Whalers Depth Too Much for the Soo in 5-2 Win
Five different goals scorers give Plymouth third straight win, 11-3 in last 14
PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Whalers utilized a familiar formula Friday night in defeating the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, 5-2, in an Ontario Hockey League game played before 2,487 at Compuware Arena.
In winning their third straight game, seven out of their last eight and 11 out of their last 14, the Whalers used five different goal scorers, solid work from goaltender Scott Wedgewood, and effective play from the blue line in spotting Sault Ste. Marie a 2-1 first period lead and then pulling away with over the final forty minutes.
Plymouth is now 16-10-1-1. Sault Ste Marie is 11-16-4-0.
In all, Stefan Noesen (13th), Tyler Brown (11th), first star Mitchell Heard (game-winning seventh), Robbie Czarnik (11th), and Rickard Rakell (12th) all scored for the Whalers. Veteran James Livingston assisted on the tying and game-winning goals for the Whalers and captain Beau Schmitz enjoyed a +3 night on the Plymouth blue line as the game’s third star.
Sault Ste. Marie’s best period was the first and they took a 2-1 lead into the final two minutes of the period on goals by Nick Cousins (14th of the year at 2:50 on a re-direct on the left wing side of the Plymouth goal) and Jake Carrick (7th of the year on a backhand at 17:58) sandwiched around Noesen’s power play goal at 16:31 (deflection in front of the Soo goal of Heard’s point shot).
But the Whalers tied the game with 2.3 seconds left in the period on a shorthanded goal by Brown. Livingston stripped the puck from a Soo player in neutral territory and found Brown skating on the right wing into the Sault Ste. Marie zone. Brown beat starting Greyhounds goaltender Matt Murray with a shot from the hash marks, top shelf, to tie the game.
The game stayed tied at 2-2 until 15:08 of the second period. The puck was shot behind the Soo goal and Noesen checked a Greyhounds defender. The puck pinballed to Livingston along the right wing half-wall and he found Heard in the slot. Heard scored, top shelf on Murray and the Whalers had their first lead of the game.
“It was a complete team effort tonight,” Heard said and then described his goal. “On the goal, I saw Livy look at me and got the puck and closed my eyes.”
Heard was quick to give Noesen credit, who started the play in the first place.
“Coach (Mike Vellucci) always tells us to take a hit to make a play and there’s a perfect example – Noesen just working hard, like he always does,” Heard said. “Everybody’s buying into the system here and good things are happening. We’re taking positivity out of every game over the past 15 games or so.”
The Whalers scored another goal in the final minute of play in the second period, set up by the speed of second star Alex Aleardi, who skated hard left wing into the Soo zone and behind the net. Aleardi fed Czarnik just outside the left side of the ‘Hounds goal and Czarnik scored on a quick one-timer at 19:24.
Leading 4-2 after forty minutes, the Whalers dominated the third period, outshooting Sault Ste. Marie, 20-8. Soo head coach Denny Lambert pulled starting goaltender Murray for veteran Chris Perugini to start the third period. With the Whalers killing a penalty with 1:38 remaining, the Soo called a time out, but Rakell scored on the empty net to ice the game for the Whalers.
Plymouth outshot Sault Ste. Marie, 46-30.
Plymouth remains at home Saturday night at 7:05pm at Compuware Arena, hosting Kingston. Tickets are available by calling (734) 453-8400.