Well the Hounds were able to pick up 2 points this weekend but in their two big tests against some of the OHL’s elite we had some mixed results. Not able to capitalize on so called “bus” legs by both the Belleville Bulls and the Guelph Storm, the Hounds dropped their final 2 of the week. Thus I was left with the realization that my Bold Prediction of the week was only 50% correct.
Wednesday October 17th
Sudbury Wolves 1 @ Soo Greyhounds 3
Wednesday night brought us game 1 of the Bell Challenge Cup between these two northern rivals. As expected it was a close hard fought affair that was up for the taking till the bitter end.
After a tight checking first period in which the Hounds were outshot by the Wolves 10-7. Now a 10-7 shot line may not seem very one sided but the Hounds were given a 4-0 advantage when it came to power plays. Even with one of them being cut in half by the end of the period that is 7 minutes with the man advantage.
Coach Stapleton must have lit a fire under the power play because they were able to strike on the man advantage they started the period with. Schumacher with his fifth of the season from Fritsch and Nurse but, the joy was short lived as Nick Cousins took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during the celebrations. Wouldn’t you know it the Wolves struck right back 28 seconds later with their two Czech imports hooking up on the power play goal of their own.
The third period was more of the same with tight checking and great goaltending keeping both teams in it. Darnell Nurse was able to break the deadlock however with his second goal of the season assisted by a pair of 1st year players in Tyler Ganly and Jared McCann. The only question at this point was could the Hounds hang on to this lead for the final 3 minutes? And Nick Cousins answered that question by putting his 7th of the season into an empty net to seal the victory. 3 Points for Darnell Nurse, 37 saves for Matt Murray and most importantly a big 2 points for the Hounds on home ice.
Thursday October 18th
Belleville Bulls @ Soo Greyhounds
One of the first real tests for the Greyhounds was a date with the Eastern Conference favourites from Belleville.
The Bulls were able to jump out on the hounds in this one building a 2-0 lead early in the second period. The Greyhounds were able to strike back though with 2 quick goals less than a minute apart from Chris Buonomo and Michael Schumacher.
The momentum gained by those two quick goals would be short lived as Jordan Subban scored on a floater from the point and the Bulls never looked back. Michael Curtis would add one on the power play and 2012 1st round OHL pick Niki Petti would add his 2nd career OHL goal as the Bulls would build a 5-2 lead before Sergey Tolchinsky would add one for the Hounds with just under 4 minutes remaining.
Unfortunately for Hounds fans Matt Murray did not bring his “A” game to this one and when facing a goalie of Malcolm Subban’s quality that is not a good recipe. Games in which he gives up more than 5 goals are few and far between. On the plus side this was the second game of the week in which the hounds held an opponent to under 40 shots.
Sunday October 21st
Guelph Storm @ Soo Greyhounds
Well, what can I say about this one? Sure I could use a paragraph to spout out the normal ubiquitous post spanking diatribe that I am sure was going around the rink last night but what good is that going to do? In the end the slow start killed them, down 4-0 after the one period of play is heard enough but, even harder when you need to get the puck past Garret Sparks.
In the 2nd period the game to a predictable chippy turn but to the Greyhounds credit they were able to get past that. It is one thing to lose 7-1 it’s another to do something stupid near the end of a game like that and get suspended. Whether you brought your “A” game or not or wheter you lacked intensity from the beginning is a “sunk cost” so to speak. There is no point putting the team in the hole for your next few games.
Let’s face the facts. Last season the Hounds missed the playoffs, this year they are clearly better and definitely playoff caliber. Results like Sundays are bound to happen when a team is trying to take the next step but what is important here is how the Hounds respond. Do they implode like last year’s road trip where they lost back to back games to Plymouth and Windsor 8-0? Or is this truly a different Greyhounds team that will respond in the face of adversity. Maybe I am hopelessly optimistic but I am leaning towards the latter.
By The Numbers
8 for 12 – The penalty kill to put it mildly is still a work in progress for the hounds. 66% is just not going to cut it.
1 for 18 – The Hounds special team problems continued with a dreadful showing this week on the power play.
10 – The number of points that Darnell Nurse had all of last season, a total that he has already passed this season.
40+ – Seems to be the number of shots the greyhounds give up but this is the first week of the season in which they held opponents below that thresh hold for every game. Possibly showing some growth on the back end with coach Joe Cirella’s system.
83.3% - That is the total you get when you add the Greyhounds PP% with their PK% A good team wants to be great than 100%. The hounds currently have a ways to go.
6 – The number of minor penalties that Nick Cousins took this week. The 2 power play goals scored by Sudbury and Belleville were while Nick was in the box.
8 – Number of goals Matt Murray let on on 38 shots against Belleville and Guelph after letting in only 1 goal against the same number of shots against the Wolves.
Three Stars of the Week
1st Star – Darnell Nurse finished with 1g and 2a on the week all in the victory against Sudbury but while the team as a whole didn’t play great against Guelph. While logging big minutes Darnell was only a -1
2nd Star – Micheal Schumacher points in all 3 games included goals against Sudbury and Belleville Michael makes his way onto my 3 stars for the 2nd time this season
3rd Star – Jared McCann picked up a big assist on the game winning goal Wednesday night and then another assist on Thursday against the Bulls. Once again Jared was creating offensive chances and showing poise beyond his years.