NORTH BAY, Ont. —Boris Katchouk scored 43 seconds into overtime to lift the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to a 2-1 victory over the North Bay Battalion on Friday night, handing the Troops their first loss of the Ontario Hockey League season.
Hayden Verbeek also scored while goaltender Connor Hicks faced 40 shots for the Greyhounds, who opened a three-game road trip with a 4-3 overtime loss Thursday night to the Barrie Colts.
Cam Dineen scored for the Battalion, which opened a season with three consecutive wins for the fourth time in its 20-year history. Goaltender Julian Sime faced 29 shots before 2,533 at Memorial Gardens.
“Tonight was disappointing with the game we played,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler, who was credited with his 1,500th Canadian Hockey League game.
“We were hoping for a better result. The group of players we have this season has very high expectations for themselves, and they were quite disappointed with the result. Defensively, we played pretty good. They’re a very talented team. They have good offensive players and they play at a good pace. We didn’t give them a lot of scoring chances.”
Katchouk was the most prominent player in overtime. Seconds after hauling down Dineen in front of referee Tom Sweeney as the defenceman raced deep toward the Sault Ste. Marie net, Katchouk was sent off on a breakaway but shot wide. He took a pass in the slot from Conor Timmins, paused briefly and drilled the puck between Sime’s legs.
Butler was blunt when asked for his assessment of the events that led to the goal.
“It’s pretty simple: Dineen gets tripped, the referee doesn’t call an obvious penalty, and they go down to the other end and score.”
After the teams battled to a 1-1 tie through 40 minutes, the Greyhounds, who had three power plays in the third period, enjoyed most of the best chances. Sime denied Timmins, Katchouk, Barrett Hayton, Tim Gettinger and Morgan Frost among 12 shots.
The Battalion had 10 shots, with Hicks making key stops on Dineen, Brad Chenier, Justin Brazeau, Luke Burghardt and Adam Thilander. Patrick Brown just missed the net after scooping up a loose puck in the deep slot in the 13th minute.
The Troops struck first, on the power play at 5:47 of the first period, when Dineen’s low wrister eluded a screened Hicks to the glove side. Burghardt and Brazeau assisted on Dineen’s fourth goal of the season.
Verbeek replied at 1:04 of the second period, ripping the puck off the right post and behind Sime off a rush.
The Troops forged a 23-11 edge in shots in the frame, but Hicks produced a good early stop on Adam McMaster and made two saves on Daniil Vertiy and one on Kurtis Evans. Hicks reacted quickly at the right post in the 10th minute when Thilander’s shot bounced off the endboards. Chenier tested Hicks at the right post in the 12th minute, and he turned away close-in chances for Brazeau and Burghardt in the 17th. Hicks had a skate tight to the post in the 18th minute as Chenier tried to finish a wraparound.
The Battalion returns to action when it visits Barrie at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
BATTALION BULLETS: In his 23rd CHL season, Butler has an all-time won-lost-tied record of 703-727-70. He coached the Oshawa Generals for two seasons starting in 1994-95 and the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars in 1996-97. Butler joined the Battalion to head the scouting operation a year before the club began play as an expansion team in Brampton in 1998-99. He is 605-639-52 in 1,296 games with the Troops, now playing their fifth season in North Bay … The Battalion went 1-for-5 on the power play. Sault Ste. Marie was 0-for-4 … Burghardt and Dineen are the only players to have points in all four games. Burghardt leads the OHL with nine points, including a league-high six goals. Dineen’s eight points, tied for second in league scoring, rank first among defencemen … Opening lines saw Burghardt centring left winger Vertiy and right winger Brazeau, McMaster centring left winger Luke Moncada and right winger Brandon Coe and Kyle Potts centring left winger Chenier and Evans on right wing. Jacob Ball pivoted left winger Daniel Walker and right winger Brown … The Troops were without Travis Mailhot, Simon Rose, Rhys Forhan, Brett McKenzie, Andy Baker and Alex Robert … Forhan completed a three-game suspension for a major for checking from behind on visiting Barrie’s Kade Landry last Friday night … Brett Montsion, the other referee, struggled as mightily as his partner.