Hounds lose to Spits, face suspensions

PETER RUICCI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:09 AM ET

While the Soo Greyhounds lost a hockey game Saturday, the early part of this week will be dedicated toward not losing so many players.

Unless they can convince the Ontario Hockey League otherwise, the Hounds stand to be without four players for a minimum of two games each, following a physical, penalty-filled, 4-1 loss to the Windsor Spitfires at the WFCU Centre.

The Greyhounds are slated to entertain the Brampton Battalion Friday and Barrie Colts Saturday, both in 7:30 p.m. starts at the Essar Centre.

The Windsor clash was the third of a three-game road trip that saw the Hounds rally to win 4-3 in overtime in Saginaw Thursday, before beating Sarnia 8-4 one night later.

Jordan Nolan (instigator), Michael Quesnele (third man into a fight), Carson Dubchak (second fight on the same stoppage) and Brian Shaw (verbal abuse of official), all received game misconducts and face league discipline.

Reached Sunday, Hounds general manager Dave Torrie said Nolan, who fought the Spits Dale Mitchell, “wasn’t the instigator based on the video I watched this morning.”

Torrie said he exchanged e-mails with OHL vice-president Ted Baker Sunday, and planned to send video of the incident involving Nolan to the league office for review.

“We have our opinion on what took place,” Torrie said of the second period altercation. “We plan to talk to the league Monday.”

The Hounds GM also wasn’t convinced Quesnele, who came to the rescue of centre Nick Cousins, deserved to be ejected as the third man in.

While Cousins wasn’t penalized, Windsor’s Adam Henrique was assessed a two-minute instigator minor, a five-minute fighting major and a game misconduct for being the aggressor in a third period altercation with the Hounds rookie.

“We’re going to ask the league to define that (third man in) rule to us,” Torrie said. “That’s a tough call to make and to interpret.”

Spitfires head coach Bob Boughner was critical of the work of referees Mike Pearce and Seth Ferguson.

“I thought the refs lost control,” Boughner told The Windsor Star.

The officials wound up assessing 18 minor penalties, nine majors for fighting, four misconducts and seven game misconducts.

Three Spitfires, Henrique, Greg Nemisz and Taylor Hall also face suspension.

When asked for his opinion on the officiating, Hounds head coach Denny Lambert said: “There was some unusual stuff going on that I still don’t understand. But you just move on.”

Like Dubchak, Hall was tossed for being part of a second fight on the same stoppage of play.

Hall, the top-rated prospect form the 2010, NHL Draft, told the Windsor newspaper he thought he was targeted.

“There were three times when Hall was suckered behind the play,” Boughner said. “Then to throw him out, that’s an embarrassment. I’ll be talking to the league.”

When asked if his players were going after Hall, Lambert answered in the negative.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “We don’t play that way. We play everybody hard and I don’t care who it is. We tell our players to be as physical as they can be, with discipline, within our team structure.”

Despite Saturday’s setback and the suspensions which could follow, the Hounds say they plan to begin the work week today focused more on what was gained, and less on what was lost.

The victories over Saginaw and Sarnia have helped the Greyhounds to a 23-19-1-3 record.

Having dropped six of eight before the trip, they’ve also regained some needed confidence.

“It was a successful road trip that gives us a boost,” said captain Jake Muzzin, who thought the Hounds played well in Windsor. “We had some good, character wins in Saginaw and Sarnia. We played hard in Windsor and we played hard in those games, too. We know we can be good. We just have to continue building.”

Taking four of six points, a performance which has enabled the Hounds to hold sole possession of fifth place in the OHL’s Western Conference, also brought a smile to Lambert’s face.

“There’s no question, I’m pleased with how we played,” the coach said. “We identified some things we weren’t doing well before the trip and we played and worked hard.”

Two goals in the first 5:16 got the Spitfires going.

When Ryan Ellis scored at the 3:34 mark of the second period, Windsor’s 4-0 lead signaled the end of the night for Hounds netminder Robin Lehner.

He was replaced by Bryce O’Hagan, who was outstanding the rest of the way.

“He (Lehner) didn’t have a chance on the first two goals. But Robin wasn’t on his game and we needed to do something to shake things up,” Lambert said. “It was our third game in three nights. No excuses, but it took us a while to get our legs going in the first period. And O’Hagan did a really good job for us in relief.”

Mitchell scored the Spitfires first two goals, while Nemisz had the other Windsor tally.

Vern Cooper, on the power play, snapped Philipp Grubauer’s shutout bid with a power-play marker at the 12:29 mark of the final period.

The Hounds pumped 20 shots at Grubauer in that final frame and wound up outshooting the home team 39-29.

O’Hagan, who stopped all 15 shots he faced, said he entered the contest feeling as if he had nothing to lose.

“It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s something you have to deal with as a goalie,” O’Hagan said. “You have to battle hard and hold your team in. I did what I could and I thought I played well.”


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