Greyhounds face toughest challenge in this young season vs Kitchener Rangers

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The Soo Greyhounds have been rolling so far this season sitting tied for 2nd in the Western Conference with the Kitchener Rangers. Tonight the Hounds will battle the  Rangers with the winner taking sole possession of 2nd place in the Western Conference.

Many Greyhounds fans are wondering how their home team will match up to another top dog in the West. To see how we stack up to Kitchener, we must take a closer look at the Rangers roster and compare it to the Hounds.

Rangers roster is more balanced than the Hounds

When you have a look at the Rangers roster it’s more balanced. The Rangers have 3 lines that can score with players such as Joseph Serpa, Mike Petizian, Reid Valade & Mitchell Martin. 3 out of these 4 players are on 3 different lines. This can make them harder to shutdown vs teams that are front-line heavy like the Greyhounds. Kitchener can and will run all 4 lines, however, the Rangers do not have that one “game changer line” as the Hounds do.

This will be interesting to see if the Hounds can keep rolling with 1 line doing most of the scoring. Or can another line step up to the plate to give the Hounds a more balanced attack? I feel Marco Mignosa could be an answer for the Hounds when it comes to more secondary scoring. He has 4 goals and 0 assists in 7 games this year. Mignosa could be a key player to watch for the Hounds in tonight’s game.

Both teams like to play hard and are not afraid to throw some big hits. I don’t really feel either team has an edge when it comes to the physical side of the game. Now if both teams start taking penalties, that is a different story.

Special teams could be a game-changer

Special teams are something that have been a topic of conversation this season for both teams. Both the Greyhounds & the Rangers are in the top 10 for power-play percentages in the OHL.  The Greyhounds sit 1st, scoring 32.4% of the time while the Ranger score 20% of the time, sitting 10th in the OHL. Both of these teams use their power-plays to break games wide open.

A difference-maker for this game could end up being the penalty kill. The Kitchener Rangers have a strong PK sitting 7th in the league, stopping the opposing team’s power-play 81.5% of the time.  This could make it harder for the Hounds to get their power-play rolling.

Sadly for our Greyhounds, their penalty kill is a completely different story. This has been a huge struggle for this team since the pre-season. The team has the worst PK in the league only stopping the power-play 64% of the time. The Greyhounds need to make sure they do not take any unnecessary penalties. With the Rangers having a strong power-play & the Hounds a weak PK this could hurt the Hounds’ chances of winning tonight’s game.

Goaltending

Taking a closer look at both teams’ goaltenders the Rangers seem to have a slight advantage. Between Kitchener’s netminders, they have a 2.94 GGA & 899 SVP. The Rangers have allowed 4 goals or less in 4 out of the team’s 6 games. Kitchener will have a tough task, however, shutting down the Hounds star players.

Our Greyhounds goalies have been hot and cold sitting at a GGA of 3.62 and an 871 SVP.  If the Hounds are going to win this game I feel that goaltending needs to step up for the Hounds. As we have spoken before, Samuel Ivanov has been either rock solid or he has looked shaky. The Greyhounds have been able to score their way out of this issue but, this might be harder vs the Rangers. I feel Ivanov will need to be solid and he will be tested often.

Do the Hounds have a legit chance vs the Rangers?

I really do feel our boys in red and white have a legit chance of taking down the Rangers, proving they are a better team than fans expected. However, it is not going to be an easy game. For the Greyhounds to win this game, they will need to focus on 4 key areas

  • Staying out of the penalty box
  • Goaltending needs to be strong
  • Lots of pucks on net
  • Play their game, force Rangers to take penalties

If the Greyhounds can make sure they stay focused on these 4 areas. I feel they can win this game or at least put up one heck of a fight.