Greyhounds show improvement in rematch with Spirit

After a 9-3 loss on Friday night, the Greyhounds picked up a win on home ice on Saturday

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On the heels of a lopsided road loss 24 hours earlier, the Soo Greyhounds wrapped up the home portion of their Ontario Hockey League exhibition schedule on a more positive note.

It wasn’t picture perfect, but the team rebounded in a 3-1 win over the Saginaw Spirit on Saturday night at the GFL Memorial Gardens.

The win came after the Spirit handed the Greyhounds a 9-3 defeat in Midland, Mich. on Friday night in a game that Greyhounds coach John Dean called “a pretty sloppy game on our side of it.”

Dean said following Saturday’s rematch that adding some veterans to the lineup was a help in the win to calm things down, but added that “by no means did I think the game was a work of art.”

“In exhibition, you look for the beginning of some of the details you’ve been teaching over the course of the week and the course of training camp,” Dean said. “Tonight, we saw a lot of good things, but a lot of breakdowns too. You could see the sense of purpose and when I see sense of purpose, I have no problem coaching that.”

For the Spirit and coach Chris Lazary, the game was about getting some experience for the younger players still with the club.

“Nobody cares about results this time of year, to be honest,” Lazary said. “It’s about getting your young guys experience, trying to put them in situations to feel the league, get them up to your style of play. We’re not looking at the end result. We’re looking at where we are and our identity.”

The Greyhounds opened the scoring 1:24 into the contest when Marco Mignosa beat Saginaw goaltender Brett Fullerton stick side on a breakaway after a Spirit turnover in the neutral zone.

Carson Christy tied the game for the Spirit at 4:01 later when he went to the net and redirected a pass from Luke McNamara on the left wing on a 2-on-1 past Sault netminder Charlie Schenkel.

Bryce McConnell-Barker gave the Greyhounds a 2-1 lead in the middle frame when he stepped past a Saginaw defender in the left faceoff circle before beating Fullerton at 12:01, giving the Greyhounds the lead for good in the contest.

With 2:10 to go in regulation time and the Spirit on the power play with their goalie pulled, Jordan D’Intino took a pass from Tyler Savard and scored into the empty Saginaw goal to make it 3-1.

The goal came with the Greyhounds down a pair of players as the Spirit pulled Fullerton shortly after a penalty to overage Sault forward Kalvyn Watson.

Schenkel made 26 saves for the Greyhounds in the win, going the distance for the home side.

“Charlie was a really solid, calming presence,” Dean said. “He made the guys in front of him feel very comfortable that if you make a mistake, he’s going to be there for us.”

D’Intino and McConnell-Barker finished the night with a goal and an assist each for the Greyhounds in the win.

Fullerton stopped 20 shots for the Spirit in the loss.

After some time off from game action, the Greyhounds will wrap up exhibition play on Sept. 23 on the road against the Sudbury Wolves. The team will then open regular season play the following weekend with a pair of games at home against the North Bay Battalion.

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