No joy in Houndtown

May 3, 2015

There is an Erie silence in Houndtown.

For the second successive spring, the Erie Otters have sidelined the Soo Greyhounds from the Ontario Hockey League, Western Conference playoffs.

And for those in any way associated with the Greyhounds, this one is tough to take.

The Hounds finished atop the OHL’s overall, regular-season standings in 2014-2015 with 110 points and while that was only six more than what the Otters totalled, the Soo was the overwhelming favourite to take the Western Conference playoff title from Erie and advance to the league championship series.

Erie, though, had other notions.

Buoyed by the adjusted game plans and the cunning coaching of Kris Knoblauch, the Otters upended the Greyhounds four games to two, stunning a dream team of multiple first-and-second-round National Hockey League draft picks.

Did Erie have more bounces go its way than the Soo did?


But this wasn’t a one-game series or a best-of-three.

This was a best-of-seven and when one team beats another four times in nine days then credit should be given where credit is due.

Aside from defenceman Darnell Nurse, who was a standout, the Hounds were unable to find a way to neutralize Otters superstar centre Connor McDavid and his accelerated speed.

And unless my eyes were playing tricks on me, Erie was able to generate far more in-close scoring chances than the Soo was over the course of the six games. The Hounds may have had more shots but the Otters had better scoring opportunities.

Some things are meant to be and some things aren’t.

This was meant to be for Erie and this was not meant to be for the Soo.

Whine and moan and bitch and blabber about the officiating and the perception that the referees had a preference for the Otters over the Hounds — but the fact is that Erie had just enough of an edge on the Soo over the course of 360 minutes of playoff hockey.

I don’t think the Greyhounds lost the series as much as I think the Otters won it.

Besides, what has happened cannot be changed.

Erie won the series.

The Soo did not.

PHOTO: Erie Otters are the OHL’s Western Conference champions. (Photo by Dan Hickling.)

What you think about “No joy in Houndtown”

  1. Greyhounds made some major trades, but goaltending was a failure Halvorsen could not. Stop a BEACHBALL. That’s why goaltending so important in playoffs.Hopefully hounds can rebound after great season,

  2. Reading between the Lines it seems that Randy is saying that Erie got better coaching in the Series. I have to agree .. Knoblach adjusted and Keefe not as much so.

  3. a team of talented players that did not play as a team got beat by a talented player who put team first .

    the moaning about the number of power plays given or not given is moot
    It is the responsibility of the team to score on their power play and not get scored on by the other teams

    Erie won the special teams battle if the soo would have killed off 95% of the Otters PP ‘s maybe the out come would have been different

    it was exciting for sure

  4. Looking at it dispassionately, I have to agree that Erie deserved to win. It certainly wasn’t “bounces” or an officiating conspiracy. Many factors were at play: lack of discipline first and foremost, PP stopped functioning, timely saves, and their best players, specifically MacDavid and Baptiste, got it done. Can’t blame Keefe. He is one of the best player-coaches and tacticians in Junior. Lucky to have him. The re-load won’t take long. Look at his record in Pembroke.

  5. Full credit to the Otters. Their ability to adapt as the series went along certainally helped them succeed ! Stealing home ice away from the Greyhounds in Game 2 was instrumental and definitely turned the series I feel. In what I thought was a lacklustre effort of the 6 games ,the Hounds let Erie escape with that game and were trying to play catch up the rest of the way! The Hounds fought very hard to wrest home ice away from all the contenders right down to the final weekend and with it firmly in their grasp, they were outplayed in that Game 2 and gave it away. I’m sure if they could have changed it, they would. They were able to hold serve in Game 5 with a boisterous crowd supporting them and wanted a Game 7 to do it yet again. Unfortunately a game Otter’s squad were determined to keep their home ice and dealt the Hounds their death knell! Fantastic series with incredible players and talent. We as supporters of the OHL are indeed fortunate to see such incredible hockey played right here in our backyard!

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