PLYMOUTH, Mich. -

The Plymouth Whalers extended a 1-0 lead after two periods with four goals in the 3rd and defeated the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, 5-1, in an Ontario Hockey League game played Friday before 2,921 at Compuware Arena.

Plymouth won its second game in a row and improves to 19-27-0-5, good for 43 points and the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference playoff race. Sault Ste. Marie lost its third game in a row and remains in first place in the OHL’s West Division (second in the Western Conference) with a record of 35-14-1-4.

First star Ryan Hartman scored twice for the Whalers (17-18), third star Connor Chatham also scored twice (9-10) and Cullen Mercer scored his third goal of the year. Second star Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 34-of-35 shots to backstop Plymouth to the victory.

Greyhounds veteran Sergey Tolchinsky ruined Nedeljkovic’s bid for the shutout with his 25th goal of the season in the third period for the Soo.

Chatham’s first goal of the game at 6:28 of the third period stood as the game-winner for Plymouth.

The Whalers remain at home on Saturday, hosting the North Bay Battalion at 7:05 p.m. at Compuware Arena (TV - 7 pm, CN-900, Radio – 7 pm, 88.1FM WSDP).