Troops bounce back with 7-1 victory

NORTH BAY, Ont. – Max Kislinger scored two goals and Mike Amadio had one goal and two assists to pace the North Bay Battalion to a 7-1 conquest of the Hamilton Bulldogs in Ontario Hockey League action Thursday night.

Daniil Vertiy, Kyle Wood, Brett Hargrave and Brett McKenzie also scored for the Battalion, which netted five second-period goals, while goaltender Jake Smith, seeing his first action since Oct. 25 after recovering from a shoulder ailment, provided 24 saves.

Cam Dineen had three assists in the Troops’ first meeting with the Bulldogs, formerly the Belleville Bulls.

Hargrave, who skated on a line with McKenzie and David Sherman, returned to the Battalion lineup after sitting out four games with concussion-like symptoms incurred in a 4-1 road loss Nov. 6 to the Kingston Frontenacs.

The win before a crowd of 3,109 improved the Battalion’s won-lost-extended record to 10-10-2 for 22 points, fourth in the Central Division, after a 7-0 loss to the host Mississauga Steelheads last Friday night in its previous outing.

Benjamin Gleason scored for Hamilton, 8-15-1 for 17 points, fifth in the East Division. Starting goaltender Charlie Graham allowed four goals on 19 shots before Connor Hicks surrendered three goals on nine shots in relief.

“I liked our third period,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler. “I liked our penalty kill in the third period. We played very well defensively and we scored the one goal, and then Amadio slid one over that, for me, looked like an easy goal for Daniil, but he missed the net.

“I think it was our best game from an offensive standpoint of capitalizing on our chances.”

Vertiy opened the scoring on the power play at 19:08 of the first period, redirecting an Amadio shot off the left post to beat Graham. It was Vertiy’s fifth goal of the season and his third in five games with North Bay since a trade from the Windsor Spitfires.

Penalty killer Amadio struck for his team-leading 13th goal 21 seconds into the second period, wristing the puck between Graham’s legs from the top of the left-wing circle. Amadio has a league-leading four shorthanded goals for the Troops, who top the OHL with 10.

Defenceman Gleason replied on the power play at 11:14, seven seconds after Miles Liberati went off for holding, but the Battalion took over from there.

Defenceman Wood, playing his third game since recovering from offseason wrist surgery, scored his first goal of the campaign just nine seconds into a power play at 12:14 before Kislinger collected back-to-back goals at 12:57 and 17:02 for a season total of three. Kislinger’s first tally drove Graham from the net, and Kyle Potts assisted on both for his first multipoint game in the OHL, a milestone also achieved by Kislinger.

Hargrave scored his first goal of the season and with the Battalion at 18:18, firing the puck off the right wing and having it deflect off the outstretched stick of defender Ondrej Kachyna in front. Hargrave, a North Bay native, was acquired from the Owen Sound Attack in a trade Oct. 2.

McKenzie completed the scoring with his eighth goal at 1:10 of the third period after seizing a turnover at the Hamilton blue line. McKenzie cruised into the slot and, using defender Christian Mieritz as a screen, snapped the puck past Hicks.

The Troops then killed three minor penalties, the only calls of the final frame.

The Battalion visits the Niagara IceDogs at 7 p.m. Friday. The game can be seen live in North Bay on TVCogeco Cable 12 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.

BATTALION BULLETS: Big Ticket Night in support of Special Olympics Ontario raised more than $4,800. Three autographed National Hockey League sweaters were sold in a silent auction, and Special Olympians and North Bay Police Service personnel collected donations … Smith last played in a 4-2 loss at Mississauga. During his nine-game absence from the crease, Jake Kment went 4-4-1 with a 3.20 goals-against average and an .880 save percentage … Butler and Hamilton’s George Burnett continued their battle for fourth place in career OHL wins. Butler is credited with a won-lost-tied record of 623-622-65 in 1,310 games with the Oshawa Generals and the Battalion, in both Brampton and North Bay, while Burnett has a mark of 619-618-51 in 1,288 games. The record is held by Brian Kilrea, credited with 1,194 wins with the Ottawa 67’s … “Bulldogs” is the 10th name of a Hamilton club in the OHL or comparable Ontario Hockey Association forerunners. Those who faced North Bay, in the Centennials, were the Steelhawks, from 1984-85 through 1987-88, and the Dukes, in 1989-90 and 1990-91. Other clubs were the Whizzers, Majors, Lloyds, Szabos, Tiger Cubs, Red Wings and Fincups … The Battalion went 2-for-5 on the power play. Hamilton was 1-for-7 … The Battalion scratched Jake Ramalho, Jacob Ball and Brady Lyle.

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