Bulldogs run down Battalion
HAMILTON — Marian Studenic’s goal at 11:48 of the second period proved the winner as the Hamilton Bulldogs defeated the North Bay Battalion 4-1 Sunday, handing the Troops a second loss on their two-game Ontario Hockey League road trip.
MacKenzie Entwistle, Justin Lemcke and Arthur Kaliyev also scored for Hamilton, which boasts a won-lost-extended record of 38-16-6 for 82 points atop the East Division and Eastern Conference. Goaltender Kaden Fulcher made 28 saves before 3,779 at FirstOntario Centre.
Adam Thilander scored for North Bay, 27-24-9 for 63 points, third in the Central Division and tied for fifth place in the conference with the Oshawa Generals, who blanked the host Saginaw Spirit 2-0. Goaltender Christian Propp faced 30 shots for the Battalion, which lost 4-2 Saturday night to the Niagara IceDogs.
After the teams swapped first-period goals, Studenic struck for his 17th goal of the season in the middle frame, driving into the slot to bury a pass from Brandon Saigeon behind the net after he and Riley Stillman, who had two assists, worked for the puck on the end boards.
Lemcke connected on the power play at 15:00, snapping the puck home from the top of the left-wing circle while Propp battled Isaac Nurse’s screen. Benjamin Gleason and Nurse assisted on defenceman Lemcke’s seventh goal.
The Battalion, outshot 10-6 in the period, had its best chance in the 12th minute when Brandon Coe shot wide on a three-on-one rush.
Nicholas Caamano set up the final goal, at 1:30 of the third period, racing to the crease off the left wing and muscling a backhander in close that Propp blocked only to have Kaliyev shovel home the rebound for his 27th goal.
The Troops tested Fulcher several times among 11 shots. The goaltender, who turned over the puck behind his net and barely got back into position to block a Thilander drive, stopped Kurtis Evans’s attempt at the rebound of another Thilander shot. Jake Henderson couldn’t convert a Riley Bruce rebound at the left post.
Entwistle scored 56 seconds into the first period when he corralled the puck deep in the left circle and whipped a wrister over Propp’s right shoulder.
North Bay responded on its first shot, on the power play at 5:25, when Thilander hammered a right-point blast that beat Fulcher high to the far side as he was screened by Justin Brazeau. Jesse Saban and Brazeau had assists on defenceman Thilander’s eighth goal.
The Battalion outshot Hamilton 12-9 in the stanza. Fulcher stretched to get his right pad on a close-in shot by Evans in the 14th minute, and Kyle Potts was foiled from the lip of the crease in the 19th when he tried to cash a Bruce rebound. Propp produced a good early save against Ryan Moore and later sprawled to deny Caamano at the goalmouth.
The Battalion plays host to the Ottawa 67’s at 7 p.m. Thursday on OHL Onside Night.
BATTALION BULLETS: The teams completed their season series, with the Battalion posting a 1-3-0 record … The Troops overnighted at Hamilton, arriving two and a half hours late after their bus broke down at Grimsby, Ont., and had to be nursed to Steeltown. A replacement bus transported the team home … Henderson was cheered by 80-plus members of the Hendo Fan Club, who traveled in two buses from St. Louis for the weekend games … Brazeau extended a points streak to eight games, in which he has five goals and eight assists for 13 points … The Battalion went 5-4-3 in February … North Bay was 1-for-4 on the power play. Hamilton went 1-for-2 … Daniel Walker, who left the game soon afterwards, fought Gleason in the first period … Opening lines saw Matthew Struthers centring left winger Luke Burghardt and right winger Brazeau, Potts centring left winger Brad Chenier and right winger Coe and Rhys Forhan pivoting Luke Moncada on left wing and right winger Henderson. Patrick Brown centred left winger Walker and Evans on right wing … The Battalion was without Travis Mailhot, Andy Baker and Adam McMaster … Among the missing for Hamilton were Will Bitten and Nicolas Mattinen … Gleason has a five-game points streak, with two goals and four assists for six points in the span … Hamilton’s Matthew Strome saw the end of a four-game points streak in which he had eight points, including four goals.