Battalion humbles ‘Heads
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Brad Chenier scored two goals and added two assists to pace the North Bay Battalion to a 5-2 victory Friday night over the Mississauga Steelheads, ending the Troops’ Ontario Hockey League losing skid at four games.
Justin Brazeau and Adam McMaster each had one goal and two assists and Luke Moncada also scored for North Bay, while goaltender Christian Propp provided 42 saves in a sparkling performance before a crowd of 2,021.
Brazeau has 22 goals and 24 assists for 46 points in 24 games to lead the OHL scoring race, two points ahead of Kevin Hancock of the Owen Sound Attack.
The Battalion moved its won-lost-extended record to 11-11-2 for 24 points, fifth in the Central Division, with its first win since a 4-3 home-ice decision Nov. 10 over the Niagara IceDogs.
Adam Varga and Thomas Harley scored for Mississauga, 14-8-2 for 30 points, tied atop the division with Niagara and the Sudbury Wolves. Goaltender Joe Ranger faced 41 shots.
Chenier sparked a three-goal Battalion flurry at 3:42 of the opening period, driving to the goalmouth from the left wing and tucking the puck behind Ranger on a backhand deke. McMaster and Brazeau had assists.
Brazeau connected when, muscling past a defender, he pitched the puck toward the net and saw it float high into the twine at 8:43. It was his 89th career goal, surpassing Brett McKenzie’s total and making Brazeau the Battalion’s leading goal scorer since the franchise moved to North Bay in 2013.
Brazeau, ninth in goals in Battalion history, in 224 games has 82 assists and 171 points, two more than Sam Carrick and 12th in franchise annals. Mike Amadio leads in points in the North Bay era with 207, on 86 goals and 121 assists in 200 games.
McMaster struck 19 seconds into a power play at 9:44, one-timing the puck from the right-wing circle after two crisp passes, from Brazeau deep on the left wing to Chenier in the mid slot and across to McMaster for his 10th goal, a career high and the eventual winner.
Varga responded at 18:44 after getting loose on the right wing and racing in on Propp to snap the puck home from deep in the right circle.
Moncada was credited with the only goal of the second period at 9:04 when the prone Ranger swept the puck just across the goal line with his stick as Moncada battled defenders in the crease. It was Moncada’s first goal.
It seemed to energize Moncada, who had several subsequent chances, including in the 13th minute when he drove to the goalmouth only to backhand the puck wide right. Brazeau had worked into the slot and hit the right post a minute earlier, and Propp denied Owen Tippett when he slipped past defenders for a good scoring chance in the 18th minute.
Defenceman Harley had his errant left-point shot deflect off a defender past Propp at 6:34 of the final period, but the goaltender produced several big stops after that to preserve the 4-2 lead until Chenier scored the Troops’ first shorthanded goal of the campaign at 13:40, dashing the length of the ice and powering to the net off the left wing for his 10th goal.
Propp denied Alan Lyszczarczyk on a wraparound attempt at the right post in the ninth minute and snagged a Ryan McLeod blast from the slot at 9:50. After Chenier completed the scoring, Propp covered up in the crease at 14:45 with several Steelheads hacking at the puck.
The Battalion plays host to the Guelph Storm at 2 p.m. Sunday on GoodLife Fitness Day.
BATTALION BULLETS: The Steelheads’ home arena has been known as the Paramount Fine Foods Centre since July 1. For 20 years from its opening in 1998 as home to the OHL’s Mississauga IceDogs, it was the Hershey Centre. The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors replaced the IceDogs in 2007 and were renamed the Steelheads in 2012 … In the second of six meetings, the Battalion avenged a 4-3 home-ice loss Oct. 18 … The Troops’ league-leading power play went 1-for-1. Mississauga was 0-for-4 … North Bay, which dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen, was without Travis Mailhot, Daniel Walker, Matthew Struthers and Payton Vescio … Walker and Struthers each served the third game of a suspension from a 7-1 home-ice loss last Friday night to Sudbury … Among the Mississauga scratches was Cole Carter, who suffered an upper-body injury in a 7-4 road loss Thursday night to the London Knights. The Steelheads’ leading scorer has 19 goals and 13 assists for 32 points in 23 games … An eight-game points streak ended for McLeod, who produced four goals and seven assists for 11 points in the span … Tippett saw the end of a five-game points streak in which he had seven goals and four assists for 11 points, while Lyszczarczyk was blanked after a five-game points streak during which he had five goals and six assists for 11 points … The referees were Quincy Evans and Ryan Harrison.