Hamilton denies Battalion late

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Marian Studenic scored at 19:20 of the third period to lift the Hamilton Bulldogs to a 4-3 victory Sunday over the North Bay Battalion, handing the Troops their sixth straight Ontario Hockey League loss.

Brandon Saigeon had one goal and two assists and Matthew Strome and Reilly Webb the other goals for Hamilton, which won a third consecutive game and moved its won-lost-extended record to 5-1-3 for 13 points, tied with the Ottawa 67’s for second place in the East Division. The Bulldogs have garnered at least one point in every game except their season opener.

Goaltender Nick Donofrio faced 25 shots for the Bulldogs, who scored two goals in the last 1:41.

Justin Brazeau had two goals and Daniel Walker one for the Battalion, 3-4-2 for eight points, third in the Central Division. Goaltender Julian Sime made 28 saves before a Memorial Gardens crowd of 2,238, the lowest attendance since the Troops relocated to North Bay from Brampton in 2013.

The game followed a 5-3 road loss Saturday night to the Barrie Colts, who scored four goals, including two shorthanded, one of them into an empty net, in the final 6:17. The Battalion last won Sept. 27, when it downed the visiting Sudbury Wolves 6-5 in overtime.

Studenic deflected a Saigeon drive off an odd-man rush to deny the Troops a comeback effort from a 2-0 deficit.

Brazeau, who tied it 2-2 at 4:07 of the third period when he slipped alone to the goalmouth and tucked the puck behind Donofrio, gave North Bay the lead at 14:59, converting a pass from the left-wing boards from Adam McMaster. Luke Moncada had the other assist, his second of the period, on Brazeau’s fourth goal of the season.

Defenceman Webb knotted it 3-3 with his first OHL goal at 18:19, connecting on a screened drive from the top of the zone.

With Hamilton skating four against three, Saigeon was credited with a goal at 5:18 of the second period to give the Bulldogs a two-goal lead, but Benjamin Gleason’s pass through the crease never got to Saigeon at the left lip, being deflected by Sime into the net with his stick.

Walker collected his third goal at 14:02. Andy Baker and Rhys Forhan chased a bouncing puck in the Hamilton zone before Walker skated into the fray to drill the disc behind Donofrio from the inner edge of the left-wing circle.

Strome struck at 7:11 of the first period after Will Bitten was denied on two shots off a breakaway. Strome drove to the crease, with his first shot bouncing off Sime before Strome knocked the puck into the net with his left arm.

Hamilton outshot the home side 13-5 in the period, although the Battalion had two of three power plays. Luke Burghardt, Brazeau and Brad Chenier took off on a three-on-two rush in the 16th minute after a neutral-zone turnover, posing what may have been the Troops’ biggest threat, but Donofrio foiled a series of chances.

The Battalion plays host to the Sarnia Sting at 7 p.m. Thursday.

BATTALION BULLETS: Wawanesa Insurance Day saw the first 1,000 fans receive travel bags. Wawanesa hockey tape and texting gloves were available in the concourse, and a Battalion gift card was won in the second intermission … The Battalion went 2-1-1 against Hamilton in 2016-17 and hasn’t had a losing season against the franchise since 2012-13, when it played as the Belleville Bulls … Moncada has a three-game points streak during which he has one goal and three assists for four points … North Bay went 0-for-5 on the power play. Hamilton was 1-for-3 … Opening lines included Burghardt centring left winger Chenier and right winger Brazeau, McMaster centring left winger Moncada and right winger Brandon Coe and Forhan pivoting left winger Walker and right winger Baker. Patrick Brown centred Alex Robert on left wing and Kurtis Evans on right wing … The Battalion scratched Eric Allair, Travis Mailhot, Brett McKenzie, Kyle Potts and Daniil Vertiy … McKenzie sat out a second straight game with a lower-body injury, and Potts served the third game of a four-game suspension for a match penalty for slashing … Bitten has an eight-game points streak during which he has three goals and six assists for nine points … Saigeon has a five-game points streak during which he has six goals and four assists for 10 points … Among Hamilton’s scratches was Stephen Templeton, as the Bulldogs have four overagers on the roster.

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