Another loss ends road run
HAMILTON — Arthur Kaliyev scored two goals, including the winner, and added two assists to power the Hamilton Bulldogs to a 5-1 victory Sunday over the North Bay Battalion, handing the Troops a seventh straight Ontario Hockey League loss.
Mattthew Strome scored two goals and earned one assist and Tim Fleischer produced one goal and one assist for Hamilton, which has a won-lost-extended record of 15-14-2 for 32 points, fourth in the East Division. Brandon Saigeon provided two assists, while goaltender Nick Donofrio made 22 saves before 2,573 at FirstOntario Centre.
Matthew Struthers scored for North Bay, 11-18-2 for 24 points, fifth in the Central Division. The Troops’ last win was a 5-2 decision Nov. 23 over the host Mississauga Steelheads.
Goaltender Christian Propp faced 35 shots as the Battalion completed a three-game road trip and wrapped up a run of six consecutive games away from Memorial Gardens. The Troops, who played three games in as many days, lost 4-2 Friday night to the Kitchener Rangers and 5-2 Saturday night to the Niagara IceDogs.
Fleischer opened the scoring at 6:19 of the first period when, as the trailer on a rush, he veered to the right side and tucked the puck inside the right post. Strome and Kaliyev drew assists on the play.
The Battalion had two excellent chances among nine shots in the period. Justin Brazeau broke in alone in the 15th minute and slipped the puck between the legs of the fallen Donofrio, but the goaltender squeezed his pads before the disc could cross the goal line. Struthers had two shots in close in the 12th minute at the end of a power play.
Hamilton erupted for three goals in the second period, including two from Kaliyev with the man advantage 59 seconds apart. Kaliyev one-timed the puck over Propp’s outstretched glove from the right-wing circle at 2:39 before making it 3-0 at 3:38, driving through the left circle to drill the puck past Propp’s blocker. It was Kaliyev’s team-leading 24th goal of the season.
Strome then converted off the left wing at 8:38 for his 11th goal.
The Bulldogs held a 13-8 edge in shots, with the teams trading breakaways late in the period. Propp denied Kaliyev in the 17th minute, and Donofrio foiled Brad Chenier at 17:16. Donofrio also dealt with good chances earlier in the frame for Struthers and Chenier.
Struthers broke Donofrio’s shutout bid at 7:22 of the third period, converting a Brazeau feed in the deep slot. Harrison Caines also assisted on Struthers’s 14th goal.
Strome struck again at 12:57. Payton Vescio blocked Isaac Nurse’s initial shot, but the puck slid to Strome, who fired it inside the right post for his 12th goal.
The Battalion plays host to Kitchener at 7 p.m. Thursday on Home Depot Night.
BATTALION BULLETS: The Battalion is 2-1-0 against Hamilton, with one meeting left in the season series, on March 14 at North Bay … The Troops’ Luke Burghardt sat out the third period after experiencing cramps. He played a third game after returning from a spinal condition that prompted him to quit hockey last summer … The Battalion’s league-leading power play went 0-for-3. Hamilton, ranked second, was 2-for-5 … North Bay is 6-12-0 on the road. Hamilton is 7-7-1 at home … Opening lines included Struthers centring left winger Burghardt and right winger Brazeau, Mason Primeau centring left winger Daniel Walker and right winger Brandon Coe and Adam McMaster centring left winger Chenier and Patrick Brown on right wing. Luke Moncada centred left winger Caines and right winger Kurtis Evans … The Battalion was without Travis Mailhot, Rhys Forhan, David Maier and Cameron Peters … Among the missing for Hamilton was Jake Gravelle … Saigeon has an eight-game points streak in which he has five goals and 10 assists for 15 points. He has two goals and six assists for eight points in three games against the Battalion … In three games against North Bay, Kaliyev has five goals and three assists for eight points. He has three goals and five assists for eight points in the last two games … The Troops overnighted at Hamilton on the trip … The referees were Pat Myers and Len Wood.