Eight is enough in shootout

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Adam Thilander and Brandon Coe scored in an eight-round shootout to lift the North Bay Battalion to a 4-3 comeback victory over the Niagara IceDogs in Ontario Hockey League action Sunday.

Andy Baker, Luke Burghardt and Brad Chenier scored earlier for North Bay, which improved its won-lost-extended record to 22-20-6 for 50 points, third in the Central Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. Goaltender Christian Propp faced 44 shots through overtime before 2,528 at Memorial Gardens.

Sam Miletic, Kirill Maksimov and Ben Jones each had one goal and one assist in regulation time and goaltender Stephen Dhillon made 25 saves through overtime for Niagara, 26-14-7 for 59 points, first in the division and second in the conference.

“Our guys battled back well,” said coach Stan Butler, whose Battalion has won three straight games, all in extended time, with one victory in overtime and two via shootout. “There was a lot of adversity in the game, and we had to find a way to roll with the punches and win. The biggest thing for us right now is we have all kinds of players chipping in, and that’s what makes our team good. You need everybody going.”

The Troops, who trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes and faced a two-man disadvantage scheduled for 1:32 to start the third period, took the lead with goals 30 seconds apart.

North Bay was only one man short after Burghardt emerged from the penalty box, took a pass from Jesse Saban and broke in alone on Dhillon, squeezing the puck between the goaltender’s pads at 1:42. Nick King earned the second assist on Burghardt’s 22nd goal of the season. Chenier gave the Battalion its first lead at 2:12, tapping home Coe’s feed from the right wing. The goal, also assisted by Kyle Potts, was Chenier’s 13th.

Jones tied it 3-3 at 10:11, getting loose behind the defence and converting a Miletic pass.

The Battalion had the best chance through the rest of the period as Luke Moncada directed a Riley Bruce rebound through the crease with Dhillon helpless in the 18th minute. Niagara outshot the Troops 4-0 in overtime as Propp produced excellent saves on Miletic and Maksimov, who made a strong move to the net off the left wing in the final minute.

In the shootout, Adam McMaster and Justin Brazeau missed for the Battalion, which went first, before Thilander scored. Dhillon denied Baker, Burghardt, Jake Henderson and Chenier before Coe connected on a backhander.

Propp turned away Miletic and Akil Thomas before being beaten by Maksimov. The goaltender foiled Jones, Johnny Corneil, Danial Singer and Bradey Johnson before Matthew Philip stumbled and failed to get off a shot on the final attempt.

Miletic opened the scoring on the power play at 9:50 of the first period. Stationed behind the goal line, Miletic banked the puck off Propp’s right pad into the net.

The teams traded power-play goals in the second period, with Baker tying it at 4:05. King, who leapt to corral a Niagara clearing attempt at the blue line, fired the puck wide right off the end boards, and Baker chipped it home at the right post for his 10th goal before Maksimov put Niagara back in front at 7:44, rushing to the left side of the net to convert a backhanded pass from Singer in front.

The IceDogs outshot the Battalion 20-8 in the frame, with Propp facing chances for Maksimov, Miletic, Jones, Thomas and Corneil. Propp received attention from athletic therapist Andrew Sachkiw at 18:14 after appearing to take a Miletic drive in the collarbone. Penalty killer Moncada just missed getting off a shot on a 17th-minute breakaway, and Dhillon made a fine save on Daniel Walker later in the same Niagara power play.

The Battalion plays host to the Erie Otters at 7 p.m. Thursday.

BATTALION BULLETS: The game, shown on the first of four telecasts making up Cogeco Hockey Day in the OHL, also marked Coach4Food Day. Three minor hockey players in Logan Smith, Jim Montgomery and Rachel Landry represented teams that led donations. The program has raised more than 1.5 million pounds of food since 2005 … It was the fifth of six games between the teams, with the Battalion having posted a record of 2-2-1. The last meeting is set for Feb. 24 at Niagara … The Battalion went 9-2-1 in January … Chenier has a six-game points streak during which he has three goals and three assists for six points … Coe has a four-game points streak in which he has one goal and three assists for four points … The Battalion was 1-for-5 on the power play. Niagara went 2-for-6 … Opening lines saw Patrick Brown centring left winger Burghardt and right winger Brazeau, Potts centring left winger Chenier and right winger Coe and Rhys Forhan pivoting left winger McMaster and right winger Henderson. Moncada centred left winger Walker and right winger Baker … The Battalion scratched Simon Rose, Kurtis Evans and Matthew Struthers, who has strep throat … In five games against North Bay, Maksimov has four goals and five assists for nine points. He has a four-game points streak in which he has two goals and five assists for seven points … The referees were Jason Goldenberg and Len Wood.

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