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‘Hounds’ dogged work beats Battalion 5-4

NORTH BAY, Ont. – Boris Katchouk scored at 15:48 of the third period to lift the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to a 5-4 Ontario Hockey League victory Thursday night over the North Bay Battalion.

Zachary Senyshyn scored two goals, Gabe Guertler had one goal and two assists and Gustav Bouramman also scored for Sault Ste. Marie, which has a won-lost-extended record of 18-17-6 for 42 points, third in the West Division. Goaltender Brandon Halverson made 28 saves.

Brett McKenzie, Steve Harland, Mike Amadio and Zach Poirier scored for the Battalion, 20-16-4 for 44 points, fourth in the Central Division. Mike Baird and Cam Dineen each had two assists, while goaltender Jake Smith faced 29 shots before 3,153 at Memorial Gardens.

“The way we’re losing games right now is our compete level,” said coach Stan Butler, whose Troops have lost three straight games, one in overtime. “We dealt with it all week and went over it time and time again. You aren’t going to win games if you don’t play hard, and there were times tonight when we got beat in crucial situations that caused us to lose.”

Katchouk broke a 4-4 tie with his 14th goal of the season when he raced down the right wing, cut to the net around Brady Lyle and slipped the puck under Smith’s left pad.

McKenzie opened the scoring at 8:19 of the first period. Halverson stopped a drive off the left wing by Dineen, who dashed in to feed the rebound in front to McKenzie. Baird earned the second assist on McKenzie’s 19th goal.

Guertler replied on the power play at 15:34, ripping a Blake Speers pass from behind the goal line over Smith’s glove.

The Battalion built a 12-6 edge in shots in the period. Halverson turned away chances for McKenzie, Kyle Wood and Brett Hargrave, while Poirier flipped a backhander wide of the left post after driving to the net and hit the post from the high slot. Smith smothered Katchouk’s breakaway chance in the second minute.

Harland put North Bay back in front at 6:54 of the second period, putting the rebound of a Jake Ramalho shot from the left point around Halverson.

Defenceman Bouramman tied it on the power play at 9:46 when his lob from inside the blue line beat the heavily screened Smith, and Sault Ste. Marie took a 3-2 lead at 12:57 as Guertler raced behind the net to collect a loose puck and fed it in front to Senyshyn, who slipped it home.

The visitors outshot the Battalion 15-11, with Smith busy over the last five minutes of the frame, turning away Senyshyn, Mac Hollowell, Tyler Hore and Bobby MacIntyre. The Troops had a number of chances early, but Halverson denied Wood, Baird, Daniil Vertiy and Mathew Santos.

Amadio tied it at 4:11 of the third period, spinning in the goalmouth to fire the rebound of a Dineen shot past Halverson. Vertiy also assisted on Amadio’s team-leading 24th goal.

The Greyhounds went back in front at 6:47 when Senyshyn beat Wood to a loose puck, wheeled behind the net and sent the disc in front, where it deflected off Santos’s stick into the net for Senyshyn’s team-high 28th goal.

Poirier, who drilled the puck off the left post in the sixth minute, made it 4-4 at 13:24, beating a screened Halverson from the right-wing circle. Max Kislinger, with some solid forechecking, assisted on Poirier’s seventh goal.

The Battalion visits the Barrie Colts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The game can be seen live in North Bay on TVCogeco Cable 12 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.

BATTALION BULLETS: Butler was credited with his 1,400th Canadian Hockey League game, numbering 1,328 OHL games with the Oshawa Generals and Battalion and 72 games with the Western Hockey League’s Prince George Cougars. He has a won-lost-tied record of 661-669-70, including 563-581-52 with the Troops in Brampton and North Bay … Amadio has 183 career points, tied with Jeff Bateman for seventh place on the franchise list. Amadio has 66 goals and 117 assists in 235 games … McKenzie has a six-game points streak during which he has four goals and two assists for six points … Harland saw the end of a five-game assists streak, the team’s longest this season, during which he had five assists, but ran his points streak to six games … North Bay went 0-for-2 on the power play. Sault Ste. Marie was 2-for-3 … Opening lines included Amadio centring left winger Vertiy and right winger Santos, McKenzie centring left winger Baird and right winger Harland and Poirier pivoting left winger Maurizio Colella and right winger Hargrave. Kyle Potts centred left winger Kislinger and right winger Justin Brazeau, with winger Jacob Ball a 13th forward … North Bay was without Zach Shankar, Riley Bruce and David Sherman … Colella, acquired Monday from the Hamilton Bulldogs, became the first player in franchise history to wear No. 29.

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