After dropping a 3-2 overtime decision to the North Bay Battalion on Sunday afternoon, the Soo Greyhounds were looking to get back on the winning track on Wednesday night as they took on the Saginaw Spirit at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
The Hounds, who entered Wednesday night’s game with a record of 5 wins, 3 losses and 2 overtime losses, were just one point behind the Saginaw Spirit for first place in the West Division.
The Hounds moved into sole possession of first place in the West Division on Wednesday night as they doubled up the Spirit by a score of 6-3 at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
“We really stepped up and our leadership group led us all the way,” said Hounds rookie defenceman Robert Calisti. “It was a big game for us and we want top spot in our division. It’s all about coming up and showing everyone what we can do. We want to win and that’s the big goal for us here.”
Calisti is in his first full season with the Greyhounds after spending last season with the NOJHL’s Soo Thunderbirds.
“My first season is going pretty well,” continued the Hounds rookie defenceman. “We have some great guys in the room. We have a great leadership core and we’re just trying to get better everyday.”
On Wednesday night, Calisti also played against his former Soo Thunderbird teammate Camaryn Baber, who is currently in his first full season with the Saginaw Spirit.
“It was a cool experience seeing us play at a higher level,” continued Calisti. “It was a good moment for us and hopefully this is a step in the right direction for us.”
Calisti, who entered Wednesday night’s game with 0 points in 10 games, recorded his first career Ontario Hockey League point (assist).
“It was good and hopefully there’s a lot more to come, but we’ll have to work hard and go from there,” concluded Calisti.
Hounds leading scorer Morgan Frost led the way offensively on Wednesday night, scoring an empty net goal and adding three helpers.
“In the very first shift of the game, Frost decided to get to the red line and he chipped the puck to space,” said Hounds head coach John Dean. “It actually didn’t work out for us, but we actually ended up picking it off. But he basically told the other nineteen guys that we’re going to manage the puck properly tonight and we know what we have to do to win.”
The Hounds now have a 1-1 record against the Spirit this season.
In their season opener in Saginaw back on September 19th, the Hounds dropped a 5-2 decision to the Spirit at the Dow Event Center.
“It shows our progress over the last ten games as a team which I think is great,” concluded Dean. “At the Dow we got caught by surprise and I didn’t think the effort was there. But it was a brand new group of kids and a brand new group of players along with a new staff. Our season opener in Saginaw was a tough night for us, but tonight it was nice to see a pretty good response ten games later.”
Ryan Roth opened the scoring for the Hounds for the second straight game, scoring his second goal of the season at the 7:50 mark of the first, putting the Hounds up 1-0.
Cullen McLean and Roman Pucek had the assists on Roth’s goal.
Sooite Cole MacKay scored his fifth goal of the season from Morgan Frost at the 6:09 mark of the second, giving the Hounds a 2-0 lead.
MacKay’s fifth goal of the season also tied his goal total from one season ago.
The Hounds took a 3-0 lead just 1:28 later, courtesy of Mac Hollowell’s third goal of the season from Robert Calisti and Cullen McLean.
McLean’s assist on Hollowell’s tally, gave him two assists on the night for his first career multi point game.
Overage forward Keeghan Howdeshell scored his fourth goal of the season from Morgan Frost and Mac Hollowell at 17:51, giving the red and white a 4-0 after two periods of play.
Spirit forward Albert Michnac scored his sixth goal of the season at the 6:32 mark of the third from Cole Coskey, cutting the Hounds lead to 4-1.
The Spirit would then cut the Hounds lead to 4-2 just eighteen seconds later, courtesy of Cole Perfetti’s fifth goal of the season from DJ Busdeker.
Hounds captain Barrett Hayton, who entered Wednesday night’s game with six points in three games, scored his fourth goal of the season into an empty net from Morgan Frost and Cole MacKay at 17:54, putting the Hounds up by three.
Saginaw would then respond with 1:13 left to go in the third, courtesy of DJ Busdeker’s second goal of the season from Cole Perfetti.
Morgan Frost would then score his sixth goal of the season into an empty net from Mac Hollowell with just 5 seconds to go in the game, giving the Hounds a 6-3 lead.
Spirit goaltender Cameron Lamour gave up four goals on twenty shots, before being replaced in net by Tristan Lennox, who then made six stops the rest of the way.
Hounds goaltender Matthew Villalta made thirty three saves for the victory.
The Hounds will now get set to face the Kingston Frontenacs in their second and final meeting of the season this Friday at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
(Photo credit to James Egan’s Sports Photography)