Chenier shines in Troops’ win
SUDBURY, Ont. — Brad Chenier scored three goals, including the winner, as the North Bay Battalion defeated the Sudbury Wolves 6-5 Sunday, ending an Ontario Hockey League losing streak at six games.
Brandon Coe, Justin Brazeau and Luke Burghardt also scored for North Bay, which won for the first time since a 5-1 verdict Nov. 3 over the host Flint Firebirds. Kyle Potts had three assists and goaltender Julian Sime made 29 saves as the Battalion moved its won-lost-extended record to 7-13-3 for 17 points, one behind fourth-place Sudbury in the Central Division with two games in hand.
Drake Pilon scored one goal and added two assists and Darian Pilon had one goal and one assist for Sudbury, which also got goals from Anthony Tabak, Reagan O’Grady and Michael Pezzetta. Starting goaltender Jake McGrath allowed three goals on 12 shots before giving way to Marshall Frappier, who surrendered three goals on 23 shots. The loss before 3,170 at the Sudbury Community Arena dropped the Wolves to 7-14-4.
The Troops built a 3-1 first-period lead, with Coe credited with the opening goal at 9:03 when his attempt to centre the puck from behind the goal line caromed off McGrath’s stick and blocker into the net. Nick King had the lone assist on rookie Coe’s third goal of the season.
Tabak responded at 13:57 with another unusual tally. Drake Pilon’s backhander hit the crossbar and landed at the lip of the crease, where Tabak slid it home as Jesse Saban arrived too late to thwart the attempt.
Chenier, playing his 100th OHL game, cashed a Potts feed while unguarded at the left post at 15:51 before Brazeau’s team-leading 15th goal sent McGrath to the bench at 16:57. Brett McKenzie drilled the puck off the right post, with Brazeau outmuscling Macauley Carson to get to the net to deposit the disc past an out-of-position McGrath.
Burghardt scored his ninth goal unassisted at 4:37 of the second period, grabbing a Zack Malik turnover and hammering a drive high over Frappier’s blocker. Sudbury pulled within 4-2 at 9:50 when Darian Pilon darted around Riley Bruce and, driving to the crease off the right wing, slid the puck under Sime.
The teams combined for five third-period goals, including three in a span of 2:13, starting at 8:06 when Chenier beat Frappier to the glove side from the slot. Potts and Andy Baker earned assists.
Sudbury replied at 10:10 when defenceman O’Grady’s drive from inside the blue line eluded Sime, who faced heavy traffic in front.
Chenier struck for what proved to be the winner nine seconds later, beating Frappier high to the stick side from the left-wing circle. Saban and Potts drew assists on Chenier’s sixth goal.
Drake Pilon made it 6-4 at 14:02 when he snapped the puck low from the edge of the left circle past Sime’s glove, and Frappier left for a sixth skater with 2:52 to play. Pezzetta roofed a Cole Candella rebound at the lip of the crease at 17:50 to make it a one-goal game.
Sudbury pressed for the equalizer with six attackers, but Sime produced stops on Dmitry Sokolov, Blake Murray and Owen Gilhula.
The Battalion plays host to the Kitchener Rangers at 7 p.m. Thursday on OHL Big Ticket Night in support of Special Olympics Ontario.
BATTALION BULLETS: It was the third of eight season meetings between the teams, after the Battalion won 6-5 at Sudbury on Sept. 24 and 6-5 in overtime three nights later at North Bay to complete the first of two home-and-home sets … Chenier enjoyed the first multi-goal game of his OHL career. A native of Kitchener and resident of Hanmer, Ont., he was a fourth-round choice in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection from the Sudbury Wolves minor midgets … In 281 career games, McKenzie has 101 assists, tied with John Hughes and Michael Vernace for 10th place in franchise history … Burghardt, who scored three goals Sept. 24, has a seven-game points streak in which he has three goals and five assists for eight points … Each team went 0-for-2 on the power play … Opening lines featured McKenzie centring left winger Burghardt and right winger Brazeau, Adam McMaster centring left winger Luke Moncada and right winger Coe and Potts centring left winger Chenier and right winger Baker. Patrick Brown pivoted Alex Robert on left wing and Kurtis Evans on right wing … The Battalion was without Eric Allair, Travis Mailhot, Rhys Forhan, Daniel Walker and Christian Propp … Among Sudbury scratches were Kyle Rhodes, out with a sprained shoulder, and David Levin, sidelined with a knee injury. Levin, who hasn’t played since Oct. 28, has five goals and seven assists for 12 points in 15 games. He was the first overall pick in 2015.