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Battalion bears brunt of another loss

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – An eventful night in Northern Ontario, featuring a teddy bear toss, a penalty shot and a shootout, ended in familiar fashion of late for the Brampton Battalion.

Brett Thompson and Nick Cousins scored in the shootout to give the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds a 3-2 victory Friday night over the Battalion, the Troops’ fourth straight Ontario Hockey League loss.

Thompson tied the game 2-2 on a penalty shot awarded at 13:04 of the third period after he was hauled down on a breakaway by Kyle Pereira, who got the puck first on a sprawling defensive play.

Daniel Catenacci scored the first goal for the Greyhounds, who moved their won-lost-extended record to 8-12-3 for 19 points, fifth and last in the West Division. Rookie goaltender Matt Murray faced 31 shots through overtime and denied Sean Jones and Craig Moore in the shootout.

Scott Tanski and Jones had one goal and one assist each for the Battalion, 8-9-4 for 20 points, third in the Central Division.

Goaltender Jacob Riley made 13 saves through overtime before a crowd of 4,718 at the Essar Centre. He foiled Catenacci, Sault Ste. Marie’s second shooter, in the shootout.

The Battalion, which last won 4-1 on Nov. 7 over the visiting Barrie Colts, has lost five straight road games since downing the Ottawa 67’s 3-1 on Oct. 22.

“We needed that third goal and didn’t get it,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler. “We had a power play to start the third period, and we’ve had a pretty good power play, but we had a chance to get the third goal and didn’t do it.”

Having surrendered the only goal of the first period, the Battalion scored two in the second to take a 2-1 lead through 40 minutes.

Tanski tied it at 13:29, taking a pass from Jones behind the goal line and whacking at the puck twice at the left post. The goal, Tanski’s sixth of the season, was the 100th OHL point in a 172nd career game for the fourth-year forward, a 12th-round choice in the 2006 OHL Priority Selection.

He didn’t stay at that level long, assisting on Jones’s go-ahead goal on the power play 1:38 later. The Troops stormed the Sault Ste. Marie zone, with Spencer Abraham’s blast from the left side ricocheting in the slot, where Tanski contacted it before Jones converted his 11th goal.

Catenacci connected with the man advantage at 11:10 of the first period, stepping into the right-wing circle and wiring his 11th goal past Riley. The ensuing deluge of teddy bears resulted in a nine-minute delay before the game resumed.

Jones had the Battalion’s best early scoring chance on the power play after a roughing call against Carson Dubchak at 3:21. Jones was free on the right side for a cross-crease pass but failed to put the puck into the near top corner.

Jones took a hard shot in the 16th minute, with Murray making the save but having the puck flip high in the air before landing in the goalmouth, where Tanski just missed stuffing it home.

Battalion scratches were Jordan Auld, Andreas Tsogkas and Jonathan Johansson. The Greyhounds, who dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen, scratched Vern Cooper, Jake Carrick, David Quesnele and Justin Thomas.

The Battalion, which lost 7-3 Thursday night to the Saginaw Spirit, visits the Sudbury Wolves at 7 p.m. Saturday to complete a road swing of three games in as many nights. The game can be seen live in Brampton on Rogers Cable 10 and in Bolton, Caledon and Orangeville on Rogers Cable 63.

BATTALION NOTEBOOK: The Essar Centre is one of five facilities hosting the inaugural Soo Greyhounds International Showdown AAA tournament, featuring 58 teams from seven age groups hailing from Ontario and a number of United States centres … The Battalion went 1-for-5 on the power play. Sault Ste. Marie was 1-for-3 … The Troops are 4-5-1 on the road. The Greyhounds are 5-5-1 at home … The Battalion is 1-7-2 against Western Conference foes, who have provided the opposition for the team’s last four games. The Troops have lost seven consecutive games against teams from the other side since a 5-1 win Oct. 14 over the visiting Greyhounds in the opener of the two-game season series. Sault Ste. Marie played its fourth consecutive game against an Eastern Conference opponent … Opening line combinations included Tanski centring left winger Jones and right winger Philip Lane, Sam Carrick pivoting left winger Ian Watters and Barclay Goodrow on right wing and Moore centring left winger Stephon Thorne and right winger Michael Santini. Domenic Alberga centred left winger Alex O’Neil and right winger Matt MacLeod … Auld and Tsogkas were healthy scratches. Johansson has mononucleosis … Watters saw the end of a five-game points streak in which he had four goals and two assists for six points … Murray, 16, made his first start since stopping 29 shots in a 5-4 road loss Oct. 30 to the Plymouth Whalers. Chris Perugini started seven subsequent games … In addition to the teddy bear toss, the Greyhounds held a Stuff the Bus promotion in which fans were encouraged to fill a city transit vehicle outside the arena with toys, clothing and non-perishable food items.

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