Troops trump Ottawa

NORTH BAY, Ont. — David Maier scored two goals, his first in the Ontario Hockey League, and added an assist to propel the North Bay Battalion to a 4-3 victory Wednesday night over the Ottawa 67’s, snapping the Troops’ four-game losing skid.

Matthew Struthers scored two goals and Justin Brazeau earned three assists for North Bay, which won for the first time since a 7-5 verdict Sept. 21 over the visiting Hamilton Bulldogs in the season opener for both teams. Goaltender Christian Propp provided 41 saves before 2,147 at Memorial Gardens.

Assistant coaches Scott Wray and Adam Dennis ran the Battalion bench in the absence of coach Stan Butler, on medical leave.

Quinn Yule, Tye Felhaber and Noel Hoefenmayer scored for Ottawa, which won its previous two games, both on the road. Goaltender Will Cranley faced 26 shots for the 67’s, who have a won-lost-extended record of 3-3-0.

“It wasn’t pretty at the end,” said Dennis. “They really pushed us, and we were on our heels. There’s obviously a lot to work on, but our guys really deserved this win. We had a positive bench. Everyone was pulling for each other, and we got the result.”

Dennis praised Propp’s effort: “We believe in him. He’s a good goalie and a stable force for us back there. He’s a guy that we trust.”

The teams combined for three special-teams goals in a span of 70 seconds late in the first period, with the Troops enjoying a two-man advantage scheduled for two minutes when Struthers opened the scoring at 18:43, sweeping a Brad Chenier feed past Cranley at the right post. Brazeau earned the other assist.

Ottawa responded shorthanded at 18:58 as Yule drove to the net and buried a feed from Austen Keating, but the Battalion regained the lead on the power play at 19:53. Struthers raced to the net off the right wing and took a shot that Cranley stopped. Struthers got his own rebound in close and, when the puck bounced off Cranley, Struthers swatted the disc into the net. Brazeau and Maier assisted on Struthers’s fifth goal of the season.

First-year defenceman Maier, an Austrian import, made it 3-1 when he kept the puck in the zone at the blue line and beat Cranley with a screened drive from the high slot. The goal, at 7:16 of the second period, was unassisted.

Propp made 16 saves in the frame, including two outstanding stops with the 67’s on the power play. He slid across the crease to deny Felhaber at the left post in the fourth minute. In the 11th, Propp stopped a Hoefenmayer drive from the blue line, and the puck slipped into the crease where defender Cole Cameron cleared it before Keating, draped all over the goaltender, could get to it. Propp turned away two chances from Sasha Chmelevski and denied Jack Quinn in tight late.

Ottawa struck on the power play at 1:50 of the third period. Chmelevski’s drive glanced off the right post, and the rebound went to Felhaber, who shoveled it home from deep in the left-wing circle.

The 67’s ran into penalty trouble midway through the frame, and North Bay capitalized. The visitors were two men short when Maier beat Cranley low to the stick side from the top of the right circle at 13:11. Chenier and Brazeau drew assists.

Chaos deep in Battalion territory saw Ottawa pull within a goal at 18:13. Propp blocked a Quinn drive from the slot, but the puck squirted to the right post, where defenceman Hoefenmayer converted.

Cranley left for a sixth skater for the rest of the period and, while the 67’s buzzed around Battalion territory for most of that time, they managed only one good scoring chance, with Propp denying Hoefenmayer off the left wing.

The Battalion plays host to the Peterborough Petes at 2 p.m. Monday in the annual Thanksgiving Day game.

BATTALION BULLETS: Community Living North Bay presented ‘Disability Awareness Employment Night’ … In 206 games, Brazeau has 72 goals and 63 assists for 135 points, 22nd on the Battalion’s career list, two points ahead of Scott Tanski. Brazeau has five goals and three assists for eight points in the last four games … Opening lines for the Battalion, which dressed 11 at forward and seven defencemen, saw Struthers centring left winger Egor Postnov and right winger Brazeau, Luke Moncada skating between left winger Chenier and right winger Brandon Coe and Adam McMaster centring left winger Daniel Walker and Rhys Forhan on right wing. Centre Patrick Brown and Pacey Schlueting, a defenceman who played left wing, had various linemates … Defence pairings had Nick King with Cameron, Simon Rose with Maier and Braden Henderson with Travis Mailhot. Payton Vescio was the seventh rearguard … The Battalion scratched Kurtis Evans, Kyle Potts, Harrison Caines and Cameron Peters … Evans faces supplemental discipline for a head check in a 7-5 road loss Sunday night to the Oshawa Generals … North Bay went 3-for-5 on the power play. Ottawa was 1-for-6 … The 67’s dressed 17 skaters, one below the limit … Cranley was a second-round pick, 35th overall, in the OHL Priority Selection last April … Felhaber has four goals in the last three games … Hoefenmayer has two goals and three assists in the last four games.

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