Troops win in overtime
NORTH BAY, Ont. — Jake Henderson scored 31 seconds into overtime to propel the North Bay Battalion to a 3-2 comeback victory over the Sudbury Wolves in the only Ontario Hockey League game Wednesday night.
Justin Brazeau and Luke Moncada also scored for North Bay, which improved its won-lost-extended record to 27-22-9 for 63 points, second in the Central Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the Niagara IceDogs. The Troops, 14-3-4 in their last 21 games, visit Niagara at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Luke Burghardt had two assists, including on the winner, and goaltender Christian Propp faced 25 shots before 2,668 at Memorial Gardens as the Battalion rallied from a 2-0 first-period deficit.
Macauley Carson and Nolan Hutcheson scored for Sudbury, 14-36-7 for 35 points, last in the division and conference. Goaltender Jake McGrath made 35 saves for the Wolves, who have lost five straight games and are 1-9-1 in their last 11.
“The Wolves were more ready to play,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler. “They came out in the first period and dominated and got up 2-0. We put ourselves in a big hole. It’s fitting that Henderson got the winning goal, because for me he was our best player all night.”
In overtime, Burghardt carried the puck from behind his own net, circled the Sudbury zone and backhanded the disc to the goalmouth from the right wing, with Henderson batting it behind McGrath. Henderson’s 10th goal of the season was his fourth since being acquired from the Kitchener Rangers in a Jan. 9 trade.
The Troops, who trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes, tied it when Moncada scored at 2:07 of the third period, backhanding home the rebound of a left-point shot by Jesse Saban. Brandon Coe also assisted on Moncada’s eighth goal.
Moncada narrowly missed putting the Battalion in front in the 12th minute when he couldn’t convert the rebound of a Brad Chenier shot, while Blake McConville, who hit the crossbar in the 10th minute, was denied by Propp on a breakaway with a minute to play.
Carson opened the scoring at 6:57 of the first period, beating Propp with a wrister from the right-wing circle, and Hutcheson got past Adam Thilander to charge down the left wing to score at 14:26.
North Bay was outshot 9-7 despite enjoying the only two power plays of the period. McGrath foiled Kyle Potts from the lip of the crease in the 14th minute and denied Brazeau from the same spot in the 16th before he put the Battalion on the board 35 seconds into the second period.
McGrath got his catching glove on a Burghardt shot off a breakaway, with the puck going to the end boards right of the net. Burghardt backhanded it to the front, where Brazeau connected for his team-leading 36th goal.
The Troops dominated the frame, outshooting the visitors 16-8. Matthew Struthers twice tested McGrath in close, and the goaltender snared a Braden Henderson drive from the top of the left circle in the ninth minute. Struthers couldn’t tame the bouncing rebound of a Brazeau shot at the right post with the Battalion on the power play in the final seconds.
The game at Niagara, the opener of a two-game road trip, can be seen live in North Bay on YourTV Channels 12 and 700 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.
BATTALION BULLETS: Canadore Recruiting Night saw two secondary school students from the North Bay area win a year of free tuition to Canadore College in a first-intermission shooting contest … A large group from the Powassan Minor Hockey Association attended the game … The Battalion is 5-1-0 against Sudbury. The teams complete their season series with a home-and-home set March 8-9 that opens at North Bay … Burghardt has a seven-game points streak in which he has three goals and eight assists for 11 points. In six games against Sudbury, Burghardt has six goals and five assists for 11 points … Brazeau, who has a goal in each of the last five games, has a six-game points streak during which he has five goals and five assists for 10 points … The Battalion went 0-for-4 on the power play. Sudbury was 0-for-3 … Opening lines featured Struthers centring left winger Burghardt and right winger Brazeau, Potts centring left winger Adam McMaster and right winger Jake Henderson and Moncada pivoting left winger Chenier and right winger Coe. Rhys Forhan centred left winger Daniel Walker and right winger Andy Baker … The Battalion scratched Simon Rose, Kurtis Evans and Patrick Brown … Sudbury, which dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen, was without Alexey Lipanov, Anthony Tabak and Darian Pilon … The referees were Mike Cairns and Aaron Neely.