Although the season is still very young, early wins can and will make a huge difference in the outcome of a team’s season. The Soo Greyhounds are set to battle the Sudbury Wolves, a match that fans on both sides of Hwy 17 love to watch.
Last season back in 2019/2020, the Hounds and Wolves battled on the ice 5 times. The Hounds won 3 games and the Wolves won 2. This year however, the Wolves have had the upper hand so far.
In the pre-season, this battle of Northern Ontario happened 3 times, with the Wolves winning twice and the Hounds only winning once. The Hounds also lost their 1st meeting in the regular season to the Wolves 6-3. Going into tonight’s game the Hounds have a record of 3 wins and 2 loses. If the Greyhounds are going to win tonight’s game they must play strong in these 3 key areas.
Coach always says start on time
When we looked back at the Hounds most recent road trip, I saw a pattern I did not like. The team seemed to start slow, allowing goals within the 1st minute in 2 out of those 3 games. Although the Hounds were able to battle back in the game vs the Colts, going down 2-0 in the first plus being out shot 16-7 is something this team doesn’t want to repeat.
The Wolves are the type of team that likes to attack early and often, using physical play to dominate. If the Hounds start slow the Wolves can and will make them pay. From the opening face off Greyhounds will need to be ready. If the Greyhounds can play their style of game early and set the tone, it will make the task of being the Wolves much easier.
Stay out of the box!
We all know the Sudbury Wolves are one of the tougher teams in the OHL, They are not afraid of throwing some monster hits and even dropping the gloves when necessary. The Hounds will need to find a balance between playing on that edge like the Wolves, but not crossing the line.
The Greyhounds have gone shorthanded 14 times in just 5 games this season. Let’s round that up to an average of 3 penalty kills per game. This has made the Hounds penalty killing players work very hard and although they are doing the job 71.4 percent of the time, it really puts the team behind.
The Wolves have gotten their power play unit out 28 times so far in just 6 games. When Sudbury gets their chances, they are very good at scoring while capitalizing on the one man advantage, scoring 21.4 percent of the time. The Hounds are going to want to limit Sudbury’s chances, and staying out of the box is the best way to do it.
Shots turn into goals
Last but certainly not least, if the Hounds are going to come out on top they must play their style of game. The Greyhounds have a very fast team this year. They like to use their speed to get to pucks first, creating scoring chances.
With this style of play they can shoot the puck from pretty much anywhere, generating lots of traffic in front of the net, and creating chaos around the opposing teams net minder. Mitchell Weeks, the Wolves goaltender, is having an okay season but he is beatable with a 3.85 GGA and a 893 SV%. If the Hounds can put pressure on him they should be able to pop some goals in the net.
The Hounds’ goaltending has been up and down to start the season as well. Samuel Ivanov has had games where he has been a brick wall and other nights where he has been shaky. I feel that getting many shots on the opposing net and building a lead will make a huge difference in this game.
So your saying there’s a chance
I look at this as a measuring stick game for the Hounds. After winning their first 2 games the Wolves have struggled losing 4 straight. However, this year they seem to have a book on how to beat the Greyhounds. For the Hounds, they will want to keep up their strong play from the road trip and show fans this team is the real deal.
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