Troops prep for Thanksgiving game

NORTH BAY, Ont. — The North Bay Battalion, coming off its first regulation loss of the Ontario Hockey League season, plays host to the Peterborough Petes in the traditional Thanksgiving Day game at 2 p.m. Monday.

The Battalion, which has a won-lost-extended record of 3-1-1, lost 3-1 Thursday night to the host Barrie Colts as rookie Andrei Svechnikov scored three goals, including a shorthanded empty-netter.

Barrie selected Svechnikov, 17, with the first overall pick in the 2017 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft after the product of Barnaul, Russia, played last season with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League, scoring 29 goals and adding 29 assists for 58 points in 48 games.

Goaltender Leo Lazarev, a fellow Russian, faced 35 shots for the Colts, whom the Troops defeated 5-2 at Memorial Gardens on Sept. 22 in their season opener.

Brady Lyle scored for North Bay at the Barrie Molson Centre, with Mat Woroniuk relieving starting goaltender Julian Sime at 12:22 of the first period after Svechnikov gave the home side a 2-0 lead.

Woroniuk, who made 17 saves, figures to get his second start of the season Monday. He has a 2.49 goals-against average, a .902 save percentage and a 2-0-0 record, having posted a pair of wins over the Sudbury Wolves. Sime has a 3.60 GAA, an .871 save percentage and a 1-1-1 record.

The Battalion has played a Thanksgiving Day matinee every year since the club’s inception as a Brampton-based expansion team in 1998-99, making the engagement this year the 20th in the history of the franchise and the fifth at North Bay. This is the first time that Peterborough provides the holiday opposition.

The Battalion defeated the Niagara IceDogs 4-3 in the game last year, with Brett McKenzie scoring two goals, including the winner. McKenzie made his season debut against Barrie after joining the Troops on Wednesday from the Utica Comets, the American Hockey League affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

The Battalion has an all-time record of 13 wins and six losses, including three in extended time, on Thanksgiving Day.

Peterborough, 3-2-0 through its first five games, was to visit the Ottawa 67’s on Friday night after downing the Flint Firebirds 3-1 Thursday night at home.

Logan DeNoble and Jonathan Ang each had one goal and one assist for the Petes in front of goaltender Dylan Wells, who earned the victory over Flint’s Garrett Forrest, whose OHL rights were held by the Battalion when he played for the affiliated Powassan Voodoos of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League in 2015-16.

The game was a run-and-gun affair, with Peterborough outshooting the Firebirds 50-47.

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