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Attack win wraps up exhibition schedule

NORTH BAY, Ont. – It’s on to real games now.

Josh Sterk scored one goal and added an assist to pace the Owen Sound Attack to a 4-2 victory Sunday over the North Bay Battalion in both teams’ final Ontario Hockey League preseason game.

Petrus Palmu, Justin Brack and Ethan Szypula also scored for Owen Sound, which avenged a 7-4 home-ice loss to the Troops on Saturday night.

Goaltender Riley Daniels faced 18 North Bay shots.

Defencemen Mark Shoemaker and Austin Kosack scored for the Battalion, which opens the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday when the Peterborough Petes visit Memorial Gardens. Goaltender Jake Kment made 33 saves.

The Battalion completed its exhibition schedule with a record of two wins and two losses, including a split of road and home games with the Sudbury Wolves.

Owen Sound carried a 3-1 lead into the third period before Szypula scored on the power play at 9:41, converting off a rush to the short side from deep on the left wing.

Kosack connected from the right-wing circle at 11:14 during a two-man advantage, but the Battalion failed to get closer. Zach Shankar had the Troops’ best late scoring chance on a drive off the right wing in the 17th minute.

Sterk and Palmu gave the Attack a 2-0 first-period lead with last-minute goals 33 seconds apart.

Sterk struck at 19:16 after Kyle Moore turned over the puck to Santino Centorame on a clearing attempt and he fed a diagonal pass to Sterk for a quick conversion from deep on the left side. Palmu then got loose on a rush and beat Kment with a high snap shot.

Owen Sound’s Greg Smith hit the post after gathering the puck off the end boards in the 12th minute, and Zach Bratina was stopped at the other end after a nifty move in front.

Kment gloved a heavily screened left-point shot by Jacob Friend at 14:16.

The teams traded shorthanded goals in the second period, with Shoemaker breaking in alone and backhanding a shot behind Daniels at 8:46. It was the Troops’ fourth shorthanded tally in two games, after penalty killers Bratina, Mathew Santos and Moore connected at Owen Sound.

Palmu replied at 16:36 when his spin shot from the right circle trickled under Kment.

Brett McKenzie had another shorthanded chance in the 19th minute after beating Centorame to get to the net, but Daniels foiled the effort.

The teams again played a five-minute sudden-death overtime period skating three-on-three, acclimatizing personnel to the new format this season. Szypula scored at 3:14 to end the practice session.

BATTALION BULLETS: The Battalion was 1-for-4 on the power play. Owen Sound went 1-for-8 … Opening line combinations featured Jacob Ball centring left winger Bratina and Zach Poirier on right wing, McKenzie centring left winger Mike Baird and right winger Moore and Kyle Potts pivoting left winger David Sherman and right winger Justin Brazeau. Brad Chenier centred left winger Owen Green and right winger Brock Perry … Chenier was called up from the Rayside-Balfour Canadians of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League for the game … Mat Woroniuk backed up Kment … The Battalion was without Jake Smith, Kyle Wood, Riley Bruce, Mike Amadio, Max Kislinger, Brady Lyle, Santos and Calvin Gomes … Bruce was to return Sunday night from the Calgary Flames’ National Hockey League training camp … Miles Liberati served as captain, with Kosack, McKenzie and Bratina the alternates … Kislinger, Moore and Kosack led the Troops in preseason scoring with three points apiece. Kislinger and Moore each had two goals and Kosack one … Head coach Stan Butler watched the first two periods from owner Scott Abbott’s suite before leaving for Toronto and a general managers’ meeting Monday. “Maybe they’ll play better without me,” deadpanned Butler as he left … Assistants Ryan Oulahen and John Dean staffed the Battalion bench.

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