (18:42) into an empty net sealed a five goal third period for Windsor en-route to the 5-2 victory over the Hounds.
Defenceman Austin McEneny chipped in for the Spitfires with 4 assists while being named the games first star.
Windsor was 2-for-6 on the powerplay while the Hounds were 0-for-4.
“They went 2-for-6 on the PP, that’s what lost us the hockey game really. I don’t think we looked fatigued, everything was self inflicted whether it was penalties, turnovers. They didn’t have to work very hard for their goals” concluded Bannister when asked of the importance of discipline with the short bench and the effect it had on the game.
To view the boxscore courtesy of the Ontario Hockey League CLICK HERE.
The Hounds will now cap off their Home Opening weekend on Saturday Night – September 24th (7:07 p.m.) when the Oshawa Generals make their one and only regular season visit to the Lock City.
Tickets are on-sale at the Essar Centre Box Office Saturday morning beginning at 10 a.m. or you can order online at www.essarcentre.ca or by phone at 1.866.775.9422.