Storm blows into town

Soo Greyhounds defenceman Jordan Sambrook and Owen Sound Attack centre Aidan Dudas are perched in front of Hounds goaltender Matthew Villalta. JEFFREY OUGLER/SAULT STAR/POSTMEDIA NETWORK SunMedia

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No one has to convince the Soo Greyhounds just how impressive – and dangerous – the Guelph Storm can be.

The clubs have met three times this season and all three games have been decided in overtime.

“They’re big, strong, skilled and with a real good mix,” said Hounds head coach John Dean.

The two Western Conference rivals are slated to square off again on Friday in a 7:07 p.m. start at GFL Memorial Gardens.

The Storm blew a 3-0 lead, but beat the Hounds 4-3 in OT on Oct. 28 at the Sleeman Centre.

On Nov. 2 in the Sault, Guelph opened another 3-0 lead, but this time wound up losing 4-3 to the Hounds when Keeghan Howdeshell scored 48 seconds into extra time.

Back in Guelph on Nov. 23, the Greyhounds let a 4-1 lead slip away, and the Storm secured a 5-4 decision in overtime.

“They counter-attack very well,” Dean said of the Storm. “They’re good in transition so we’ll have to manage the puck well.”

“They take advantage of your turnovers,” added Hounds defenceman Jacob LeGuerrier, who scored his first career regular season goal in Wednesday’s 7-2 victory over Flint here. “They’re a deep team and really skilled.”

In his third OHL season, LeGuerrier had previously scored twice in a playoff game, helping the 2017-2018 Hounds defeat Kitchener 7-3 last April 27 in the Sault.

Meantime, the Greyhounds, winners of three straight, take an 18-7-4-1 mark into Friday’s clash, their second-to-last home game prior to the Christmas break.

Guelph, coming off of an 8-1 win over Kitchener on Sunday, enters with a 14-7-3-3 record.

Sault native Keegan Stevenson had a pair of goals to lead the Storm past the Rangers.

London (20-4-2-0) leads the Western Conference with 42 points, one more than the Hounds, although the Knights have four games in hand.

Guelph is third with 31 points, but has three games in hand on the Greyhounds.

“Guelph has a really-good team and this is a big conference game so we’ll have to be ready to play,” said Hounds defenceman Jordan Sambrook. “It’ll be two good teams going at it.”

Dean also spoke of the importance of his team playing consistently well for 60 minutes.

“We can’t sleep for a shift or two against this team,” the Hounds coach continued. “But we can also give them problems. We also have the ability to score in transition with our speed.”

Dean said he expects Matt Villalta to get the start in goal on Friday. It wasn’t known on Thursday whether Hounds captain Barrett Hayton would be able to play against the Storm.

Hayton has missed three straight games with an upper body injury and Dean said the Arizona Coyotes prospect is day to day.

Following Friday’s game, the Greyhounds are scheduled to play host to Barrie on Sunday (2:07 p.m.), before hitting the road next week for their final two games prior to the Christmas break.

The Greyhounds will be in Mississauga on Friday (7 p.m.) and Hamilton on Saturday (4 p.m.).

The Hounds are then idle until Dec. 28 when they play host to Saginaw.

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