Troops win seventh straight
NORTH BAY, Ont. — Brad Chenier scored two goals and added an assist to propel the North Bay Battalion to a 4-2 victory Thursday night over the Oshawa Generals, extending the Troops’ Ontario Hockey League winning streak to seven games.
The Battalion’s run, which started with an 8-5 decision Dec. 13 over the visiting Kitchener Rangers that ended a seven-game losing skid, is the longest winning streak for the club since it relocated to North Bay from Brampton in 2013. The franchise record for consecutive wins is 16, set Oct. 13 to Nov. 23, 2008.
Brandon Coe had one goal and one assist and Mitchell Russell also scored for the Battalion, which wore dark uniforms at home in keeping with OHL practice once the calendar turns to January. Goaltender Christian Propp faced 40 shots before 2,280 at Memorial Gardens as the Troops moved their won-lost-extended record to 18-18-2 for 38 points, fourth in the Central Division.
Anthony Salinitri scored one goal and added an assist for the Generals, who also got a goal from Matt Brassard. Goaltender Aidan Hughes made 24 saves for Oshawa, 22-14-2 for 46 points, second in the East Division.
“It was a good win for us,” said Battalion assistant coach Adam Dennis. “We were short on the back end, and some of our young guys stepped up and put in a pretty good effort. Our goaltending was really good, and when you have consistent goaltending you have a chance to win every night.”
Coe opened the scoring at 3:48 of the first period after missing the net with a drive from the slot. He followed up and deposited the rebound off the end boards inside the right post. Chenier and Mason Primeau assisted on Coe’s seventh goal.
With Oshawa outshooting the Battalion 15-7, Propp dealt with good chances for Salinitri, Serron Noel, Cole Resnick, Danil Antropov, Allan McShane and Nick Wong. Coe just missed lofting a backhander into the top corner in the ninth minute, and Patrick Brown rushed to the net but couldn’t convert a pass from Cameron Peters in the 17th.
Salinitri struck on the power play at 1:38 of the second period, beating Propp high to the glove side, before Russell restored North Bay’s lead with a power-play goal at 9:52 as his low shot from the top of the right-wing circle eluded Hughes, who was screened by Daniel Walker. Nick King and Luke Burghardt earned assists on Russell’s eighth goal of the season and his third with the Troops.
Chenier made it 3-1 at 16:08 when he redirected King’s shot from the left dot past Hughes’s left pad. Coe claimed the second assist.
Propp faced 10 shots, making good stops on Resnick, Kyle Bollers and Tyler Tullio. At the other end, Justin Brazeau missed batting the rebound of a Matthew Struthers shot home from deep in the right circle in the 18th minute.
Hughes was on the bench for a sixth skater with Oshawa on the power play late in the third period when the visitors pulled within a goal at 18:14. Seconds after McShane drilled the puck off the right post, Brassard beat a screened Propp with a low drive from the high slot.
Hughes returned to the bench with 1:25 left, but the Generals never threatened aside from a Noel shot that Propp handled easily. Chenier finished the scoring into an empty net at 19:38. Brazeau and Theo Calvas assisted on Chenier’s 20th goal.
The Troops were outshot 15-8 in the frame as Propp made several fine saves midway through the period, including back-to-back close-range chances for Salinitri, who failed to capitalize on a shorthanded breakaway in the second minute.
The Battalion opens a two-game road trip by visiting the Owen Sound Attack at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The game can be seen live in North Bay on YourTV Channels 12 and 700 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.
BATTALION BULLETS: The Battalion twice had won six straight as North Bay, from March 6-16, 2014, to end the season and from Jan. 5-18, 2018 … Chenier has a five-game points streak in which he has six goals and four assists for 10 points … Coe played his 100th game since being the Battalion’s first-round pick, third overall, in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection from the Toronto Nationals minor midgets. With career totals of 17 goals and 27 assists for 44 points, he has a four-game points streak in which he has one goal and four assists for five points … The Battalion went 1-for-5 on the power play. Oshawa was 2-for-3 … Opening lines included Struthers centring left winger Harrison Caines and right winger Brazeau, Primeau centring left winger Chenier and right winger Coe and Burghardt pivoting left winger Walker and Russell on right wing. Luke Moncada centred Peters on left wing and Brown on right wing … North Bay, which dressed 19, one below the limit, was without Travis Mailhot, Simon Rose, Kurtis Evans and Payton Vescio … Battalion defenceman Pacey Schlueting turned 17 on Wednesday … Noel saw the end of a four-game points streak in which he had three goals and eight assists for 11 points … Among the missing for Oshawa were Jack Studnicka, Nando Eggenberger, Nico Gross and Kyle Keyser, all of whom have been playing in the World Junior Championship at Vancouver and Victoria.