The Soo Greyhounds have had a week to watch game film, collect their thoughts, and regroup as they get ready to battle the Owen Sound Attack Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
At this moment the Greyhounds are sitting 2nd in the Western conference while the Attack is 6th. The Hounds are 9 points ahead of Owen Sound however, as we saw last weekend, the standings don’t tell the full story.
This will be the first game since the OHL trade deadline for the Hounds and we know they have been very busy. Let’s hope these new players make the Hounds an even better team. The Greyhounds really want to end this home stand on a positive note and get both of these wins.
First things first, Saturday’s game. To win this game the Greyhounds are going to need to focus on some key areas that they struggled with last weekend, so let’s break them down.
Limit the odd man rushes
Looking back at the two games last weekend vs. the Windsor Spitfires, we noticed the Greyhounds were not always getting back defensively, something that has been an issue all season. The Greyhounds would be applying pressure in the offensive zone trying to score, then not hustling back to play defense. This was leaving the one defenseman and the goaltender, whether it was Tucker Tynan or Samuel Ivanov, out to dry. Pucks were getting into the 6 by 4 cage.
There are two ways the Hounds can play to fix this issue.
- Forwards pay more attention when defenseman pinch and back check harder
- Defenseman pinch less often not relying on forwards to get back defensively as much
If I was the coach for the Greyhounds, I would want my defenseman to pinch, as this team is built to score a lot of goals. While telling forwards if they don’t back check they’re going to get benched at least for a few shifts, if not the whole game.
If the Hounds can fix this issue, they will not be allowing so many goals in their own net, making their life a lot easier.
Get back to shooting from everywhere
For most of the season the Hounds have been a team that will shoot from anywhere and hope it goes in. However, when they played the Spitfires, this didn’t happen. The Hounds were out shot 62-55 by Windsor over the 2 games. This may not seem like much, but this really got the Hounds off their game.
The Greyhounds like to get at least 40 shots a game however, in the last two, they only got 26 and 30 shots respectively. This means they are not controlling the play and forcing the opposing team to play more defense.
This also hurts the team as they are not scoring as often. We have seen it all year, more shots on net, means more goals in the net for the Greyhounds offense.
Goaltending needs to be better
Goaltending has been an issue for the Greyhounds all season, it’s been up and down like a merry-go-round. Last weekend, we were down. Tucker Tynan started both games last weekend and he really struggled in the Sunday afternoon game in particular. Ivanov came in for the second half of the Sunday game and his game was odd.
Ivanov was making some saves that were outstanding and then letting in very weak goals. Whether we see Tynan or Ivanov playing this weekend, they need to find ways to make saves at the right time.
Will no fans be an issue once again?
Once again no fans will be in the stands as none are permitted via the government of Ontario restrictions. This was an issue for the Hounds, I felt, last weekend. I don’t think it will be a factor this weekend, however.
Last weekend was the first time the Hounds ever played without fans in the GFL. It had to be strange for the players to have no one cheering them on or booing the opposing team. You could see it was harder for the Hounds to build or get back momentum.
Now the Greyhounds have played without fans and they should be more used to it. I don’t see it being an issue for them this weekend.
So pop your popcorn, grab a cold one from the fridge and get ready to cheer your hometown team on. Puck drops at 7:07 P.M on Saturday & 2:07 P.M on Sunday.