Battalion: ‘Bravo, Brazeau!’
KITCHENER, Ont. — Justin Brazeau’s second goal of the game, at 19:28 of the third period, lifted the North Bay Battalion to a 5-4 victory Saturday over the Moncton Wildcats in Preseason Showcase action.
Brazeau, who tied the game 4-4 at 11:26 of the period with a sweeping snap shot from the right-wing circle, capitalized for the winner after stealing the puck in the mid slot and breaking in alone on Moncton goaltender Charles-Antoine Lavallee. Brazeau also had two assists.
Matthew Struthers and Brad Chenier each provided one goal and two assists and Brandon Coe the other goal for the Battalion, which faced a team outside the Ontario Hockey League for the first time in franchise history. Goaltender Christian Propp made 25 saves.
Dylan Seitz scored two goals, while Brady Pataki had one goal and one assist and Jordan Spence the other goal for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Wildcats. Lavallee faced 28 shots.
Pataki struck shorthanded at 2:07 of the final period to give Moncton a 3-1 lead, but Coe connected from the mid slot on the power play at 6:01 and Chenier put the puck past Lavallee at 8:37 to tie it. Defenceman Spence scored with the man advantage at 9:29 to put the Wildcats ahead 4-3 before Brazeau responded on assists by Struthers and Chenier.
Seitz scored the only second-period goal on the power play at 13:29, assisted by Pataki.
Each team scored its first goal of the tournament in the opening period after shutout losses Friday, the Battalion blanked 3-0 by the Saginaw Spirit before the Kitchener Rangers downed Moncton 4-0 in the night game.
Seitz started the scoring at 10:47 on an assist by Ozzie King, chipping the puck high over Propp after it eluded a pair of defenders in the slot. Struthers replied at 16:30, snapping a shot behind Lavallee from the left-wing circle off a pass from behind the net by Brazeau. Chenier also assisted.
Lavallee left the ice with an equipment problem at 5:23, returning 3:49 later wearing different leg pads. Francis Leclerc took over in Lavallee’s absence without having to record a save, including during a Battalion power play.
Assistant coaches Scott Wray and Adam Dennis again ran the Troops’ bench while head coach Stan Butler watched from a box. Moncton coach Darren Rumble was an assistant under Butler with the title-winning Canadian team at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament for under-18 players held in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
“We get to play Moncton in the Quebec League, which is kind of neat for our kids, to play a team from the Quebec League, and I’m looking forward to that,” Butler said earlier. “My former assistant coach with Team Canada, Darren Rumble, is the coach there, and I know he’s excited, because he played for Kitchener.”
Butler said the tournament provides “a good way for the kids to bond right away, stay in hotels, and it gives us some good evaluation tools so we can make some quick decisions on players.”
The Battalion plays Kitchener at 2 p.m. Sunday to wrap up its showcase play with the third of a total of five preseason games. North Bay plays host to the Owen Sound Attack at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, and visits Owen Sound the next day.
BATTALION BULLETS: Rumble, a 49-year-old Barrie native, is in his sixth season coaching Moncton. A defenceman, he was selected 20th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1987 National Hockey League Entry Draft and scored 10 goals and added 26 assists for 36 points in 193 NHL games with four clubs, culminating with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2002-03. He also played for the Ottawa Senators and St. Louis Blues … Opening line combinations included Struthers centring left winger Chenier and right winger Brazeau, Adam McMaster centring left winger Daniel Walker and right winger Coe and Luke Moncada pivoting Cameron Peters on left wing and right winger Kurtis Evans. Kyle Jackson centred left winger Harrison Caines and Egor Postnov on right wing … Defence pairings were Nick King with Simon Rose, Braden Henderson with David Maier and Pacey Schlueting alongside Payton Vescio … Christian Purboo backed up Propp … The Battalion was without Joe Vrbetic, Travis Mailhot, Rhys Forhan, Patrick Brown, Kyle Potts and Andy Baker … Brazeau wore the captain’s ‘C’ with Struthers and King serving as alternates … North Bay went 1-for-4 on the power play. Moncton was 2-for-7 … Mike Cairns and Drew Jackson were the referees.