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Battalion hopefuls take to ice

NORTH BAY, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey Leagues North Bay Battalion hit the ice at Memorial Gardens at training camp Thursday for the first time.

A total of 44 players, split into two teams, held morning practices before an afternoon intrasquad game that saw Team White defeat Team Green 7-5.

Blake Clarke, the Battalions first-round pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection, scored the final four White goals, including an empty-netter, to pace the winners, who rallied from 2-0 and 5-2 deficits. Mathew Santos, Mike Amadio and Calvin Gomes also scored for White.

Scoring for Green were Matt MacLeod, Nick Paul, Vincent Praplan, Garrett James and Daniel Volpe.

Six goaltenders each played one 25-minute period. In the White net, Jacob Kment allowed two goals, Evan Cormier three and Garrett Forrest none. For Green, Jake Smith surrendered no goals, Brendan ONeill two and Eric Pitcher four.

As Stan Butler, director of hockey operations and head coach, looked on, Ryan Oulahen coached Green and fellow assistant John Goodwin guided White.

Because of continuing renovations to the clubs home rink, players dressed at Pete Palangio Arena and bused to and from Memorial Gardens, donning and removing their skates at rinkside.

A cutting torch threw sparks as a backdrop to one net during a morning practice session, and the afternoon sun shone through plastic sheeting above the west-side stands where private boxes are to be built. Access was restricted to club staff and players family members, who occupied one corner of the east grandstand, as new seating has yet to be installed.

The camp, which opened Wednesday with medicals and fitness testing, continues Friday with two more practices and another intrasquad game at 4 p.m. before the final game at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Battalion, embarking on its first season in Northern Ontario after 15 years in Brampton, opens a five-game exhibition schedule Sunday with a visit to the Kitchener Rangers.

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