The last weekend of the 2018-2019 OHL regular season is upon us, and what better time to truly test the skill of the Hounds than right before the playoffs. The Greyhounds defeated The London Knights Friday night by a score of 6 to 3
While the Hounds went into this game knowing their chances at three-peating the west division title were officially over after Thursday’s 2-1 OT win over the Spirit, the Knights were a great measuring stick as to the true talent the team has to offer.
Barrett Hayton made his return to the lineup in Thursday’s match up, and seemingly didn’t skip a beat, managing to bury a goal and an assist, good enough for the game’s first star of the night.
The Hounds were without Morgan Frost as he served the final game of his suspension, making him eligible for a Sunday afternoon return against the Spirit. Howdeshell also missed the Thursday matchup with a potential stomach virus, and would miss Friday’s game as well.
Prior to the start of the game, both Sambrook and Villalta were honoured as this weekend will be the last in the OHL for both over-agers. Frost and Howdeshell will be honoured ahead of Sunday’s game.
The first period proved that Hayton’s first game back was no fluke, managing to pot the game’s first goal. Players like Hayton stand out even to the most casual of fans, and every shift he played had him glued to the puck and generating scoring opportunities. Hollowell scored the other goal of the frame for the Hounds, as both players notched their 24th of the campaign. The Hounds would enter the second up 2-1.
The second period would only be enjoyable until the last 2 minutes of the frame. The frustration from the Knights was obvious. The Hounds had three separate five on three power play opportunities, one of which was a full two minutes. In total, the Knights registered 7 penalties in the second alone, but would only let one goal pass them with a man down.
The Hounds would manage a 4-1 lead before things would take a turn for the worse, jeopardizing the playoff chances of this team majorly.
Matt Villalta would make an absolute robbery on a Knights cross crease shot, but would not get back to his feet after in obvious discomfort. It would take a couple minutes and a talk with a trainer before the Hounds number one net-minder would get back on his feet and skate off on his own power.
Taylor would take his place while the Hounds were killing a penalty and let a goal past him on three shots to close the period. The goals for the Hounds would come from Pytlik and Hayton with his second of the night.
Both teams would manage one more in the third, goal scorers would be Carroll and Bouchard with his second.
The Hounds would add an empty netter as with 5 minutes left they had a penalty to kill and the Knights pulled former Hound Raaymakers. Hayton completes the hat trick and the Hounds with 6-3. The Hounds regular season comes to a close Sunday, as they try to continue playing spoiler to the Saginaw Spirit. Let’s hope we see a healthy Villalta join the team in any capacity.