The Soo Greyhounds are losing ground and losing ground quickly. Last night the Hounds were once again owned by the Windsor Spitfires losing 7-3. To say the Hounds were not gifted chances to win would be inaccurate. The best power play in the league had 9 chances to score with an extra attacker but managed only 2 goals during those opportunities. A crucial game it was as the Spits are now only 1 point behind the Hounds with games in hand but that isn’t the most worrisome part of things right now.
After being one of theeeee, If not theeeee best road team in the league for the last 3 or 4 seasons, the Hounds now are just an average road team with a record of 11-15 including OT losses etc.
Why does this matter? Well the Hounds are going to be overtaken by the Spits and it is only a matter of time unless something drastic happens. The Spits are moving up quickly.
But…the clear picture is that the Hounds are in jeopardy of dropping to 5th in the conference and if they do they will lose home ice advantage in the playoffs which they desperately need. The Guelph Storm are now on their heels and are only 6 points behind the Hounds but have 4 games in hand.
Home ice advantage now becomes a huge factor as capacity limits have been completely lifted and the energy from the crowd is like having that extra weapon at your disposal. The Greyhounds cannot afford to lose that weapon.
So what needs to happen?
Yes, the Hounds have lost Tanner Dickinson for the season and most likely the playoffs unless the boys go deep and he recovers ahead of schedule, and yes the Hounds have had problems defensively, but they are going to have to assess their style and priorities moving forward.
Sammy Ivanov has played really well this year but the Hounds dealt for Tucker Tynan who has played well in his own right but has not stolen any games. When Ivanov is healthy he is going to have to play more and if he is winning he should stay in the net. This is going to challenge Tucker to step up per se as the word on the street was he was dealt to be the 1st string tender playing most games with a few days off here and there.
Well things have gone from bad to worse since just before Christmas and what started out as who will challenge them for first in the Conference has changed to who do they have to stay ahead of the get home ice advantage. It is pretty much agreed upon I think in hockey circles that the Hounds will not drop out of a playoff spot as their opponents below are too far behind to catch up but who knows anything can happen.
I think John Dean seeing that his younger players like younger players like Tyler Savard, Owen Allard, Bryce McConnell-Barker and Kalvyn Watson have been playing really good hockey, might possibly want to assess his lines and move some of his big guns around to balance things.
Coach’s adjust all the time and it seems they have figured out the Hounds as you see the losses pile up. It is time for the Hounds to adjust in my opinion. You are not going to win hockey games with one and a half lines and insert a checking line and an energy line if your opponent has four solid lines.
The Hounds need a legitimate threat on all of the lines. John Dean and Jamie Tardif are masters at teaching puck control and movement and I think the younger kids would do very well inserted at times on the top lines.
Jordan Smith has done a great job with younger kids on the backend and especial addressing the PK and he needs to be applauded for that. My question though is that with the Hounds having three of the top defenseman in the league in O’Rourke, Thompson, and Calisti, how are we letting in so many goals. Included in those players are two top offensive defenseman in Robert and Jack . This team has deep talent but for whatever reason it is not clicking right now.
Jack for instance when playing for a losing team the Sudbury Wolves managed to end up a +2 in 29 games whereas with the Hounds in 20 games he is -8.
On another note, as much as I love O’Rourke and Calisti, they have been very undisciplined over the course of the last month or so more times than I can count by either being out of position or taking bad penalties.
These things must be addressed because if there is no damage control soon, the Hounds may find themselves popped off in the first round of the playoffs.
Scoring for the Dogs last night were Cole McKay with 2 and Bryce McConnell-Barker with the other.
The only players even in the +/- column and not on the ice for a Windsor goal last night were rookies Caeden Carlisle, Kirill Kudryavstev, Ethan Montroy, and first year Hound 19 year old Jordan D’intino.
These stats are more important than most think.
**Anyway the Hounds are back in action on Wednesday in Sudbury where they play the 3rd worst team in the league and back at home in the Soo Friday and Saturday against the Kitchener Rangers who are the 17th ranked team out of 20 in the league. The Hounds must win all of these games against lesser opponents if they want to get back on track. **
Go Hounds Go