SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – It was a game that meant very little standings-wise for either team.
The Soo Greyhounds and Guelph Storm wrapped up the Ontario Hockey League regular season on Sunday afternoon at the Essar Centre with both teams set in their respective positions in the standings.
The Greyhounds would come away with an 8-3 victory.
“Certainly we wanted to make sure we wanted to end (the regular season) on a positive,” said Greyhounds Coach Drew Bannister. “We had an opportunity to get some younger players and some guys that hadn’t been in the lineup a lot of ice time. I really liked the way not only they responded but our older guys off the first shift set the tone.”
For the Storm, the game was one to end what was a tough season.
“It’s hard to critique that,” said Storm Coach Jarrod Skalde. “We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough game and that’s a really good hockey team over there. You get what you kind of deserve.
“You hope to get a better effort overall and more of a showing than that but it’s understandable,” Skalde added. “The thing moving forward is we don’t want to be accepting this kind of stuff and accepting a season like this.”
Skalde would say the message heading into the game was to “go out there and enjoy the challenge. Go out there and enjoy it and work together and have fun. We had fun (Saturday) in Flint and let’s try to enjoy the last 60 minutes of the season.”
Veteran forward Blake Speers led the Greyhounds offensively with two goals and two assists while Tim Gettinger added a pair of goals.
“Our leadership group was great today, we took two top-six forwards out of our lineup and we still managed to score eight goals,” Bannister said. “We created a lot in the offensive zone. We were active and had the puck the whole game.”
Bryce Yetman chipped in with a goal and two assists while Liam Hawel had a goal and an assist. Medric Mercier and Conor Timmins also scored. Sophomore defenceman Gustav Bouramman assisted on three goals. Morgan Frost assisted on a pair of goals.
“I’m going to have some decisions to make going into the playoffs moving forward,” Bannister said. “We don’t know who is going to be available to us so it was important for us to get some guys in certain situations to look at guys.”
Goaltender Brandon Halverson made 17 saves for the Greyhounds.
Matthew Hotchkiss, James McEwan and Garrett McFadden had a goal and an assist each for the Storm.
Goaltender Bradley Van Schubert stopped 35 shots.
High-scoring forward Zach Senyshyn missed the game due to illness for the Greyhounds.
Rookie forward Boris Katchouk skated on Sunday morning after suffering a concussion Wednesday against Saginaw.
Katchouk skated for an hour ahead of Sunday’s game but whether he will be ready for game one of the playoffs hasn’t been determined.
“He still has to pass his impact test,” Bannister said. “Once he passes that, he’s good to be on the ice with us.”
The test is scheduled for Monday.
The Greyhounds, who finish the season with a 32-27-7-1 record and seventh in the OHL’s Western Conference, now prepare to open the playoffs on Friday night in Sarnia against the Sting.
Meanwhile the Storm finish the season with a 13-49-4-2 record and last in the OHL standings. The team is now looking forward to the OHL draft, scheduled for early April. The team will pick first overall.