Battalion doubles Knights
NORTH BAY, Ont. — Justin Brazeau scored two goals and added three assists to help propel the North Bay Battalion to a 6-3 victory Sunday over the London Knights in Ontario Hockey League action.
Luke Burghardt provided two goals and two assists and Kyle Potts and Jesse Saban, into an empty net, also scored for North Bay, which received 28 saves from goaltender Christian Propp. The Battalion, with a won-lost-extended record of 15-19-6 for 36 points, vaulted past the idle Mississauga Steelheads into third place in the Central Division and is tied with the Ottawa 67’s for sixth in the Eastern Conference.
Sam Miletic had two goals and one assist for London, which got its other goal from Nathan Dunkley. Goaltender Jordan Kooy allowed five goals on 31 shots for the Knights, 22-15-3 for 47 points, second in the Midwest Division.
Braden Henderson, acquired Saturday from the Sarnia Sting in a trade for fellow defenceman Cam Dineen, made his Battalion debut before 2,376 at Memorial Gardens.
“Cam had 29 games (left) here, and the player that we got back we think is a very skilled offensive guy, just a couple of years younger, and we got a lot of picks, so we think it’s a good trade for our hockey team and it’s good for Cam as well,” said Stan Butler, the Battalion’s director of hockey operations and head coach.
The Troops, who led 4-2 through 40 minutes, extended their lead when Brazeau scored his team-leading 27th goal of the season on the power play at 2:12 of the third period. The Knights missed completing a pass on a two-man breakaway, and Brazeau crashed the crease on a counter-rush, tapping home a Burghardt shot that slid between Kooy’s legs as Adam Thilander drew the other assist.
Miletic scored an unassisted shorthanded goal at 8:59 off a two-on-one rush, and London had two power plays in the final nine minutes. Saban went off for tripping at 15:15 to produce the last man-advantage situation, and Kooy was pulled for a sixth skater. Saban was just out of the penalty box when he retrieved a rink-length Brazeau clear off the end boards and tucked home the empty-netter at 17:23.
Burghardt scored his 19th goal at 4:54 of the second period to give North Bay a 2-0 lead, driving to the left lip of the crease to convert a diagonal pass from Brazeau, with Saban also assisting.
Brazeau, trailing on the play, struck at 8:44 after Matthew Struthers was denied on a setup by Burghardt before Dunkley responded 20 seconds later, beating Propp from the left side.
Potts scored what proved to be the winner at 9:52, tipping a left-point shot by Nick King behind Kooy, with Luke Moncada drawing the second assist.
Miletic scored on a two-man advantage at 16:56, one-timing a pass from Evan Bouchard after the Troops were called for too many men on the ice and penalty killer Potts went off for slashing.
Burghardt scored at 10:48 of the first period with a delayed penalty for hooking pending to London. Burghardt got the puck from Brazeau and darted toward the net, beating Kooy high to the glove side.
Brandon Coe had a breakaway down the right side in the second minute only to be denied on a backhanded attempt by Kooy, and Andy Baker was foiled in front at 3:06 after a couple of solid checks rattled the Knights behind their net.
Propp stopped Bouchard, the trailer on an odd-man rush, at 6:59, when Riley Bruce went off for interference, giving London its first of two power plays in the frame. Bouchard hit the left post with the man advantage before Alex Turko rang the puck off the crossbar.
The Battalion plays host to the Owen Sound Attack at 7 p.m. Thursday.
BATTALION BULLETS: Dineen, who was traded for Henderson and as many as seven OHL Priority Selection picks, was honoured before the game, commanding a minute-long ovation from the crowd … With Dineen’s departure, rearguard Thilander has been named an alternate captain, joining Saban and Brazeau under captain Bruce … In 209 games with the Guelph Storm and Battalion, Burghardt has 103 points, including 45 points in 40 games with the Troops … The game completed the teams’ season series after London won 3-2 in overtime at home Dec. 2 … The Battalion went 1-for-2 on the power play. London was 1-for-6 … Opening lines included Struthers centring left winger Burghardt and right winger Brazeau, Adam McMaster pivoting left winger Brad Chenier and right winger Baker and Potts centring left winger Moncada and right winger Coe. Patrick Brown centred Alex Robert on left wing and Kurtis Evans on right wing … Defence pairings saw Saban with Thilander, King with Bruce and Henderson with Travis Mailhot … The Battalion scratched Eric Allair, Simon Rose, Rhys Forhan and Daniel Walker … Among the missing for London were Robert Thomas and Alex Formenton … Left winger Sergey Popov made his Knights debut after a trade from the Kingston Frontenacs … Anthony Hurtubise backed up Kooy … Turko marked his 19th birthday Sunday.