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Clark propels ‘Heads over traveling Troops

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Everett Clark’s second-period goal proved the winner as the Mississauga Steelheads defeated the North Bay Battalion 4-2 Sunday, sending the Troops to their third consecutive Ontario Hockey League loss.

Josh Burnside, Stefan LeBlanc and Sean Day, the last into an empty net, had the other goals for Mississauga, which got 30 saves from goaltender Jack Flinn before an announced crowd of 2,786.

The Steelheads, with a won-lost-extended record of 6-5-2 for 14 points, are second in the Central Division, two points behind the Barrie Colts, who downed the host Oshawa Generals 5-3 Sunday night.

Mike Amadio and Miles Liberati scored for North Bay, while goaltender Jake Smith faced 32 shots. The Battalion, 5-6-1 for 11 points, third in the division, wrapped up its first two-game road trip of the season, having overnighted in Mississauga after a 4-3 overtime loss to the London Knights on Saturday night.

Defenceman LeBlanc gave the Steelheads a 2-1 lead at 4:23 of the second period when he took a short pass from Michael McLeod on the left-wing boards and one-timed the puck past Smith from the circle.

Clark connected at 12:27 after Nathan Bastian skated the puck counterclockwise behind the net and fed it to the goalmouth. Clark converted quickly for his fifth goal of the season.

Zach Bratina was awarded a penalty shot when he was tripped up on a breakaway by Jared Walsh at 3:15, but Flinn foiled Bratina’s forehand shot.

Penalty killer Liberati pulled the visitors within a goal at 13:14 of the third period on assists by Brett McKenzie and Mathew Santos. Rearguard Liberati drove to the net and was knocked into Flinn by LeBlanc, with the puck sneaking past the goaltender.

The Troops went to the power play at 17:55 when Austin Osmanski was whistled for delay of game, and Battalion supporters may have had thoughts of a third-period comeback from a 3-0 deficit at London. But with Smith on the bench for a sixth skater, defenceman Day sent the puck the length of the ice for a shorthanded insurance tally at 18:37.

Zach Shankar received a match penalty for slewfooting 50 seconds into the final frame. The Battalion allowed Mississauga six shots while killing the five-minute penalty, but Shankar faces a league review of the play and possible supplemental discipline.

Burnside ran Bratina at the buzzer, leaving North Bay’s leading points producer prostrate on the ice for several moments.

In the battle of former Peel Region rivals from the Battalion’s time in Brampton, Burnside opened the scoring at 11:55 of the first period, backhanding home the rebound of an Alexander Nylander shot.

Amadio struck shorthanded at 13:39, intercepting a McLeod pass in the Battalion zone, chipping the puck off the right-wing boards and dashing down the ice to fire the disc past Flinn from the circle.

In 207 career games, Amadio has 48 goals and 92 assists for 140 points, tied with Nick Paul for 17th place in franchise history. Paul had 75 goals and 65 assists in 191 games.

Bratina put on a burst of speed on the left side and broke across Flinn’s crease in the fifth minute only to be denied, and Daniel Mizuto-Bagenda tested Smith with a drive from the left circle in the eighth.

The Battalion hosts the Ottawa 67’s at 7 p.m. Thursday.

BATTALION BULLETS: Battalion coach Stan Butler was credited with his 1,300th OHL game. Butler has a career won-lost-tied record of 618-617-65, including 548-568-52 in 1,168 games over 17-plus seasons with the Troops in both Brampton and North Bay. He also coached Oshawa for two seasons starting in 1994-95. Butler’s wins total is the fourth-highest in OHL history, behind Brian Kilrea at 1,194, Bert Templeton at 907 and Larry Mavety at 681 … Bratina saw the end of a career-high eight-game points streak during which he scored 12 goals and earned two assists for 14 points … Amadio has a six-game points streak during which he has six goals and four assists for 10 points … The Battalion went 0-for-5 on the power play. Mississauga was 0-for-4 … Opening line combinations featured Amadio centring left winger Bratina and right winger Brett Hargrave, McKenzie centring left winger Mike Baird and right winger Santos and Zach Poirier pivoting Jacob Ball on left wing and right winger Justin Brazeau. Kyle Potts centred left winger Max Kislinger and right winger Kyle Moore … North Bay again was without Austin Kosack, Kyle Wood, David Sherman and Brady Lyle … The Battalion, which downed the visiting Steelheads 5-3 on Oct. 12, returns to Mississauga on Nov. 20 for the third of six season meetings.

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