The Sault Greyhounds started off the year strong sitting in either first or second in the Western conference for a good month or so and seemed to really hold onto second. The team has started to slow down in their last 10 games winning 6 while losing 4. We really saw the decline in play after the loss to the London Knights. The Hounds are now tied for 2nd in the west as the Guelph Storm are right on their tail.
However, things have been improving since they won their last game on Sunday afternoon vs the Erie Otters, although it wasn’t a perfect win. The Hounds are now looking for the same results tomorrow night as they battle the Erie Otters once again. So let’s break down some important keys to victory.
Don’t fall asleep in the 2nd period
The Greyhounds of late have had some real issues with their second periods, we see them time and time again losing games just because they didn’t play well in this middle frame. We really started to see this trend begin in the game vs London. They were out-shot and outscored in the second, making it impossible to get the win.
In the Hounds most recent win over Erie the middle frame was a lot better. They out-shot the Otters 22-7, controlling most of the period. However, they still got out scored making this game closer than it should have been.
The Greyhounds will need to make sure they don’t let this game slip in the second, playing a full 60 minutes. Start on time, finish strong, and no naps in the middle.
Stay out of the penalty box
Something that has been an issue since the pre-season has been the Greyhounds penalty kill. It has been getting better as the season goes on but it’s still not great. In their last win over Erie the Hounds went short handed twice, allowing power-play goals on both PK’s.
Luckily the Hounds were able to score their way out of trouble in that game getting the win. However, this is something that the Hounds really need to get a grip on and soon. Not being able to kill off a power-play makes the difference between playoff teams and teams playing golf, or at least for now teams losing close games.
Run up the score as much as you can & avoid playing in your own end
Normally I say if you have a big lead and you’re on the road show some respect and don’t run up the score but, I am changing my way of thinking for this team. The Hounds do not play the best in their own zone, an issue the team has been having all season long. The Hounds have been able to avoid this issue by scoring at a surprisingly high rate.
Right now the Greyhounds just need to get back into winning a lot of games and put together a winning streak to regain the team’s confidence. When the Hounds can score around that 4-5 goals per game they seem to get the win.
The best way to make sure the Hounds get the goals they need is to try and get on the power-play as much as possible. The power-play has been almost unstoppable, scoring over 30% of the time. Also, when they are on the power-play, most likely the other team is not applying pressure on the Greyhounds so-so defense.
For this team at least, the best defense is a great offense.
I feel if the Hounds can get back to playing their game, plus focus on these three keys to victory, they can win this and string together a winning streak. Then the team can focus on some of the issues that have been holding them back this year and could hold them back from a deep playoff run. However, that my friends, is for another day.
So make sure to either set your alarm or set the PVR as puck drop is tomorrow night at 7:00 PM at the Erie Insurance Arena.