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Attack turns back Troops

OWEN SOUND, Ont. — The North Bay Battalion, at least for the time being, has seen the end of the road.

Aidan Dudas scored one goal and added two assists to lead the Owen Sound Attack to a 6-3 Ontario Hockey League victory Saturday night over North Bay as the Troops completed a stretch of five away games, all regulation losses.

Brady Lyle recorded one goal and one assist and Daylon Groulx, Griffin Wilson, Matthew Philip and Carter Robertson, the last into an empty net, also scored as Owen Sound moved its won-lost-extended record to 8-3-1 for 17 points atop the Midwest Division.

Goaltender Nick Chenard, making his second career appearance, faced 30 shots before 2,942 at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.

Harrison Caines had one goal and one assist and Mitchell Russell and Luke Moncada the other goals for North Bay, 3-11-0 for six points, fifth in the Central Division. Goaltender Joe Vrbetic made 27 saves for the Battalion, which scored two rapid-fire third-period goals to pull within 4-3 before the Attack widened the deficit.

The Battalion, which lost 9-3 Friday night to the Guelph Storm, took to the road in the Western Conference while the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling occupied Memorial Gardens. The Troops play host to the Sudbury Wolves at 7 p.m. Friday.

Owen Sound raced to a 3-0 first-period lead, with Groulx opening the scoring at 1:11 as he took a pass from Sergey Popov, drove to the net and slipped the puck between Vrbetic’s pads. Defenceman Lyle took a feed from Adam McMaster and charged to the net to score on a backhand deke at 5:11, and Wilson fired a wrister high over the goaltender’s blocker at 16:32.

The teams traded goals in the second period, as Russell put North Bay on the board at 2:11. Niki Korpialho chased down the puck on the end boards, went behind the net and slipped the disc in front to Russell, who ripped it past Chenard for a fifth goal on the season. Paul Christopoulos had the second assist.

The teams were skating four-on-four at 4:47 when the Attack restored its three-goal lead with Philip driving to the net off the right wing to chip the puck home for what proved to be the winning goal.

Owen Sound outshot the visitors 10-8 in the frame, but the Battalion produced good chances after Deni Goure was assessed a double minor for high-sticking Brad Chenier at 5:59.

Chenard reacted quickly when Mason Primeau tipped a Matthew Struthers drive from the right point and got the blocker on a close-range effort by Primeau. Moncada fired wide right on a breakaway after penalty killer Dudas turned over the puck. McMaster missed the net on a shorthanded breakaway during the same man advantage.

The Battalion scored goals 37 seconds apart in the third period. Moncada beat Chenard low to the glove side from the left circle at 6:29, with Caines and Brandon Coe drawing assists on Moncada’s seventh goal. Pacey Schlueting then lofted a left-point shot that Chenard stopped, but he kicked the rebound to Caines, who took one whack at it that the goaltender repelled before Caines shoveled home his second chance at 7:06.

The Battalion tested Chenard in an effort to tie it, but the goaltender stopped a left-wing drive by Braden Henderson, kicked away Caines’s rebound attempt off a Simon Rose shot and foiled Caines again in the slot.

Dudas gave the Attack a 5-3 lead 15:53, charging to the net off the left wing as Nick Grima fell and depositing the puck between Vrbetic’s legs.

Vrbetic was on the bench for a sixth skater when Mark Woolley went off for a head check at 18:59. Dudas won the subsequent faceoff, and defenceman Robertson fired the puck the length of the ice into the vacant net for a shorthanded goal at 19:03.

BATTALION BULLETS: The game was the first of two season meetings. The second is scheduled Dec. 15 at North Bay … The Battalion went 2-8-0 in October … Rookie Chenard, a resident of Tecumseh, Ont., was a sixth-round pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection from the Sun County Panthers minor midgets. In his OHL debut, he backstopped a 3-2 home-ice win Sept. 28 over Guelph … Russell has one goal and three assists for four points in the last four games … Opening lines featured Struthers centring left winger Chenier and Liam Arnsby on right wing, Primeau pivoting left winger Kyle Jackson and right winger Russell and Moncada centring left winger Caines and right winger Coe. Cameron Peters centred left winger Korpialho and right winger Alex Christopoulos … The Battalion, which traded overage defenceman Nick King to the Kingston Frontenacs earlier Saturday, scratched James Mayotte and Josh Currie … North Bay went 0-for-5 on the power play. Owen Sound was 0-for-3 … Dudas has one goal and five assists for six points in the last three games … Among the missing for Owen Sound were Nolan Seed and Ethan Burroughs, a second-round pick last April from the Halton Hurricanes minor midgets … The Attack has released Kirill Nizhnikov, who played previously with the Barrie Colts and Sudbury. He was a 2016 first-round pick by the Mississauga Steelheads from the Toronto Marlboros minor midgets.

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