Story by Peter Ruicci (Independent Media) | Photo provided by Owen Sound Attack
Some careless play cost the Soo Greyhounds both a hockey game and a potential road-trip sweep in Owen Sound on Saturday.
Playing their third game in as many nights, mistakes came back to bite the Hounds en route to a 5-3 loss to the Attack before 1,977 at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
How big a factor was fatigue on Saturday, after the Soo had stopped Barrie 6-3 on Thursday and Guelph 4-2 on Friday?
Hounds head coach John Dean admitted his players ran out of gas.
“Yeah, fatigue was definitely a factor, especially against a very aggressive team playing in their barn,” said Dean, whose club committed turnovers which led to the winning and insurance goals for the home side. “For sure the mistakes were fatigue related. Owen Sound was playing with desperation. It felt like a playoff game and they wanted to get their first win.”
It was clear to him, Dean added, the Attack’s intention was to be physical.
With the clubs locked in a 3-3 tie, rookie Colby Barlow made the Soo pay for turning the puck over. Skating in on a 2-on-1, Deni Goure made a backdoor feed to Barlow, who beat Hounds goalie Samuel Ivanov for the go-ahead goal at 13:05 of the second period.
Just before the eight-minute mark in the final frame, a Greyhounds turnover at their blue-line allowed Gavin Bryant to skate in on a partial breakaway. Bryant slipped the puck through the five-hole for a 5-3 Owen Sound lead.
“There was fatigue down the stretch,” noted Dean, whose team fell to 3-2-0-0, while Owen Sound improved to 1-2-0-1. “Their fourth and fifth goals were both off of turnovers (committed) by guys who’ve had good weekends. But that happens.”
While agreeing miscues were a big factor, Greyhounds overage Cole MacKay refused to use fatigue as an excuse.
“Fair to say we have to cut those (mistakes) out of our game, they definitely cost us,” MacKay began. “But I don’t think we’re looking to make excuses.”
If the Greyhounds want to achieve their goal of team success this season “we have to figure out a way to win those games,” added the Sault native, who was willing to concede that if the Hounds did get worn down, it was due to the physicality displayed by the Attack. “That’s the most-physical team we’ve played against.”
Asked if he sees the Attack as the most-physical team the Soo has faced so far, Dean used the words “by far. They’re built to play that way, they drafted to play that way and they executed their game plan well.”
While he also lamented the turnovers, Hounds captain Ryan O’Rourke spoke of how going home with four of a possible six points is a positive for his club, which begins a four-game homestand on Wednesday (7:07 p.m.) against Sudbury.
“I think that’s pretty good,” the veteran defenceman said of gaining two wins in three tries. “Especially coming into a smaller rink against a bigger team. We just need to play a full 60 minutes.”
Dean spoke of how earning four road points out of a possible six “is a good weekend for us. We really wanted this game, but it’s better to learn valuable lessons now.”
Stepan Machacek notched a couple of power-play goals for the Attack, which received strong netminding from overage Mack Guzda, on a night when the Soo held a 44-37 edge in shots. Andrew Perrott had the other Owen Sound goal, scoring early in the second period to break a 2-2 tie.
Tye Kartye and Bryce McConnell-Barker netted power-play goals for the visitors while Marco Mignosa rounded out the Hounds scoring.
The goal for Kartye was his fourth of the young season – all on the power play. McConnell-Barker, a first-year player, scored once in all three games of this road trip for a season total of three while Mignosa made it two goals in as many nights in his rookie campaign.
Kartye and McConnell-Barker scored their goals four minutes apart in the opening period to erased a 1-0 Hounds deficit. Overall, the Hounds power play finished 2-for-7, while Owen Sound connected twice in three man-advantage opportunities.
After facing Sudbury on Wednesday, the Soo plays host to North Bay both Friday and Saturday nights.