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Battalion downs Guelph

GUELPH, Ont. — Brandon Coe scored two goals and assisted on another to propel the North Bay Battalion to a 5-2 victory over the Guelph Storm in Ontario Hockey League action Sunday.

Mason Primeau had one goal and one assist and Matthew Struthers and Nick King the other goals for North Bay, which got an outstanding 46-save performance from goaltender Christian Propp.

The Battalion improved its won-lost-extended record to 19-18-3 for 41 points, vaulting a point past the Mississauga Steelheads, who lost 7-4 to the visiting Peterborough Petes, into third place in the Central Division. The Troops completed a two-game road trip after a 4-3 loss via shootout Saturday night to the Owen Sound Attack that ended a season-high seven-game winning streak.

The Battalion played its 1,400th game since joining the league as an expansion club based in Brampton in 1998. Coach Stan Butler has been with the Troops throughout their history, posting a won-lost-tied record of 651-697-52. Since moving to North Bay in 2013, the Battalion is 183-197-0.

Zach Poirier and Isaac Ratcliffe scored for Guelph, while goaltender Anthony Popovich faced 24 shots before 4,258 at the Sleeman Centre. The Storm, which continued its roster overhaul Saturday, has a won-lost-extended record of 19-12-7 for 45 points, tied with Owen Sound for second place in the Midwest Division.

“The team played great in front of me,” said Propp, who faced the most shots the Battalion has allowed this season. “There were a lot of shots on net, but the boys were doing a great job of blocking shots and clearing away anything that came out in front. I had some success today, but the credit goes to the boys in front of me.”

The game completed the teams’ season series, after Guelph won 6-2 at North Bay on Nov. 25.

“As a group we’re trying to prepare for every game the same way,” said Propp. “But we had a little payback for these guys since they spanked us at home a few months ago, so we were fired up as a group today to come in here and get two points.”

The Battalion, which trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes, scored four unanswered goals in the second period to take control, starting when Coe connected at 6:02, shoveling the rebound of a Theo Calvas shot past Popovich. Brad Chenier earned his first of two assists.

North Bay took the lead at 10:22 when Coe’s shot from the right-wing circle found its way under Popovich’s right arm. The assists on Coe’s ninth goal of the season went to Chenier and Primeau.

A stretch pass by Daniel Walker sent Primeau in alone on Popovich, and he lifted a backhander high over the goaltender’s glove at 12:57. The goal was Primeau’s 10th of the season. Struthers completed the four-goal run when he redirected Braden Henderson’s screened left-point drive at 19:20. Harrison Caines also assisted on Struthers’s 19th goal.

Ratcliffe made it 4-2 at 3:50 of the third period, breaking to the net off the left wing and beating Propp between the legs.

Propp, who faced 19 shots in the period, made key stops on Ratcliffe, Domenico Commisso and MacKenzie Entwistle with Guelph on the power play. Popovich left for a sixth skater with 2:32 to play, but the only chance the Storm generated came when Entwistle and Ratcliffe whacked at the rebound of a Cedric Ralph shot.

The Storm’s comeback attempt ended when Entwistle and fellow newcomer Markus Phillips were whistled for slashing and tripping respectively eight seconds apart and King finished the scoring during the two-man advantage at 19:37 when his drive eluded the screened Popovich. Henderson and Coe assisted on defenceman King’s sixth goal.

Poirier opened the scoring at 12:39 of the first period, cruising into the slot to convert a Ralph pass.

Guelph forged a 15-5 edge in shots in the frame, with Propp providing solid saves on Nate Schnarr, Entwistle, Liam Hawel and Barret Kirwin. The Battalion’s best chance came in the 10th minute when Popovich got his glove on a drive from the left circle by Coe.

The Battalion plays host to Mississauga at 7 p.m. Thursday.

BATTALION BULLETS: Chenier has a seven-game points streak during which he has seven goals and six assists for 13 points … King has a four-game points streak in which he has two goals and four assists for six points … Guelph made three trades Saturday, acquiring right winger Entwistle from the Hamilton Bulldogs for five OHL Priority Selection picks made up of two second-rounders and three thirds, defenceman Fedor Gordeev from the Flint Firebirds for four picks, numbering two seconds, a conditional third and a conditional fifth, and defenceman Phillips from Owen Sound for six picks, in three seconds, one of them conditional, two thirds and a conditional fourth. In December, Guelph dealt centre Tag Bertuzzi to Hamilton and defenceman Ryan Merkley to Peterborough for as many as eight picks, also receiving left winger Pavel Gogolev from the Petes in the Merkley trade … Primeau played at Guelph for the first time since joining the Battalion in a Nov. 15 trade. In 21 games with North Bay, he has seven goals and nine assists for 16 points … The Battalion went 1-for-2 on the power play. Guelph was 0-for-2 … Each team dressed 19, one below the limit. The Troops were without Travis Mailhot, Simon Rose, Kurtis Evans and Payton Vescio … Guelph was without defenceman Dmitri Samorukov, who won bronze with Russia at the World Junior Championship … The Battalion overnighted at Guelph on the trip.

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