Sault Ste. Marie 7, Plymouth 3 on Saturday
Photo - Danny Vanderwiel scores a shorthanded goal for Plymouth in a 7-3 loss to Sault Ste. Marie at Compuware Arena. Vanderwiel's goal was set up by Michael Whaley (blue jersey, 13, on ice in the background). Photo by Rena Laverty.
PLYMOUTH – Brandon Alderson’s first career hat trick in 245 games led the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to a 7-3 victory over the Plymouth Whalers in an Ontario Hockey League game played Saturday night before 3,020 at Compuware Arena.
The ‘Hounds extended a 1-0 lead after one period with four goals in the second period to lead 5-1 after forty minutes.
With the victory, Sault Ste. Marie (now 24-19-1-2, 51 points) moves to one point behind second-place Plymouth (22-14-5-3, 52 points) in the OHL’s West Division. Plymouth remains three points behind first place Sarnia (26-15-0-3, 55 points).
Besides Alderson’s hat trick (14-15-16th of the season), the Soo also received goals from Nick Cousins (18), Alex Gudbranson (3), Ryan Sproul (14), and Andrew Fritsch (13).
The first period featured good flow with the Whalers outshooting the Soo, 15-10. 'Hounds goaltender Matt Murray - the current Vaughan CHL Goaltender of the Week - was steady. He received help from the goal post when Plymouth defenseman Gianluca Curcuruto rang a puck off the cross bar in the first period.
As it turned out, Nick Cousins scored the only goal of the period for the Soo, a shorthanded snipe at 19:22 as he skated into the Plymouth zone to the left circle and beat Whalers goaltender Matt Mahalak with a low shot.
The Greyhounds raced to a 4-0 lead in the second period with three goals in a span of 6:05 - Gudbranson at 2:42 (hard shot from the right point), Alderson on a power play at 3:47 (shot from the hashmarks) and Sproul on a power play at 8:45 (broke his stick, picked up a new one from the Soo bench and wired a hard shot from the high slot).
Mahalak was pulled at that point in favor on Alex Nedeljkovic, who went the rest of the way. Mahalak stopped 16-of-20 shots in 28:45; Nedlejkovic stopped 12-of-14 in 27:01.
Plymouth got a goal back on Trocheck's first as a Whaler on a power play at 12:31 on a shot from the high slot that found a way to the back of the net through traffic. But Alderson came right back to give the 'Hounds a 5-1 lead at 14:29.
The Whalers' Tom Wilson was assessed a major for cross checking at 4:54 of the third period, giving the Grryhounds a five minute power play. But the Whalers scored twice shorthanded to cut the Soo lead to 5-3 on goals by Vanderwiel at 7:04 (scoring on a loose puck in front of the Sault Ste. Marie net after an excellent rush by Michael Whaley, who was hauled down on the play) and Hartman at 9:12 (ripping a high shot from the right circle).
Plymouth's rally was short lived, as Alderson scored at 11:04 and then Fritsch completed the scoring on the empty net with 3:47 remaining after Whalers head coach Mike Vellucci pulled Nedeljkovic for the extra attacker.
Plymouth outshot the Soo, 44-35.
Plymouth is home Monday afternoon at 2 pm at Compuware Arena against the Erie Otters (1:45 pm, 88.1FM WSDP).