Villalta strong with 28 saves over Kingston
Story by soogreyhounds.com | Photo’s courtesy of James Egan Photography
Since being tagged with a loss in the Hounds home opener September 23rd, first-year netminder MATTHEW VILLALTA had won five straight starts when the opportunity has knocked.
On Friday Night the Kingston, ON product made 28 saves over Kingston to make it six-in-a-row, as the Hounds swept their season series with the Frontenacs.
“I thought Matthew was excellent again. He’s been good for us all year” began Hounds Head Coach Drew Bannister.
“I thought in the second period he made some good saves, outstanding saves down low. Beginning of the third on the powerplay he was strong in the net. He’s continued to play well for us” he added.
The scoreless first period on Friday turned heads, as the fast-paced affair began without a whistle for the opening 9:18 of the period.
With Kingston outshooting the Hounds 10-7 in the period, intermission adjustments would put the Hounds on track beginning in the middle frame.
Some early powerplay time presented itself for the Hounds as the club started the period with seventeen seconds on the advantage and then seconds later Warren Foegele would go right back into the box paving the way for the Hounds second straight man advantage.
And while specialty teams would be kept off the board, 5-on-5 play was generating chances for the Hounds.
Six minutes into the period JACK KOPACKA used his speed off the right wing before crashing to the net to test Jeremy Helvig while later HAYDEN VERBEEK’s pass to BORIS KATCHOUK was fired wide before DAVID MILLER split the Kingston defence for an opportunity all before the period was ten minutes old.
The Hounds would score the opening goal of the game at the 12:01 mark
TIM GETTINGER set-up a pass to generate a 2-on-1 between HAYDEN VERBEEK and BORIS KATCHOUK. With Verbeek carrying the puck into the zone in full flight he moved the pass to the right side and Katchouk buried his shot low to the glove side for his 7th goal of the season (first in 6 games) while providing the Hounds the 1- lead.
Just over a minute-and-a-half later, JACK KOPACKA would backhand a shot to the glove side of Helvig for his 2nd goal of the year, and first in fourteen games, increasing the lead to a 2-0 count for the home side.
The Hounds outshot Kingston 11-5 in the second period and generated plenty of scoring chances on their opportunities to take the two-goal lead into the third period.
Kingston would hold a 1:53 powerplay to start the third, and while the visitors generated five shots during that span, MATTHEW VILLALTA held the fort while the cushion for the Hounds remained intact.
Linus Nyman would put the Frontenacs on the board shortly thereafter from the slot as Warren Foegele moved the pass from behind the net, and the Kingston leading scorer recorded his 11th of the season cutting the Hounds lead in half.
Fast-forward to the second half of the period where strong play down low on the penalty kill by BORIS KATCHOUK killed off valuable time against the Frontenacs.
And just five seconds after going back to full strength, BOBBY MACINTYRE sprung OTTO MAKINEN in on the breakway where he would tuck the puck five-hold on Helvig for a 3-1 Hounds lead.
The final goal of the night would come off of the stick of TIM GETTINGER in the slot, his 9th of the season and 4th in the last two games, as the Hounds would skate to a 4-1 victory.
“I thought we created a lot offensively. That was a real good team (Kingston), they played with a lot of energy, they’re physical, I liked their response” commented Bannister.
“We made a few adjustments going into the second and it helped us. We were able to utilize our speed a little bit more and make it more difficult on their D. We didn’t have a lot of space in the first period, I thought our guys adjusted well and again we stuck with it and we created a lot of opportunities and it paid off again for us today” he added.
The victory, the Hounds second-in-a-row on home ice, and third consecutively overall, improved their record to 14-7-1-0, good for 29 points.
They sit 2nd in the West Division, and now hold a three point lead over the 3rd place Sarnia Sting and four point lead over Flint.
“I thought in the first five minutes it wasn’t very good but after that we kind of settled in and were much better. Again, they didn’t give us any space early on, and then the adjustment we made we had more space for our forwards to make plays. We did a better job getting the puck behind their D and when we had space we were able to make their D turn and get wides wide and we entered the zone pretty good tonight” concluded Bannister when asked about his team’s puck management on the night.
ATTENDANCE – 3,619
RED STAR THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1- Matthew Villalta, SSM
2- Boris Katchouk, SSM
3- Jeremy Helvig, KGN
To view the boxscore CLICK HERE.
The Hounds cap off their home stand TOMORROW NIGHT – Saturday, November 19 – when they host the Hamilton Bulldogs in their ONLY visit to Sault Ste. Marie.
Game time is 7:07 p.m.
Great seats are available at the Essar Centre Box Office beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday or you can order online anytime at www.essarcentre.ca or by phone at 1.866.775.9422
Can’t make it to the game?
You can tune into the action beginning with the Pre-Game Show on Rock 101 (101.3 FM) starting at 6:37 PM or watch on ShawTV starting at 7 PM.