SUDBURY, Ont. – Danny Desrochers’s second-period shorthanded goal proved the winner as the Sudbury Wolves defeated the North Bay Battalion 3-1 Friday night, ending the Troops’ Ontario Hockey League winning streak at four games.
Alan Lyszczarczyk and Chad Heffernan, the latter into an empty net, also scored for Sudbury, which snapped its own five-game losing streak. Goaltender Jake McGrath, making his OHL debut, provided 37 saves for the Wolves, who have a won-lost-extended record of 2-6-0 for four points, fifth in the Central Division.
Sudbury’s other win was a 5-4 victory via shootout Sept. 27 over the visiting Mississauga Steelheads.
Zach Bratina scored for the Battalion, while goaltender Jake Smith faced 21 shots before a sparse crowd recorded as 2,663.
North Bay is 4-4-0 for eight points, second in the division. The Troops’ previous loss was a 4-2 setback Oct. 1 to the visiting Kitchener Rangers.
Penalty killer Desrochers gave Sudbury a 2-1 lead with the only goal of the middle period, at 12:03. He raced down the right wing and, when linesman Drew Jackson impeded defender Miles Liberati in the neutral zone, had a clear path to the net, where he had the puck soar high over Smith.
Bratina, who played for the puck against the sprawling McGrath, and Trenton Bourque, who went after Bratina, drew slashing and roughing penalties respectively at 16:22. McGrath, who was assisted briefly by his trainer, made several big stops soon thereafter, including on Mike Amadio in alone with the teams skating four a side.
Cole Mayo put the Wolves short with a hooking penalty on Justin Brazeau in front of the Sudbury net at 18:00, and McGrath continued to come up big against the Battalion power play, which got a two-man advantage for 16 seconds when Patrick Murphy was whistled for delay of game at 19:44.
McGrath set the tone of the third period early, foiling Bratina after he swept around Murphy in the sixth minute. McGrath got lucky when Zach Poirier’s long shot rebounded off the end glass and bounced off the goaltender’s back, sliding to the right post in the eighth minute.
The Battalion killed a late penalty to Amadio for checking from behind on Heffernan and first pulled Smith for a sixth attacker with 2:06 to play before Heffernan hit the empty net from centre ice at 18:29.
The teams traded quick goals in the first period, with Lyszczarczyk opening the scoring at 5:57. David Levin won a faceoff to Smith’s right and the puck went to the goalmouth, where Lyszczarczyk one-timed it hard enough to have it trickle under the goaltender.
Bratina replied 42 seconds later. Amadio poked the puck away from Matt Schmalz in the mid slot, and the torrid Bratina beat a startled McGrath. It was the fourth consecutive Battalion goal scored by Bratina, following his third-period hat trick Thursday night in a 5-1 home-ice win over the Oshawa Generals.
Amadio threaded a stretch pass to Bratina for a breakaway in the 15th minute, but McGrath denied a deke attempt and the followup by Amadio, with Cam Dineen ringing the puck off the iron with a gaping net to end the triple threat. The play went to video review.
The Battalion hosts the Niagara IceDogs at 3 p.m. Sunday.
BATTALION BULLETS: Bratina, who has 10 goals in a five-game scoring streak, leads the Battalion offence with 10 goals and two assists for 12 points in eight games. He had three goals in each of the previous two games … The Battalion went 0-for-5 on the power play. Sudbury was 0-for-1 … The Battalion, which had 19 players in uniform, one below the limit, was without Austin Kosack, Kyle Wood, Jacob Ball, Brady Lyle, Calvin Gomes and David Sherman, a scratch after warmup … Overage right winger Mathew Santos returned to the North Bay lineup after completing a four-game suspension for a check from behind on Kitchener’s Darby Llewellyn … McGrath, an eighth-round pick in the OHL Priority Selection in April, was recalled from the junior A St. Michael’s Buzzers of Toronto. Troy Timpano, Sudbury’s No. 1 goaltender, suffered an ankle injury in a 6-2 road loss last Friday night to the London Knights. McGrath backed the Wolves to a 4-2 home-ice win over the Battalion in preseason play Sept. 6 … The Battalion’s Pink in the Rink Night raised more than $17,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society’s breast cancer campaign Thursday night. Fans bid on pink-trimmed sweaters, with Smith’s the top draw at $1,050. T-shirts were sold and a Chuck-a-Puck event held in the second intermission.
The online game sheet can be found here.