RECAP;‘ Motivated’ Hounds get shutout from Ivanov


by Peter Ruicci (Independent Media) | Photo by Metcalfe Photography

Not even a hot goalie could deter the Soo Greyhounds on Sunday.

Having dropped two straight on a three-game road trip, while losing five of seven overall, the Hounds were hell-bent to reverse their fortunes.

They did just that in Sarnia, defeating the Sting 2-0 as Samuel Ivanov posted his first career shutout in front of 2,551 at Progressive Auto Sales Arena.

“We were very motivated,” said Greyhounds centre Rory Kerins, whose team pressured Ben Gaudreau, the Sting netminder, who permitted just a Tye Kartye goal early in the second period. “This was a very big win.”

“Huge for us,” added Kartye, whose team began the trip with a 5-3 loss in Erie and a 5-4 setback in Kitchener, before rebounding on Sunday to improve to 12-9-0-0. “It’s big for us to go home happy.”

That became a certainty when Rob Calisti added an insurance marker at 19:51 of the final frame.

With Gaudreau on the bench for a sixth attacker, Calisti notched a short-handed, empty-net goal to seal the deal on a day when the Soo held a 34-20 edge in shots.

“The kids needed this,” said head coach John Dean, whose team impressed in the opening period but still skated off locked in a scoreless tie. “We didn’t get rewarded and a lot of times in other games we’ve tended to deviate in the second period. Today (Sunday) we stuck with it.”

The coach explained how, despite the recent losses, he’s had no complaint with the effort his charges have been putting forth.

“Hopefully, some momentum builds,” added Dean, whose club is heading into a Wednesday home-ice clash (7:07 p.m.) with Sudbury. “We want to see these guys get rewarded for their hard work day-in-and-day-out.”

While he was tested far less than Gaudreau, Ivanov made the saves he needed to make – and more.

“Feels amazing, feels amazing,” said the Richmond Hill, Ont., native, who has gone through a shaky stretch of late after a solid start to the season.

On Sunday, Ivanov admitted he’s been “giving up one or two goals a game that I want back. I need to own up to my mistakes. I feel as if I hit a slump, but now I’m starting to get out of it.”

The first-year netminder also spoke of how he felt very calm and confident against the Sting.

“I think I had to step up and my team in front of me eliminated a lot of difficult chances,” Ivanov added.

“I’m so happy for Sammy. For him to get a shutout is an exciting time in his career,” said Dean.

After a Sarnia turnover, Kerins and Kartye worked a slick give-and-go to open the scoring at 4:33 of the second period. The feed by Kerins presented Kartye with a yawning cage.

“I dropped the pass to him and he quickly gave it back to me,” said Kerins, who also assisted on the Calisti goal boosting his stat line to 11-21-32. “I just waited it out until I found him open.”

“It was a really-good find by him,” added Kartye, whose 18 goals have him tied for second among all Ontario Hockey League snipers. “I had a wide-open net.”

The shutout was the first this season for a Greyhounds club best known as an offensive juggernaut. Only twice this season has the Soo held an opponent to one goal.

“Great lesson for us to win a low-scoring game,” said Kartye. “Sammy was amazing today.”

“We slayed a dragon we needed to slay, (by) winning a tight game,” Dean added.

The coach also spoke of how impressed he was with the way his club killed off a penalty late in regulation, eventually getting the short-handed marker by Calisti, who fired the puck the length of the ice.

“I was pretty impressed by the four guys out there and our goaltender,” Dean said.

Following Wednesday’s game with Sudbury, the Hounds play their final two home games prior to Christmas on the weekend.

Guelph is here on Friday (7:07 p.m.), while the Soo is slated to entertain Saginaw on Sunday (2:07 p.m.).

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