Friday night in Sault Ste. Marie, the Plymouth Whalers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Greyhounds. Jared Boll and captain John Vigilante scored for Plymouth while goalie Ryan Nie stopped 24 shots.
“It’s a sad day when you go into the game, look at who the referees are and you know you’re going to get screwed,” said Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci to the Sault Star. “You make a five-and-one-half hour bus ride and get that kind of officiating. You can go down the list, there were soft calls all night.”
Back home Saturday night against the OHL’s and Canadian Hockey League’s top team, the Peterborough Petes, the Whalers lost in a shootout, 6-5. The Petes are now 20-3-1-0.
It was the fourth straight Saturday night at the Compuware Sports Arena that a game went into the shootout.
Boll, James Neal, Vigilante (penalty shot), Vaclav Meidl and Andrew Fournier scored for Plymouth and Nie finished with 34 saves. Evan Brophey added three assists and Ryan McGinnis chipped in a pair.
Fredrik Naslund also scored on a penalty shot for Peterborough and the two penalty shots in one game was a first for the Compuware Sports Arena.
In the shootout, Daniel Ryder won it on Peterborough’s last shot. No Plymouth player scored as Mike Letizia and Fournier missed. Steve Downie also scored in the shootout for the Petes.
Plymouth outshot Peterborough, 44-39.
“We have nothing to hang our heads over,” said Vellucci. “We responded well not having two of our top five defensemen (Steve Ward and Wes Cunningham, both just "injured” according to Vellucci) and (John) Armstrong (concussion).”
The Whalers are now 13-8-1-3 and in second place in the OHL West behind Saginaw.
Plymouth is off until Friday night when they host the Mississauga IceDogs at 7:30 p.m. The Whalers then host Kitchener Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
The Owen Sound Attack came to Saginaw (15-9-0-0, first place, OHL West) Saturday night, jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in their 8-2 win over the Spirit. The game featured a five-point performance from Owen Sound's Bobby Ryan, the second-overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
Captain Patrick McNeill and Ryan McDonough scored for Saginaw and Spirit goalie Ryan Daniels stopped 48 Attack shots in the effort.
Then Sunday afternoon, Saginaw upset the OHL and CHL's top team, the Peterborough Petes, 7-2.
McDonough scored twice and Tom Pyatt, Jack Combs, Chris Chappell, Matt Corrente and Jesse Gimblett added solos. McNeill tacked on five assists to break the team assist record of four held by former Spirit forward Geoff Platt. McNeill's five points ties a team record held by Platt.
Steven Whitely assisted on McDonough's second goal for his first OHL point.
Spirit goalie Francois Thuot stopped 32 shots in the effort. The win takes Saginaw's record to 15-9-0-0, for 30 points. Saginaw resumes action Saturday versus the Mississauga Ice Dogs at 7:11 p.m. at the Dow Event Center.
Ryan Hayes and Cade Fairchild had a goal and an assist each, and Matt Rust slipped home a shootout goal as the seventh shooter as the U.S. National Development Program Under-17 squad edged Traverse City on Saturday at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube, 6-5.
Matt Larke registered a pair for goals for the North Stars - his sixth and seventh of the season - while Steve Hackman dished out a pair of assists. Traverse City has dropped five straight NAHL contests, falling to 9-11-3, and continued to experience low wattage on the power play. The Stars were 0-for-6 with the personnel edge on Saturday, and are in the midst of an 0-for-28 power play drought. The last stars specialty teams goal came on Nov. 12 in the first period against Alpena.
On Friday, James van Riemskyk put the host U-17s up 1-0 with the lone goal of the opening period. Larke answered at 3:04 of the second session, and the visitors pulled ahead 40 seconds later when Hackman and newly-signed Bobby Collar set up Rickie Zobak for his first goal of the 2005-06 campaign. At 6:44 of the second Mike Cieslak knotted the affair, but Larke's second goal put TC back in front near the halfway point of the second period.
Fairchild, Colin Wilson, and Hayes rattled off a trio of unanswered tallies for Team USA, and the stage was set for a Stars comeback. Josh Sorenson pulled Traverse City within a goal at 8:33 of the third period, and freshly-inked Joe Schweiger put the contest into overtime with his equalizer at the 13-minute mark. Zeke Costello assisted on the Sorenson goal, while Hackman and defenseman Christoffer Rasmussen set up Schweiger.
After a scoreless overtime session that featured a 5-1 North Stars edge in shots on net, both teams expended their initial five shooters in the shootout session, with Adam Sponseller and Travis Paeth scoring for Traverse City, and Hayes and van Riemskyk doing the same for Team USA. Rust ended it two shooters later.
Ryan Donovan (14 saves) and Jeremy Kaleniecki (eight saves) split time in net for the Stars, while Josh Unice stopped 27 of 32 shots for USA (17-6-3).
Traverse City gets back to business this weekend in Cleveland, visiting the Barons for a Saturday evening-Sunday matinee series at Lakefront Arena.
The IceDiggers split at home with the Mahoning Valley Phantoms, winning 3-1 on Friday night and losing by the same score Saturday.
Drew Pierson, Chris Lanciano and Zach Barron scored Friday night and captain Nolan Craner added two assists. Johnny Morrow stopped 34 shots for the win.
Saturday night, only Chris Hendrickson tallied for Alpena and Morrow made 27 saves.
Alpena visits Mahoning Valley this weekend for a pair starting Friday night. It will also be the third weekend in a row the two teams have played one another.
The Black Bears travel to Sudbury to battle the Sudbury Jr. Wolves this Wednesday. They were idle last weekend.
Metro Jets 5 at Grand Rapids Jr. Owls 6
Flint Jr. Generals 6 at Michigan Ice Dogs 4
Michigan 6 at Metro 5
Michigan @ Motor City, 6:50 PM, Canfield Arena
Motor City @ Cleveland, 5:30pm, Metroplex
Flint @ Columbus, 8:00 PM, Chiller North
Motor City @ Cleveland, 1:30 PM, Metroplex
Flint @ Columbus, 1:50 PM, Chiller North
Metro @ Grand Rapids, 1:30 PM, Southside Arena
Plymouth-Peterborough photo courtesy of Matt Mackinder