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Battalion blitzes Kingston

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Daniel Walker had two goals and one assist and Brett McKenzie two goals to power the North Bay Battalion to an 8-2 victory Sunday over the Kingston Frontenacs, ending the Troops’ Ontario Hockey League losing streak at eight games.

Rhys Forhan contributed one goal and one assist and Jesse Saban, Brad Chenier and Brandon Coe each scored a goal for North Bay, which moved its won-lost-extended record to 4-6-2 for 10 points, tied with the Sudbury Wolves for fourth place in the Central Division with a game in hand. The Battalion’s previous win was a 6-5 overtime decision Sept. 27 over the visiting Wolves.

Goaltender Christian Purboo, in his second OHL game, made 29 saves for his first win before 2,174, the lowest Memorial Gardens attendance since the Troops relocated to North Bay from Brampton in 2013.

Jason Robertson had one goal and one assist and Brett Neumann the other goal for Kingston, 5-5-2 for 12 points, tied with the Oshawa Generals for fourth place in the East Division. The Frontenacs, who have dropped their last six games, including two via shootout, lost 3-2 Saturday night at Sudbury.

Starting goaltender Jeremy Helvig allowed four goals on 13 shots before giving way to Mario Peccia, who surrendered four goals on 18 shots.

“It’s nice for a game to go in our favour,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler. “Through this losing streak we had some games where we played pretty well and didn’t get results. It’s nice to be able to get results, and I’m happy with how the boys played.”

The teams emerged from the first period tied 1-1 before the Battalion struck for three goals in a span of 3:59 in the first half of the middle frame, starting when McKenzie connected at 5:00. Adam McMaster zipped the puck across the zone to McKenzie, who beat Helvig low to the glove side from the top of the left-wing circle. Adam Thilander drew the second assist.

Saban scored what proved to be the winner at 7:58 as his slap shot from the mid slot eluded a screened Helvig. Andy Baker assisted on defenceman Saban’s first goal since joining the Battalion last January.

McKenzie ended Helvig’s time in net with a power-play goal at 8:59, beating the goaltender from deep on the left wing. Justin Brazeau had the lone assist on McKenzie’s second goal of the season.

Kingston capitalized on a two-man advantage at 12:39 as Robertson converted from the right circle, but Chenier responded at 14:46, charging to the net and burying the rebound of Eric Allair’s left-point drive. Brazeau also assisted on Chenier’s second goal.

Coe struck at 9:28 of the third period, outmuscling Evan Brand and wristing the rubber high over Peccia’s glove. Thilander had the sole assist on rookie Coe’s second goal.

Walker scored twice in a span of 1:46. He beat Peccia to a loose puck and chipped it past the goaltender, who had ventured out of the net, at 13:32 with assists going to Forhan and Kurtis Evans, who earned his first OHL point. Walker then collected his fourth goal, racing past Eemeli Rasanen and lofting a backhander past Peccia with assists going to Baker and Cam Dineen.

Neumann opened the scoring at 3:23 of the first period, drilling a Robertson feed between Purboo’s legs. Forhan replied at 7:12 when he converted the rebound of Walker’s drive off the left wing. Baker earned the second assist.

Purboo produced an outstanding stop in the 16th minute when he slid across the crease to deny Ted Nichol’s attempt to bury the rebound of a Rasanen drive from the blue line. Robertson put the puck off the left post in the 17th minute.

The Battalion plays host to the Windsor Spitfires, reigning Memorial Cup champions, at 7 p.m. Thursday.

BATTALION BULLETS: McKenzie played his 270th game, eclipsing Luke Lynes for sole possession of fifth place on the Battalion’s all-time list … The Troops’ offensive output was the highest since an 8-5 win over the visiting Ottawa 67’s on Oct. 20, 2016 … Baker’s three-assist effort was his first multi-point game in the OHL … Saban, acquired in a Jan. 9 trade with the Hamilton Bulldogs, has played 40 games with the Troops … Defenceman Payton Vescio, a fourth-round pick in the OHL Priority Selection last April from the North Bay Trappers midgets, made his OHL debut. The North Bay native has played 10 games for the Powassan Voodoos of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, with one goal and seven assists for eight points … Mat Woroniuk backed up Purboo, as he did in a 7-1 road loss Friday night to the Mississauga Steelheads … Each team went 1-for-2 on the power play … Opening lines saw Luke Burghardt centring left winger Chenier and right winger Brazeau, McKenzie centring McMaster on left wing and right winger Coe and Kyle Potts pivoting left winger Luke Moncada and Evans on right wing. Forhan centred left winger Walker and right winger Baker … The Battalion scratched Julian Sime, Travis Mailhot, Simon Rose, Patrick Brown and Alex Robert … With an assist, Kingston’s Linus Nyman extended a points streak to five games during which he has three goals and four assists for seven points.

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