Battalion defeats Oshawa
NORTH BAY, Ont. — Jake Henderson’s goal at 7:04 of the third period proved the winner as the North Bay Battalion skated to a 3-2 victory over the Oshawa Generals in an Ontario Hockey League game Thursday night.
Justin Brazeau and Luke Burghardt each scored one goal and added an assist for North Bay, which got 31 saves from goaltender Christian Propp.
The Battalion improved its won-lost-extended record to 25-22-8 for 58 points, third in the Central Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the idle Ottawa 67’s. The Troops, who lost their previous two games, are 12-3-2 in their last 17.
Allan McShane had one goal and one assist for Oshawa, which got its other goal from Kenny Huether. Goaltender Kyle Keyser faced 47 shots before 2,208 at Memorial Gardens. The Generals are 26-26-3 for 55 points, fourth in the East Division and seventh in the conference.
The teams were tied 1-1 through 40 minutes before Burghardt scored his 25th goal of the season at 4:44 of the third period off a three-on-one rush with Brazeau and Matthew Struthers, who had two assists. Brazeau backhanded a pass from the left side to Burghardt, who drove into the slot to beat Keyser.
Henderson then tipped home a right-point shot by Adam Thilander for a 3-1 lead, with Adam McMaster drawing the other assist. It was Henderson’s ninth goal and third since joining the Troops in a trade from the Kitchener Rangers on Jan. 9.
With Keyser gone for a sixth skater, McShane knocked the puck past the prone Propp at 19:08 to create a one-goal deficit, but Oshawa, despite leaving Keyser on the bench for the duration, couldn’t produce the equalizer.
The teams traded second-period goals, with Brazeau opening the scoring with his team-leading 33rd goal at 10:40. Burghardt set up Struthers in the slot for a quality shot, but Keyser made an outstanding blocker save. The puck went to Brazeau on the left wing, and he banked it off the right shoulder of the goaltender, who still hadn’t recovered from the stop, from a sharp angle.
“He was in a zone,” Battalion coach Stan Butler said of Keyser. “He was on a roll, and any time a goalie gets on a roll like that you’ve got to find a way to get a puck in. It’s funny: Just before that he makes such a great save, and then that one goes in.”
Huether countered at 17:06 when he took a pass from McShane behind the net and converted his team-high 26th goal from deep in the right-wing circle. Domenico Commisso had the other assist.
Propp foiled Serron Noel on a solo rush off the left wing after a turnover at the Oshawa blue line in the second minute, and Keyser sprawled to deny Burghardt with the rebound of a Struthers shot on the power play after Jack Studnicka went off for hooking at 2:11. McMaster tested Keyser with a backhander in the fifth minute, and the goaltender snagged a Burghardt blast off the left wing with Brazeau the decoy on a two-on-one rush at 9:52.
The Battalion outshot Oshawa 13-11 in the penalty-free first period, with the best scoring chance coming when Brad Chenier intercepted a pass just inside the blue line and broke in alone on Keyser.
The Battalion plays host to the Mississauga Steelheads at 2 p.m. Sunday on Epiroc Day in support of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
BATTALION BULLETS: Fans received ‘Good in Every Grain’ farmer cards on exiting the arena on Grain Farmers of Ontario Night. Hubert Beaudry was to conduct the ceremonial faceoff but was delayed in traffic and distributed cards with mascot Sarge after the game … It was the teams’ third of four games, after the Generals won 5-0 at home Jan. 1 and 6-5 via shootout at North Bay on Jan. 4 to complete a home-and-home series. The teams play the last of their season meetings at Oshawa on Monday … Riley Bruce played his 256th game, tying Dylan Blujus for ninth place on the Battalion’s career list … Burghardt has a four-game points streak in which he has two goals and five assists for seven points … North Bay went 0-for-2 on the power play. Oshawa was 0-for-1 … Opening lines included Struthers centring left winger Burghardt and right winger Brazeau, Kyle Potts pivoting left winger McMaster and right winger Henderson and Luke Moncada centring left winger Chenier and right winger Brandon Coe. Rhys Forhan centred left winger Daniel Walker and right winger Andy Baker … The Battalion scratched Simon Rose, Kurtis Evans and Patrick Brown … McShane has a nine-game points streak during which he has five goals and nine assists for 14 points … Huether has a six-game points streak in which he has five goals and eight assists for 13 points … The referees were Brett Montsion and Tom Sweeney.