Niagara skates to 6-1 win

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — Bradey Johnson ignited a three-goal eruption in a span of 4:32 in the second period to spark the Niagara IceDogs to a 6-1 victory over the North Bay Battalion in Ontario Hockey League action Saturday night.

Johnson, Kirill Maksimov, Oliver Castleman and Ivan Lodnia each had one goal and one assist, while Billy Constantinou and Matthew Philip provided a goal apiece for Niagara, which has a won-lost-extended record of 3-1-0. Goaltender Colton Incze faced 27 shots before 4,863 at the Meridian Centre.

Justin Brazeau scored for North Bay, which suffered a third consecutive loss and is 1-3-0. Goaltender Christian Propp made 35 saves.

First- and third-period shots were even, but the Battalion was outshot 19-5 in the middle frame. Johnson broke a 1-1 tie with his goal at 13:55 on an innocent-looking shot from the right-wing boards that sneaked through the short side. It was Johnson’s third goal of the season.

Castleman, who had the first assist on Johnson’s tally, struck at 17:21 when he popped the puck over Propp’s outstretched left leg at the right post on assists by Johnson and Philip Tomasino, who earned his first of three assists.

Defenceman Constantinou capitalized on a backhander from the slot on a counter-rush at 18:27 after the Battalion had several chances against Incze, including by Brandon Coe.

Lodnia took a spin pass from Ben Jones at the right side and converted into an open net from the left wing on the power play at 2:59 of the third period, and Philip, tight to the crease, tipped home a Tomasino chop from the right circle with the teams skating four a side at 16:31.

The Troops opened the scoring for the first time this season courtesy of Brazeau, who collected his second goal at 13:48 of the first period, four seconds after Maksimov went off for interference. A faceoff to Incze’s left saw the puck advanced to the end boards before Brazeau took it across the crease to tuck it away. Brad Chenier had the lone assist.

Maksimov, assisted by Andrew Bruder, made amends at 16:53, rushing down the left wing to cut across the mid slot and score on a wrister. It was his third goal.

Each team had two power plays in the period, which saw Propp penalized for roughing at 4:28 when he objected to Lodnia piling onto him at a whistle. It marked the second straight game in which a Battalion goaltender drew a penalty, after Joe Vrbetic was called for delay of game in a 7-2 home-ice loss Thursday night to the Oshawa Generals.

The Battalion completes a two-game road trip at Oshawa at 6:05 p.m. Sunday. The game can be seen live on YourTV Channels 7 and 1200 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.

BATTALION BULLETS: In 204 games, Brazeau has 69 goals and 60 assists for 129 points, tied with Matt Duchene and Brenden Miller for 25th place on the Battalion’s career list. Brazeau scored his 26th power-play goal, seventh in franchise history, one ahead of Aaron Van Leusen and Howie Martin … Opening lines included Matthew Struthers centring left winger Chenier and right winger Brazeau, Adam McMaster centring left winger Daniel Walker and right winger Coe and Kyle Potts pivoting left winger Luke Moncada and Patrick Brown on right wing. Cameron Peters centred left winger Egor Postnov and right winger Kurtis Evans … Defence pairings saw Braden Henderson with Travis Mailhot, Nick King with David Maier and Simon Rose with Cole Cameron … The Battalion scratched Pacey Schlueting, Rhys Forhan, Harrison Caines and Payton Vescio … King played his 100th OHL game, his 60th with North Bay. He was acquired via trade last Oct. 23 from the Owen Sound Attack, with whom he played 40 games after being a 10th-round pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection from the Waterloo Wolves minor midgets … Christian Purboo backed up Propp after sitting out Thursday night with an off-ice injury. Vrbetic relieved Propp against Oshawa … North Bay went 1-for-4 on the power play. Niagara was 1-for-6 … The Battalion was to overnight at Oshawa … Scott Ferguson and Anthony Tapper were the referees.

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