Brazeau’s seven points tie record
NORTH BAY, Ont. — Justin Brazeau scored three goals and added four assists for seven points, tying a franchise record for points in a game, as he propelled the North Bay Battalion to an 8-3 victory over the Kingston Frontenacs in Ontario Hockey League play Sunday.
Brazeau tied the mark established by Wojtek Wolski, who had four goals and three assists in a 9-4 decision over the Erie Otters at Brampton on Jan. 22, 2006.
Matthew Struthers scored two goals and added four assists, Egor Postnov and Brad Chenier each had one goal and one assist and Adam McMaster also scored for North Bay, which moved its won-lost-extended record to 5-7-0 for 10 points, fifth in the Central Division. Goaltender Christian Purboo made 28 saves before a crowd of 2,472.
Brett Neumann scored two goals and Ryan Cranford one for Kingston, which lost a fourth consecutive game to fall to 3-9-1 for seven points, fifth in the East Division. Starting goaltender Ryan Dugas allowed three goals on six shots in 11 and a half minutes before being relieved by Brendan Bonello, who surrendered five goals on 25 shots in taking the loss.
“We knew coming in that we needed a good start,” said Battalion assistant coach Adam Dennis. “They were in their third game in three nights, and we wanted to come out jumping. We let off the gas a little bit in the first period, and they came back and tied it up.”
The teams combined for eight goals in a frantic first period, with Brazeau opening the scoring with the first of his three goals in the frame 53 seconds into the game. Brazeau ripped the puck home from the slot after taking a Struthers pass from behind the goal line. Postnov had the second assist.
Brazeau struck again at 4:32. Struthers’s initial pass to Brazeau glanced off the skate of defender Evan Brand and back to Struthers, who got it back to Brazeau for the conversion into an open net.
Cranford replied at 8:36 when his heavily screened drive from the right point eluded Purboo before Brazeau collected his third goal and ended Dugas’s day on the power play at 11:31, sweeping the rebound of a David Maier shot around the goaltender’s left pad. Struthers had the other assist on Brazeau’s team-leading 12th goal.
Kingston tied it with goals 24 seconds apart, with Neumann credited with a goal at 16:55 when his shot off the left wing deflected off the stick of defender Simon Rose. Neumann struck again at 17:19, beating Purboo low to the stick side.
North Bay responded with two goals eight seconds apart in the period’s final minute.
Struthers rushed the net and buried a Brazeau pass at 19:22. Cameron Peters earned the second assist on what proved to be the winning goal. Postnov netted his first OHL goal at 19:30 after Bonello stopped Struthers’s shot from the right-wing circle. The rebound went right to Postnov, who converted past the lunging goaltender. Brazeau had the second assist.
The scoreless second period saw Purboo tested several times early as the Troops killed off a two-man disadvantage lasting 1:34. The goaltender denied back-to-back chances for Neumann in the first minute and kicked away a Neumann drive in the third. Purboo also blocked a rising shot by Jacob Paquette from the top of the right circle in the 12th minute and denied an in-tight chance for Zayde Wisdom in the 14th.
“The turning point in the game was when we killed off that five-on-three,” said Dennis. “Purboo really settled it down, and after that our bench really got up and we got rolling.”
Struthers struck on the power play at 6:42 of the third period. Brazeau, stationed deep in the left circle, spun and sent a pass across the goalmouth to Struthers, who rushed to the net off the right wing to score his eighth goal. Chenier also assisted.
North Bay made it 7-3 at 9:57 after Bonello wandered from his net to play the puck on an icing chase. He promptly gave it away to McMaster, who hit the open net from high on the left wing. The unassisted goal was McMaster’s sixth.
The teams were skating four-on-three when the Troops found another power-play goal at 11:52. Brazeau hammered a drive from the left circle off Bonello’s mask, and the puck landed in the crease, where a reaching Chenier got enough of it to push it into the net. Maier also assisted on Chenier’s fourth goal.
The Battalion plays host to the Barrie Colts at 7 p.m. Thursday.
BATTALION BULLETS: It was I Stop You Stop Bus Safety Day … The Pink in the Rink game Thursday night saw the Canadian Cancer Society raise $9,431 from the auction of the pink-themed Battalion sweaters, an autographed team sweater and a fire pit, a chuck-a-puck contest, sweater sponsorship and the sale of T-shirts and hats. The Canadian Automobile Association North & East Ontario sponsored the game … In 212 games, Brazeau has 79 goals and 71 assists for 150 points, tied with John Hughes and Kamil Kreps for 15th place in franchise history. Brazeau’s 28th power-play goal tied Raffi Torres for fifth place on the franchise list … Struthers has six goals and eight assists for 14 points in his last five games … The last Battalion player to record six points in a game was Mike Amadio, on two goals and four assists, Nov. 15, 2015, against the visiting Colts … Opening lines featured Struthers centring left winger Postnov and right winger Brazeau, McMaster centring left winger Chenier and right winger Brandon Coe and Luke Moncada pivoting left winger Peters and Rhys Forhan on right wing. Centre Patrick Brown and left winger Harrison Caines had various linemates … The Battalion, which dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen, was without Travis Mailhot, Daniel Walker, Kurtis Evans and Payton Vescio … Peters returned after missing four games while sick … North Bay went 3-for-6 on the power play. Kingston was 0-for-6.