The Greyhounds, fresh off of their most recent 5 game road stand, returned home Wednesday night to take on the Flint Firebirds in the second half of a home and home.
The final game of the road stretch saw the Hounds take down the Firebirds by a final score of
5-3 in Flint. Oddly enough, for a team that only has three wins through 29 games on the season, Flint managed to pick one of them up against the Hounds back on November 9th.
While the most noteworthy story as of recent is the announcement of Vilalta, Frost and Hayton being selected to join the Team Canada camp ahead of the upcoming World Junior Tournament, some other stories have flown under the radar.
Overager Keeghan Howdeshell has been on fire as of late, as he is coming off a back to back hat trick performance. Not only is 6 goals in 2 games an accomplishment, but he is also enjoying a 5 game goal streak, in which he’s potted 9 markers.
The Greyhounds came into the game with the OHL’s third best penalty killing unit, and that unit was put to the test twice in the first frame with a pair of interference minors handed out to Mackay and Frost. No sweat, the Hounds kill both of them off.
The Hounds ended up the beneficiary of two penalty calls, and now needed to test the powerplay unit. Much like the PK, this unit pulled through as well.
First, Leafs prospect Fedor Gordeev took a holding penalty at the 13:20 mark of the period. Ryan Roth finds the twine to notch his 8th on the year, assists go out to Jordan Sambrook and Ryan O’Rourke.
Less than a minute after the initial goal, Hunter Holmes of the Firebirds takes a seat as well, this time around for slashing. Over the boards comes the Greyhounds powerplay unit, led by the OHL’s leading scorer; Morgan Frost. Frost makes quick work, ripping a wicked wrister pas Emanuel Vella. Frost’s 20th on the year extends the lead to 2-0 and it would remain that way heading into the second period.
The second period would start off cold as ice though, as “you’ve got to be good to be lucky, and ya gotta be lucky to be good”. This time I think Flint was just lucky.
Jake Durham, leading scorer for the Firebirds fires a shot that ends up hitting a Hound in front. It took no time for Durham to gather it back up from right out in front, and with a body blocking Vilalta view, the next shot would have eyes and saw its way to the back of net. Durham’s 19th would cut the lead in half. 2-1 game.
The Firebirds weren’t finished there, as just two minutes later Eric Uba buries his 12th on the year from a freak bounce that initially started to the side of Vilalta. It bounced off of a few bodies before tucking itself underneath the bar.
Just like that, this a brand new game.
It would still continue to be an uphill battle as 18 seconds after the second Firebird goal, the Hounds would be sent to the penalty kill on the heels of Joe Carroll’s slashing minor. The Hounds penalty killing unit would prove that isn’t just good at stopping goals, but also scoring them.
Intense pressure from the Hounds saw Jordan Sambrook bang home his 9th on the season, with another assist given to Keeghan Howdeshell. The score is back in favour of the good guys, 3-2 Hounds with just over half the game remaining.
With Sambrook’s goal, he ties the defenceman goal scoring lead for the Hounds at 9 with Hollowell. Mac wasn’t a fan. Frost would send Hollowell a cross ice pass for one of the easier goals of number 11’s career, and with that would notch his 10th. Some friendly competition doesn’t hurt, especially on the scoreboard. The game would remain 4-2 headed into the final frame of action.
A mad scramble in front of the Flint goal with 16 minutes remaining would have 2 solid chances where the fans couldn’t believe the puck failed to cross the line. The scrum would force the Firebirds to take a holding the stick penalty and the Hounds would look to increase the lead to 3.
They would do just that.
Roth scored his second of the contest and 9th of the year on the ensuing powerplay, with assists handed out to Tye Kartye and Jordan Sambrook.
But the game wasn’t, as with less than 4 minutes in the game, Jacob LaGuerrier would capitalize on an odd man rush for the Hounds. He clapped home the pass from Howdeshell and bulged the twine to extended the lead further. 6-2 Hounds.
Now with a game like Ryan Roth had, he was sniffing for more. Another goal would end up off of his blade as he completed the Hat Trick!
The Hounds would end up dominating the game, as they should if the standings mean anything. The Hounds return to the Gardens come Friday, when they host the Guelph Storm.