NORTH BAY, Ont. – Rookie Boris Katchouk scored two goals, including the winner, to lead the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to a 5-2 comeback victory over the North Bay Battalion in an Ontario Hockey League game Thursday night.
Zachary Senyshyn, Blake Speers and Bobby MacIntyre also scored for the Greyhounds, who moved their won-lost-extended record to 22-20-6 for 50 points, third in the West Division and seventh in the Western Conference. Goaltender Brandon Halverson faced 32 shots for Sault Ste. Marie, which trailed 2-0 in the first period.
Mike Amadio and Daniil Vertiy scored for North Bay, which suffered its first regulation-time loss in eight games since a 5-4 setback to the visiting Greyhounds on Jan. 14. The Battalion, 5-1-2 since that game, is 25-17-6 for 56 points, tied for second place in the Central Division and third in the Eastern Conference with the Niagara IceDogs, who edged the visiting London Knights 3-2.
Starting goaltender Jake Smith allowed five goals on 11 shots before giving way to Jake Kment, who made 13 saves before 3,312 at Memorial Gardens.
“We got a two-goal lead and, instead of getting the third one, we started getting sloppy,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler. “You have to give them credit; they battled hard and came back. Once they got the lead, we never really responded.”
The teams combined for five goals in the first period, with Amadio scoring first, at 1:53, when he swatted at a puck near the right post and the disc glanced off defender Gustav Bouramman over the goal line. Mathew Santos dished the puck off the end boards for Amadio’s team-leading 30th goal of the season.
Vertiy struck at 6:03, firing home a nifty diagonal pass from Cam Dineen from the right-wing circle. Kyle Wood had the second assist.
Senyshyn replied with his team-high 31st goal at 10:23 when he raced down the left wing and steered a backhander between Smith’s pads. Speers tied it at 13:07, slipping off the right-wing boards and snapping the puck to the far side.
Katchouk was credited with what proved to be the winner at 16:41 when Tim Gettinger sent the puck across the slot from the right corner and it deflected off Katchouk’s right skate, sliding slowly across the goal line behind the prone Smith.
The Battalion directed 16 shots at Halverson, who seemed to fight the puck for much of the period, while Smith faced eight shots.
MacIntyre made it 4-2 at 2:31 of the second period, wristing the puck over Smith’s stick from the right circle after Brady Lyle almost broke up the rush, and Katchouk ended Smith’s night when he drove to the net to score at 4:46.
Among Halverson’s 10 saves in the frame were solid stops against Vertiy, Wood, Amadio, Dineen and Mike Baird. Halverson sprawled in the final minute to deny Zach Poirier in close.
The scoreless third period saw the visitors forge a 10-6 edge in shots. Kment turned away two good chances for Gettinger and opportunities by Hayden Verbeek, Liam Hawel and Bryce Yetman. The Troops’ best scoring chance came in the last minute when Max Kislinger hit the left post.
The Battalion visits Niagara at 7 p.m. Saturday. The game can be seen live in North Bay on CogecoTV Channel 12 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.
BATTALION BULLETS: The goaltending switch was the Battalion’s fourth of the season, with Kment relieving Smith in each case … Amadio has a three-game points streak during which he has two goals and three assists for five points. Amadio’s goal was his 195th career point, eclipsing Adam Henrich for sole possession of sixth place on the franchise list. In 243 games, Amadio has 72 goals and 123 assists … Rookie Dineen has a six-game points streak in which he has four goals and three assists for seven points … Santos has a three-game points streak during which he has two goals and four assists for six points. After blocking a shot early in the second period, Santos slid into the boards helmet-first and received attention from athletic therapist James Borrelli. Santos left the game after blocking another shot … Vertiy, who has scored in each of the last two games, has eight of his 10 goals since a Nov. 11 trade from the Windsor Spitfires … North Bay went 1-2-1 against Sault Ste. Marie this season … The Battalion was 0-for-3 on the power play. The Greyhounds went 0-for-1 … The Battalion scratched Jake Ramalho, David Sherman and Kyle Potts … Rookie left winger Jack Kopacka of Sault Ste. Marie saw the end of a five-game scoring streak, which had been the OHL’s second-longest current such run. He had five goals in the span.