OTTAWA — Even playing three skaters short didn’t hurt the Ottawa 67’s against the North Bay Battalion.
Tye Felhaber scored three third-period goals, including an empty-netter, to lift Ottawa to a 6-3 victory Sunday, handing the Battalion a fourth straight Ontario Hockey League loss.
Mitchell Hoelscher provided one goal and two assists, Sasha Chmelevski had one goal and one assist and Hudson Wilson also scored for Ottawa, which boasts a won-lost-extended record of 22-3-4, including 11-1-1 at home, for 48 points atop the East Division, Eastern Conference and league. Goaltender Cedrick Andree made 40 saves before a crowd of 3,091.
The 67’s are 20-0-3 since their last regulation loss, a 4-3 setback Oct. 3 at North Bay.
Brad Chenier, Adam McMaster and Luke Moncada scored to bring the Battalion back from a 3-0 deficit to a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Goaltender Christian Propp made 27 saves as the Troops, 11-15-2 for 24 points, fifth in the Central Division, completed a three-game road trip, having lost 4-1 Thursday night to the Peterborough Petes and 7-6 Friday night to the Kingston Frontenacs.
Felhaber scored two goals 1:43 apart in the third period, netting the winner at 7:08 when he beat Propp high to the stick side from the left-wing circle. Sam Bitten then stripped Matthew Struthers of the puck and fed Felhaber in the slot for a scoring shot between Propp’s pads at 8:51.
With Propp gone for a sixth attacker, Felhaber completed his hat trick with a tap-in from the crease at 18:16, collecting his league-leading 29th goal of the season.
The Battalion, which outshot the 67’s 10-8 in the period, had its best chances early, but Andree denied McMaster and Justin Brazeau in close.
Ottawa jumped to an early lead with three goals in a span of 3:47 in the first period, sparked by Hoelscher at 5:25 off a pass through the crease from Cameron Tolnai. Chmelevski worked off the right side into the slot and ripped a wrister past Propp’s blocker 25 seconds later, and defenceman Wilson buried a Hoelscher feed at 9:12.
With the 67’s applying pressure in the Battalion zone, Mason Primeau got the puck to Brandon Coe for a breakaway pass to Chenier, who beat Andree at 18:47. It was Chenier’s 12th goal.
A turnover deep in Ottawa territory led to the Battalion’s second goal, at 1:15 of the second period, as McMaster backhanded a Coe feed inside the left post. Primeau also assisted on McMaster’s 12th goal.
Kurtis Evans burst down the right wing around Lucas Peric and centred the puck to a driving Moncada, who put it past the right pad of the sliding Andree at 9:13 to tie the game. Kyle Jackson, called up for the road trip, earned his first OHL point with the other assist on Moncada’s second goal.
Referee Drew Jackson waved off what the 67’s thought was a goal by Felhaber at 2:31, ruling that he had interfered with Propp and warranted a minor penalty.
The wide-open period saw the teams combine for 36 shots, with plenty of chances at both ends. The Battalion’s 20 shots marked a season high, eclipsing the 19 the Troops had in the second period of a 5-2 road win Nov. 23 over the Mississauga Steelheads.
The Battalion visits the Kitchener Rangers at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the fourth of six straight road games. The game can be seen live in North Bay on YourTV Channels 12 and 700 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.
BATTALION BULLETS: Luke Burghardt, who quit hockey last summer on medical advice because of a spinal condition, rejoined the Battalion at Kingston on Saturday. An overage left winger, he has received other opinions and is preparing to attempt a return to play. Burghardt was the club’s second-ranked scorer last season with 28 goals and 43 assists for 71 points in 68 games … Among the missing for Ottawa were Marco Rossi, Kody Clark and Graeme Clarke … The Battalion’s 43 shots were a season high. The Troops had 41 at Mississauga on Nov. 23 … In nine games since a Nov. 15 trade from the Guelph Storm, Primeau has five goals and five assists for 10 points … Each team went 0-for-2 on the power play … Wilson and teammate Austen Keating each drilled a shot off the post in the first period … The Battalion, which dressed seven defencemen, was without Travis Mailhot, Daniel Walker, David Maier, Harrison Caines and Cameron Peters … Walker served a one-game suspension for removing Matt Hotchkiss’s helmet during a third-period fight at Kingston. It was Walker’s first game after a five-game suspension … Rhys Forhan played his 100th game since being a second-round pick by North Bay in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection from the York Simcoe Express minor midgets … Jackson was reassigned to the junior A Ottawa Jr. Senators after the game … Len Wood was the other referee.