BRAMPTON, Ont. – Scott Laughton and Cole Cassels each scored one goal and added an assist to lead the depleted Oshawa Generals to a 4-1 Ontario Hockey League victory Thursday night over the listless Brampton Battalion.
Will Petschenig and Bradley Latour also scored for Oshawa, while goaltender Daniel Altshuller made 16 saves as the Generals moved their won-lost-extended record to 22-14-3 for 47 points, tied atop the East Division with the Belleville Bulls, who fell 3-0 to the host Peterborough Petes.
Blake Clarke scored for the Battalion, while goaltender Jake Smith faced 24 shots. The Troops, 19-15-6 for 44 points, are third in the Central Division.
“Our work ethic tonight was deplorable,” said coach Stan Butler, whose Troops faced a Generals squad deprived of numerous regulars by injury and commitments to international tournaments. “You have to give Oshawa credit. They came in here tonight with a depleted lineup and outworked us.
“Work ethic has nothing to do with who you’re missing,” said Butler, minus injured forwards Barclay Goodrow and Jamie Lewis for a second consecutive game. “Guys can control their work ethic just by working hard, and as a group we didn’t work hard tonight.”
Said Matt MacLeod: “One word describes our play tonight, and that word is disappointing. I know we have a couple of guys out of the lineup, but that’s no excuse and we need to step up.”
Oshawa took a 2-0 first-period lead on a pair of bizarre goals, the first by Laughton at 4:18. From deep in the left-wing corner, he fired the puck toward the net, with the disc appearing to glance off Cameron Wind before deflecting off Smith into the short side.
Defenceman Petschenig scored at 18:10 when he dumped the puck into the Battalion zone along the left-wing boards and had it take a weird bounce off a stanchion. Smith, leaving the net toward his right, dove back to extend his stick but saw the puck catch the far corner.
“Going down by two goals was tough that early,” said MacLeod. “It’s part of the game, though, and it’s something we knew we’d have to come back from in the second and third period.”
With the teams skating four a side, Patrik Machac generated the Battalion’s best scoring chance in the opening frame off a strong individual rush down the right wing. He cut to the slot, pulling the puck to his forehand, but failed to stuff the disc past Altshuller.
Smith made a solid save against Scott Sabourin when he was sprung for a breakaway in the fourth minute. Sabourin went to his backhand, but Smith extended the right pad to deny the chance.
Clarke scored at 15:36 of the second period on a wrister from the right side of the goalmouth. Nicholas Foglia worked the puck off the end boards and fed it to Clarke for his 13th goal of the season.
The Troops got their only power play at 4:25 after Sabourin went off for tripping. Clarke made a play to MacLeod, who was open in the slot, but he couldn’t get his stick on the pass.
Latour restored Oshawa’s two-goal lead at 9:13 of the third period just after an elbowing penalty to Clarke expired. With the Troops hemmed in their own end, Latour picked up a loose puck while cruising through the slot and put home a backhander.
“On their third goal, we had two or three chances to outwork a guy and win a battle for the puck before he scored it,” noted Butler. “We just got beat. If guys don’t take pride in what they do, then you won’t have much success.”
With Smith gone for a sixth attacker, Cassels scored from centre ice into an empty net at 18:26.
“It’s a 2-1 hockey game and we’re down at home, and we get only three shots in the third period,” said Butler. “That to me sums up the whole hockey game.”
Apart from Goodrow and Lewis, the Battalion was without Matej Machovsky. Oshawa, which dressed 18, two below the limit, was without Matt Petgrave, Tyler Hore, Chris Carlisle, Owen McDade, Adam Lloyd, Tyler Biggs, Boone Jenner, Sebastian Uvira, Hunter Smith, Lucas Lessio and Michael Dal Colle.
The Battalion visits the Sudbury Wolves at 7:35 p.m. Friday. The game can be seen live in Brampton on Rogers Cable 10 and in Caledon and Orangeville on Rogers Cable 63.
BATTALION NOTEBOOK: Attendance was 2,469 … As is the OHL protocol for home teams with the turn of the calendar to January, the Battalion wore its base-green sweaters and will sport its white-based sweaters on the road for the rest of the season … Each team went 0-for-1 on the power play … The Battalion is 11-6-2 at home. Oshawa is 11-6-1 on the road … The Battalion is 4-5-1 against the East Division and 12-9-6 within the Eastern Conference … Clarke extended a points streak to seven games, during which he has scored seven goals and added two assists for nine points. He also had a seven-game points streak Nov. 4-17 … MacLeod, a third-round choice in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection, played his 200th OHL game … Opening line combinations included Machac centring left winger Brandon Robinson and right winger Brendan Childerley, Foglia centring left winger Clarke and right winger MacLeod and Mike Amadio pivoting left winger Nick Paul and right winger Mathew Santos. Connor Jarvis centred left winger Brennan Feasey and right winger Calvin Gomes … Jenner and Biggs are with Canada and the United States respectively at the World Junior Championship at Ufa, Russia. Uvira is with Germany at the tournament. Dal Colle played for Ontario at the World Under-17 Challenge at Victoriaville and Drummondville, Que. … Hore has an upper-body injury, while Lessio has been sidelined since October with severed tendons in a hand. Petgrave has been out with a broken hand … Lloyd, a former member of the Battalion, has an injured anterior cruciate ligament. The Troops traded him to the Kingston Frontenacs last Jan. 9 for Derek Froats … The referees were Mike Cairns and Mike Pryde.