Sault Ste. Marie 7, Plymouth 3 on Saturday

Jan 19, 2013 - 18:30 EST

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). 

Vince Trocheck (25th and first as a Whaler since coming in a trade with Saginaw on Jan.10 ), Danny Vanderwiel (4th) and Ryan Hartman (18th) replied for Plymouth.

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).