Attack hold on to beat Flint

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Attack hold on to beat Flint

Postby Digger on Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:26 pm

Attack hold on to beat Flint
Greg Cowan, Pincher Creek Echo
By Greg Cowan, Owen Sound Sun Times
Saturday, December 9, 2017 11:22:18 EST PM

The Attack players, coaches, and fans must feel a whole lot lighter after holding on to defeat the Flint Firebirds, 5-4, on Saturday night at the Bayshore in Owen Sound.

Coming into the game, the Attack were losers of six-straight and often by way of the third-period collapse.

The Attack lead Flint 4-1 on Saturday heading into the third period before the Firebirds found their road legs and scored three unanswered goals to tie the game.

“Here we go again,” the tense hometown crowd of 3,034 must have thought.

“Saturday night at the Bayshore I think there was a little bit of a different feeling,” said the Attack’s Matthew Struthers following the game. “We were going to find a way to win, and we did just that.”

It was Struthers’ goal with just under seven minutes remaining in the third period which would push the Attack back into the win column.

The emotion on his face after shooting home a puck in the slot was as if six-straight losses were pouring out of him as the Milton native crouched and screamed into his knees, overjoyed.

“It was pure emotion,” he said. “In front of the fans it just took over, I was really excited.”

Coach Gill and the Attack players have been vocal during the losing streak about bad penalties getting the team in trouble. In the first period, it was the Firebirds who were guilty of the infractions and Owen Sound ready to take advantage.

With the Attack on the two-man advantage Maksim Sushko opened the scoring making no mistake on a wrist shot he had all day to place just over five minutes into the game.

On the same powerplay, now only up a man, Aidan Dudas made it 2-0 Attack collecting a rebound at the side of the net and putting it past Flint’s Garrett Forrest.

Daylon Groulx scored the third goal for the Attack tucking in a loose puck after a shot from Jacob Friend got behind Forrest and bounced back off the post.

It was all Owen Sound as they headed to the locker room up 3-0 and outshooting the Firebirds 13-6.

“They’re going to be gunning tonight, I know” said Owen Sound native and current Firebird forward Connor Roberts before the game. “Six straight losses . . . that’s something you take pretty seriously. It’s going to be a battle tonight.”

It didn’t look like much of a battle after the first period, but Flint opened the scoring in the second.

The Firebirds solved Mack Guzda at the 4:43 mark when Maurizio Colella scored his 10th of the year. Owen Sound would get it right back however on Team Canada hopeful Jonah Gadjovich’s 15th of the season.

Near the end of the second period, Brady Lyle thought he had a sure goal with the puck on his stick and nothing but white mesh two feet in front of him. Somehow Forrest, sprawling from post-to-post, got the glove in the way of the puck eliciting a gasp from the crowd.

Then, the Firebirds third period comeback kicked-off when Jake Durham’s bad-angle shot squeaked through Owen Sound’s young goaltender.

C.J. Clarke pulled the Firebirds within one with some strong cycle work down low resulting in a pass out front and Clarke making the most of the opportunity.

Just under two minutes later Jacob Collins completed the clawback for Flint batting home a puck which took a weird bounce of Guzda’s equipment right in front of the net.

“I think there was a moment early on where the ice was tilted in our favour,” said assistant coach Al Letang following the game. “I don’t think we realized the things we were doing to tilt the ice, and we got away from that . . . but we found a way.”

Cue the heroics from Struthers.

“To get a big goal like that and get us a win is huge,” Struthers said. “We wanted to get a streak going before the break. We’ll start with one and we’ll see what happens in Barrie.”

“Wins like this stop the momentum going the other way,” said Letang. “It’s how we respond Monday after the day off. We have to come to work with a workmanlike attitude and get back to doing those little things.”

The Attack had six assists from the backend on Saturday night, Jacob Friend recorded three, Durzi added two and Markus Phillips had a helper.

Guzda stopped 21 of 25 shots while Forrest got in front of 29 of the Attack’s 34 shots.

Owen Sound now travels to the Barrie Molson Centre to play the Colts on Thursday, puck drop at 7:30 p.m.
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Re: Attack hold on to beat Flint

Postby Pitou on Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:48 pm

I suppose this is this first step to turning things around, though it is one small step on a very low rung. Ending the losing skid is good news but it is tempered knowing that the Attack gave up a three-goal, third period lead in short order to the last placed, lowest scoring team in the OHL. That cannot happen regardless of who is in net. This speaks to a greater issue than just goaltending. It becomes a confidence thing, where winning is no longer expected or assumed and becomes a self fulfilling outcome.

CHristmas break with hopefully a new goalie and the return of some swagger, can't come soon enough for this team.
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