NORTH BAY, Ont. — Veteran Josh Currie’s unassisted goal at 7:22 of the third period helped propel the North Bay Battalion to a 4-2 victory Saturday in its Ontario Hockey League exhibition opener against the Owen Sound Attack.
Battalion rookies accounted for the other goals, as Owen Outwater, who also had an assist, scored an empty-netter at 18:56 to ice the win.
Owen Van Steensel and Dalyn Wakely also scored for the Battalion, which played for the first time since the 2019-20 OHL season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, costing the Troops their last six games of that campaign and the entire 2020-21 season.
Goaltender Reece Proulx faced 30 shots in going the distance for North Bay.
Logan LeSage and Sam Sedley scored for Owen Sound, which suffered its second loss in two preseason outings. Goaltender Corbin Votary gave up three goals on 29 shots.
Each team had 17 in uniform rather than the permissible 20, with numerous players away at National Hockey League camps.
Defenceman Sedley tied it 2-2 at 2:59 of the final period, converting a rebound off the end boards on assists by Igor Chibrikov and Stepan Machacek.
Currie seized an errant clearing attempt in the right-wing circle and snapped the puck past Votary to give the Battalion its second lead of the game, and the Troops weathered an Owen Sound push for the equalizer. Votary left for a sixth attacker with 2:10 to play before Outwater settled the issue.
The sometimes chippy affair saw a scrum develop in the Battalion crease, with Cal Uens and Thomas Chafe of the Attack and the Battalion’s Liam Arnsby and Alex Christopoulos handed roughing minors at 17:08.
Wakely broke a 1-1 tie at 4:49 of the second period when North Bay made Owen Sound pay for a questionable slashing call against Outwater, a first-round pick in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection. Outwater emerged from the penalty box to gather the puck and thread a pass between two backcheckers to the onrushing Wakely, who slipped the disc home at the right post.
LeSage opened the scoring on the power play at 4:16 of the first period when he redirected a soft screened shot by Julian Fantino from the high slot.
Proulx then robbed Fantino in the 10th minute, sprawling to block a shot off a pass on a two-man break-in.
Van Steensel replied at 12:10, taking a pass from Ty Nelson and cutting across the goalmouth from deep on the left wing to backhand the puck past Votary. Nelson, who was a force at both ends of the ice, was the Battalion’s first-overall pick in the 2020 Priority Selection.
Kyle Lekun was the lone referee. The OHL has decided to revert to the two-referee system from the one-man plan in effect to start the preseason.
The Battalion visits the Ottawa 67’s at 7 p.m. Friday to open a home-and-home series that continues at Memorial Gardens at 4 p.m. next Saturday.
BATTALION BULLETS: With five skaters and goaltender Joe Vrbetic at NHL camps, the Battalion dressed 10 forwards and five defencemen, three skaters under the limit … Opening line combinations saw Arnsby centring left winger Currie and right winger Christopoulos, Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Nic Sima and Michael Podolioukh pivoting left winger Outwater and right winger Christian Stevens. Centre Anthony Romani had various linesmates … Initial defence pairings were Tnias Mathurin with Nelson and Cam Gauvreau alongside Simon Rose, with Wyatt Kennedy the fifth rearguard … Van Steensel, Wakely, Outwater, Sima, Podolioukh, Romani, Nelson, Mathurin and Kennedy made their OHL debuts … Dom DiVincentiis backed up Proulx … Apart from Vrbetic, North Bay was without Paul Christopoulos, Avery Winslow, Alexander Lukin, Brandon Coe, Matvey Petrov, Kyle Jackson, David Campbell and Mitchell Russell. The last two were scratched with ailments, while Russian import Lukin has yet to arrive … Arnsby, Stevens, Rose and Nelson served as alternate captains, with no one wearing the ‘C’ for the game … Machacek drew a misconduct for a mouth guard violation in the third period … The Battalion went 0-for-2 on the power play. Owen Sound was 1-for-4.