Generals outlast Troops

OSHAWA, Ont. — Jack Studnicka scored two goals and added two assists to power the Oshawa Generals to a 7-5 victory over the North Bay Battalion in an Ontario Hockey League game Sunday night, handing the Troops a fourth straight loss.

Serron Noel produced two goals and one assist, Danil Antropov and Matt Brassard each had one goal and one assist and Nick Wong also scored in Oshawa’s home opener. Goaltender Cole Ceci faced 35 shots before 4,574 at the Tribute Communities Centre as the Generals evened their won-lost-extended record at 2-2-0 in the East Division.

Justin Brazeau scored three goals, Matthew Struthers contributed one goal and two assists and Adam McMaster also scored for North Bay, 1-4-0 in the Central Division. Goaltender Christian Purboo, who saw action in five games in 2017-18, made 29 saves in his first appearance of the season.

The Battalion, which lost 7-2 at home to Oshawa on Thursday night, completed a two-game road trip, after a 6-1 setback Saturday night against the Niagara IceDogs, with assistant coaches Scott Wray and Adam Dennis running the bench as coach Stan Butler took the night off to rest.

Defenceman Brassard broke a 4-4 tie 38 seconds into the third period when he snapped an Allan McShane pass high over Purboo’s glove from the right-wing circle, and Wong scored what proved to be the winner at 4:50. Kurtis Evans turned over the puck at the Oshawa blue line, and Wong scooped up the disc to race down the right wing with Cole Cameron in pursuit. As Cameron closed in, Wong beat Purboo high to the stick side.

Struthers pulled the Troops within 6-5 at 11:29, getting behind the defence and steering a David Maier shot from the right point between Ceci’s pads. The goal was Struthers’s third.

North Bay’s attempt to tie it again was thwarted when Evans drew a head-checking major and game misconduct at 12:28. Purboo came up with good stops on McShane, Brassard and Antropov before Studnicka’s man-advantage drive from the left circle found its way past the goaltender at 16:53.

The game, tied 3-3 after a wild first period in which the Battalion held a 15-10 edge in shots, saw Brazeau open the scoring at 7:13, swooping in and depositing a loose puck behind Ceci. Egor Postnov earned his first OHL point with the lone assist.

Brazeau struck again at 10:31, cruising into the slot and ripping a low shot between Ceci’s pads. Struthers and Cameron Peters had the assists.

Oshawa, with three power plays in the frame, responded with two goals with the man advantage, starting with Antropov’s tally at 12:44. Tyler Tullio’s pass from behind the goal line glanced off Maier, and the puck slid to Antropov, who ripped it past Purboo. Noel tied it on the power play at 14:59, converting Studnicka’s pass from the right corner on a backdoor play.

The Battalion regained the lead at 17:25. The falling Postnov was in the process of drawing a tripping penalty when he moved the puck across the slot to Brazeau, who fired it past a sliding Ceci. Struthers drew the second assist on Brazeau’s team-leading fifth goal of the season.

Studnicka replied at 18:05 after Noel outraced Cameron to a loose puck deep in Battalion territory. McShane fed a pass to Studnicka, who wired the disc over Purboo’s right shoulder from the slot.

Oshawa took its first lead at 11:50 of the second period when Noel stripped Cameron of the puck and raced in alone on Purboo, beating him between the legs with a backhand deke.

The Generals thought they had built a two-goal lead at 13:10 when Eric Henderson drove to the net and chipped a Tullio pass that trickled between Purboo’s pads. But referee Scott Oakman, working his final OHL game, waved off the goal, ruling he’d blown his whistle.

McMaster, stepping through the right circle, tied it with a low power-play shot that eluded a screened Ceci at 17:10. Brandon Coe and Simon Rose assisted on McMaster’s third goal.

The Battalion plays host to the Ottawa 67’s at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

BATTALION BULLETS: In 205 games, Brazeau has 72 goals and 60 assists for 132 points, 23rd on the Battalion’s career list, two points ahead of Chris Clayton and Matt MacLeod. Brazeau has scored in each of the last three games … Opening lines featured Struthers centring left winger Postnov and right winger Brazeau, McMaster skating between left winger Brad Chenier and right winger Coe and Kyle Potts centring left winger Daniel Walker and right winger Evans. Luke Moncada centred left winger Peters and Rhys Forhan on right wing … Defence pairings had Rose with Cameron, Pacey Schlueting with Nick King and Braden Henderson alongside Maier … Moncada drilled the puck off the crossbar in the 18th minute of the second period … The Battalion was without Travis Mailhot, Patrick Brown, Harrison Caines and Payton Vescio … Moscow native Postnov, who was moved up alongside Struthers and Brazeau for the first time, was a first-round pick in the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft last June … Chenier skated with Struthers and Brazeau in previous games … The Battalion went 1-for-1 on the power play. Oshawa was 3-for-6 … The Generals were the last team in the OHL to hold their home opener … Noel scored three goals in Oshawa’s win at North Bay … Ceci is alone in staffing the Oshawa crease so far this season … Mike Cairns was the other referee.

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