Battalion hosts Sudbury in rematch
NORTH BAY, Ont. — The North Bay Battalion, fresh off a stirring comeback victory Sunday, plays host to the Sudbury Wolves at 7 p.m. Wednesday to complete an early-season Ontario Hockey League home-and-home set.
If anyone were to think the Battalion can rely on the third-period rally to a 6-5 win from a 5-2 deficit with 9:57 left to play at Sudbury, coach Stan Butler wasn’t having any of it.
“Every game’s a different game, and we can’t be concerned about the game in the past,” Butler said Tuesday. “We’ve got to worry about the game in the future, which is tomorrow.
“Obviously, Sudbury’s our rival. They’re going to come in here and they’re going to want to get two points from us, and we’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
Luke Burghardt’s third goal of the game and league-leading fifth of the season at 19:56 of the third period lifted the Troops to victory in a game that appeared lost. Butler, whose injury-ravaged Battalion missed the playoffs last season for just the third time in 19 years, liked the determination shown.
“It didn’t happen last year. We lost a lot of games late, and it’s always great to find out the type of character you have on your team. If you can come back and win games in this league from behind, it really helps you out.”
Centre Burghardt, a native of Bowmanville, Ont., who turns 19 on Dec. 12, was acquired June 27 from the Guelph Storm with left winger Luke Moncada in a trade for right winger Zach Poirier and defenceman Mark Shoemaker. Burghardt, a sixth-round pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection from the Clarington Toros minor midgets, scored 27 goals and earned 31 assists for 58 points in 169 games over three seasons with Guelph.
“He’s a really good skater,” Butler said of Burghardt, who registered the first three-goal game of his OHL career. “He’s fast. Hockey’s a game of confidence. I think he’s playing with confidence, and when he’s had chances around the net he’s taken advantage of them and made the best of his opportunities.”
The Battalion has won its first two games, having downed the visiting Barrie Colts 5-2 Friday night.
“The first game I got two goals, and the confidence has been building, just been going from there, and some luck around the net — that’s about it,” Burghardt said of the fast start that sees him leading the Troops with six points, including an assist on Brady Lyle’s third-period goal at Sudbury.
“Getting traded to a team that really wants you on the team gives you a bunch of confidence to succeed, and I’ve just been building off that and things have been going my way.”
Burghardt, five-foot-11 and 167 pounds, noting he’s happy to be in North Bay, said he works with his abilities.
“I’m a smaller guy. I’ve got to be quick and just try to build off my speed and try to create scoring chances.”
The Battalion completes its schedule for the week when it entertains the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Friday night.