Back from the abyss

Ernest Skinner Jr.
December 22, 2019

Yes, the Soo Greyhounds have managed to claw their way back into an Ontario Hockey League, Western Conference playoff spot with a dramatic, and almost miraculous come-from-behind victory on Friday over the Kitchener Rangers.

It was almost miraculous in the fact that not only were the Hounds down 3-1 at one point in the third period, and not only because the Hounds were facing the hottest team in junior hockey with the Rangers winning 10 games in a row, but these two other facts combined make it somewhat divine. 

If I heard the Rangers announcer correctly, when the Rangers who were leading 2-1 after two periods of play, enter the third with a lead they were something like 13-0.

On the other hand, a defeating stat for Hounds fans was when he mentioned that when the Hounds were trailing after two periods, they were 0-13. I am pretty sure I heard him right. When I heard this and the Rangers went up 3-1, I can’t print what I was thinking — let’s say it was rated R.

Now, the Hounds came back and won the game 6-3 and not only did they provide the last straw that broke the Rangers back, but they pole vaulted into seventh place in the Western Conference.

The Greyhounds had won the previous night as well to help their cause with an 8-3 thumping of the Barrie Colts. 

As you know the Hounds started off the season strong going 4-0, but then disaster struck and they went on a tear, in the wrong direction, by losing game after game after game. The Greyhounds had lost 11 out of 13  games in a span that was not pretty.

Goal-tending was the major the issue, and when general manager Kyle Raftis pulled overager Bailey Brkin out of a hat, the Hounds started to rebound.

In fact, since Brkin put on that red and white jersey, the Hounds have been one of the hottest teams in the league winning 11 out of their last 16 games and collecting points in 12 of them.

Not bad for a team that is missing its star player Barrett Hayton, and for the last couple of games, fellow star player Jaromir Pytlik, who is home in the Czech Republic getting ready to represent his country at this years World Juniors. 

Moving forward, the next while is going to be exciting, not only because of Christmas, not only because of the World Juniors, but because we’ll finally know the fate of the Hayton situation, and we will finally know the answer to the Nick Malik situation.

Malik is the Czech rising star goaltender that the Hounds drafted but has not, as far as we know, committed to coming to North America. 

If my hunch and source is right, Malik will join the team after the World Juniors. If this happens, it’s going to get tight between the pipes as someone will have to go.

If it’s the saviour Brkin, the Hounds could get a really good player for him, as he has proven himself. If it’s Ethan Taylor, we could get something, but more importantly, it will give this fine young man a chance to play. 

As you know it’s been rough for Taylor this season, as he has not played much and has had to pick more than a few slivers from his behind but like I said, he cheers on the team with class and if moved, the team getting him will be lucky. 

There is not much more to say, but politically correct or not: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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