Otters prevail in shootout

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Brendan Sellan scored the deciding goal in a 12-round shootout as the Erie Otters defeated the North Bay Battalion 4-3 Thursday night, snapping the Troops’ Ontario Hockey League winning streak at four games.

The fast-paced, end-to-end game saw North Bay take the lead in the final minute of the third period only to have Erie tie it up 18 seconds later.

Joseph Mack had one goal and one assist and Chad Yetman and Gera Poddubnyi also scored in regulation time for Erie, which moved its won-lost-extended record to 7-7-1 for 15 points, fifth in the Midwest Division. Goaltender Daniel Murphy faced 28 shots through overtime and denied 10 shooters after that.

Justin Brazeau scored two goals and Brandon Coe had the other in regulation time for North Bay, which lost for the first time since a 4-3 setback to the visiting Mississauga Steelheads on Oct. 18. Goaltender Christian Purboo made 39 saves through overtime and foiled nine shootout attempts before 2,152 at Memorial Gardens. The Battalion is 8-7-1 for 17 points, tied with the Sudbury Wolves for fourth place in the Central Division.

Poddubnyi put Erie up 2-0 at 2:34 of the third period, driving to the net off the right wing and steering the puck around Purboo.

Brazeau, the OHL’s scoring leader, who was named earlier Thursday as the league’s Player of the Month for October, replied at 6:09. Murphy stopped Matthew Struthers’s shot off the left wing but left the rebound in the deep slot for Brazeau’s conversion.

Coe tied it 2-2 at 17:00, shoveling the rebound of Simon Rose’s drive from the top of the left-wing circle past Murphy from the lip of the crease. The goal was Coe’s fourth of the season.

Brazeau put the Troops ahead at 19:07, sending a second-chance backhander past a screened Murphy from the slot. Luke Moncada assisted on Brazeau’s league-leading 18th goal. He has 16 assists for 34 points in 16 games.

Murphy was on the bench for a sixth skater when the Otters netted the equalizer at 19:25. Purboo stopped Luke Beamish’s shot, but the puck trickled to the goal line, where defender Theo Calvas cleared it onto the stick of Mack, who knocked the disc into the net.

Erie, with a 3-1 edge in shots, had the better chances in overtime, with their best opportunity coming in the final seconds as Maxim Golod and Kyle Maksimovich failed to capitalize on a two-on-one rush.

The Troops went first in the shootout but fell behind when Danial Singer scored as Erie’s first shooter. Brazeau and Coe scored for the Battalion in the third and fourth rounds respectively before Golod countered in the fourth.

The contest fell one round short of the longest in Battalion history, a 13-rounder at Brampton on Nov. 13, 2011, against the Ottawa 67’s when Brett Mackie scored the deciding goal for the Troops in a 3-2 win.

Erie, which outshot the Troops 15-12 in a wide-open first period, struck on the power play at 18:42 when Yetman steered a feed from Maksimovich between Purboo’s pads from the goalmouth.

The Battalion spent much of the first half of the frame buzzing around Erie territory, with Struthers, Coe and Brad Chenier among those who tested Murphy. Purboo made good stops on Golod, Singer and Petr Cajka. Yetman shot wide in close on a two-on-one rush with Brendan Hoffmann in the 14th minute.

Purboo was busy in the scoreless second period as the Otters forged a 17-5 edge in shots. The goaltender made two saves in close on Cajka, was down in the crease to turn away Emmett Sproule, parried Yetman’s blast off the right wing, kicked out a drive from Brendan Kischnick and foiled Maksimovich at the lip of the crease.

The Battalion visits Sudbury at 3:05 p.m. Sunday. The game can be seen live in North Bay on YourTV Channels 12 and 700 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.

BATTALION BULLETS: The teams completed their season series, after the Battalion won 5-2 Saturday night at Erie … Brazeau has 11 goals and eight assists for 19 points in the last seven games. In 216 career games he has 85 goals, one more than Sam Carrick and 10th in franchise history … In his last nine games, Struthers has scored nine goals and earned 13 assists for 22 points … Coe has three goals and one assist for four points in the last four games … Opening lines featured Struthers centring left winger Egor Postnov and right winger Brazeau, Adam McMaster pivoting left winger Chenier and right winger Coe and Moncada centring left winger Daniel Walker and Rhys Forhan on right wing. Centre Cameron Peters and left winger Harrison Caines had various linemates … The Battalion, which dressed seven defencemen, scratched Pacey Schlueting, Travis Mailhot, Kurtis Evans and Patrick Brown … The Battalion didn’t have a power-play opportunity, despite Chenier being hauled down on a partial breakaway in the second period, a play that should have been a minor penalty or a penalty shot. Erie went 1-for-2 … Poddubnyi has four goals and one assist for five points in the last three games … Erie was without rookie defenceman Jamie Drysdale, who’s with Canada Black at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge at Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B. … The referees were Brent Montsion and Tom Sweeney.

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