Friday night at the GFL Memorial Gardens saw the return of Greyhound hockey action following the OHL’s Christmas break, as the Hounds host the Saginaw Spirit.
The team is down a pair their big guns, as are all teams across the CHL, as the World Junior Championships are currently being held in B.C.. Barrett Hayton and Morgan Frost are representing Team Canada at the annual tournament, and are putting up some impressive numbers. Frost’s first game representing the maple leaf at any level was almost storybook. A hat trick and a five point night, all while his momma Dana was on hand to cheer him on. Hayton has also managed three assists and will be sniffing for his first goal of the tournament Saturday night against the Czech Republic.
Starting off the night saw Sooite Nick Porco taking the opening draw in front of his friends and family, a nice touch and a tip of the hat from newly promoted Saginaw Coach Chris Lazary.
The first period was all you could ask for. High intensity, power plays, breakaways, even a 4 on 1 chance for the Hounds. The period would close on a 1-1 tie between the Spirit and Hounds. The Spirit opened the scoring after an initial shot hit Vilalta directly in the cage of his helmet, before ricocheting out to Duncan Penman who would chalk up his first on of the year. Joe Carroll would tie it for the hounds in the second half of the frame as a great individual effort to steal a puck, and then fire it home. The puck just had enough power on it to squeak through the equipment of goaltender Ivan Prosvetov.
The second period would be home to some excruciating painful penalty calls that went the way of both teams. The games chippy style of play was not something the refs were pleased with so they did their best to keep the game in tact. Some calls even had the coaches so aggravated they started chirping each other. Amidst the refs best efforts to steal the show both teams would manage to bury another tally, starting the third the same as we did the second, with a tie. This time 2-2 off of the goals from Cole Mackays 12th, and Aidan Prueter’s 6th.
The third saw the refs tuck the whistles away and made for the most entertaining of the periods. O’Rourke got into a scrap after not being to happy with an earlier hit on him. Something he didn’t forget.
Unfortunately it would be the only part of the game the Greyhounds would win. Cole Coskey would add to his goal total, notching his 16th to put the Spirit up with 13:04 remaining in the game. The Spirit would add an empty netter late in the game to ice it. Final score, 4-2.
The Greyhounds will have a quick turn around to try and change their fortunes, as they play the Sudbury Wolves Saturday night as the second game of a back to back.