Friday Highlights: LeGuerrier, Kopacka help Greyhounds rebound in Game 5
WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES – GAME 5:
SAULT STE. MARIE 7 – KITCHENER 3
(SSM leads series 3-2)
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds needed to rebound after being outscored 10-4 in Game 3 and 4 losses and the friendly confines of the Essar Centre were just what the doctor ordered.
Anaheim Ducks prospect Jack Kopacka (6, 7, 8) recorded a hat-trick while sophomore defenceman Jacob LeGuerrier (1, 2) scored the first two goals of his OHL career as the Hounds beat the Rangers 7-3 before a crowd of 4,882.
“That was a big confidence booster tonight for me,” said Kopacka, who was held pointless in Games 2, 3 and 4. “I struggled in Games 3 and 4, thought I played pretty well in Games 1 and 2, but got back on pace here and I had a lot of help from my linemates.”
While Kopacka led the way with three goals and an assist, Keeghan Howdeshell (8) and Tim Gettinger (4) joined LeGuerrier with markers while defenceman Jordan Sambrook collected two assists.
“I thought we showed a real sense of urgency, something that we really hadn’t shown in this series yet,” said Greyhounds coach Drew Bannister.
“I talked about it before, but we needed more from certain guys and our secondary scoring and those guys really came to play tonight.”
Sault Ste. Marie outshot Kitchener 44-20 as Nick McHugh (3), Logan Brown (5) and Kole Sherwood (13) responded with goals for the Blueshirts.
Kitchener faces elimination for the first time in these playoffs, returning to The Aud for what’s sure to be a closely matched contest on Sunday.
“It’ll be nice to go back,” said Rangers head coach Jay McKee. “We have to win a game in the Soo, it would have been nice to have it tonight but I thought the Soo brought their ‘A’ game. They showed why they’re a team that only lost one time in regulation here in Sault Ste. Marie and we probably brought our ‘C’ game.
“At this point in the playoffs if you don’t bring your best game you’re probably not going to win.”
The Greyhounds can close out the series on Sunday afternoon in Kitchener when the two teams square off in Game 6 of the series at 2:00pm.
POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE: