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Troops Edge Closer to Division Lead

March 9, 2014

March 8, 2014 – Ontario Hockey League (OHL) North Bay Battalion

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Goaltender Jake Smith made 19 saves for the shutout to backstop the North Bay Battalion to a 4-0 victory Friday night over the Mississauga Steelheads, pulling the Troops within one point of first place in the Ontario Hockey League ‘ s Central Division.

Nick Paul scored one goal and added an assist, and Miles Liberati, Ben Thomson and Alex Henriksson supplied the other goals for the Battalion, which moved its won-lost-extended record to 34-24-6 for 74 points, one behind the Sudbury Wolves.

Sudbury garnered that point in a 2-1 loss via shootout to the visiting Belleville Bulls after tying the game on Trevor Carrick ‘ s goal at 19:58 of the third period.

The Battalion, which thrashed visiting Belleville 8-1 Thursday night, hosts Sudbury at 2 p.m. Sunday in the first of two meetings left between the teams, battling for the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Mississauga goaltender Spencer Martin faced 41 shots before a crowd of 2,363, while counterpart Smith recorded his third shutout of the season and of his two-year OHL career.

Mississauga is 23-36-5 for 51 points, fourth in the division and tied with the Ottawa 67 ‘ s for seventh place in the conference. The Steelheads, the OHL ‘ s lowest-scoring team, have lost their last four games, including a 5-4 decision via shootout at Ottawa on Tuesday night.

For the most part the Troops, leading 3-0, toyed with Mississauga in the third period before Paul collected his 26th goal of the season at 14:57. Paul staged a two-on-one rush with Thomson against Jared Walsh and, using Thomson as a decoy, snapped a shot past Martin to the blocker side.

Mike Amadio put the puck into the Mississauga net at 19:23, but a possibly compassionate referee Sean Reid waved off the play as having involved a high stick.

The Battalion, which led 1-0 after the first period, added goals by Thomson and Henriksson in the second.

Thomson struck first at 4:13, driving through the left-wing circle around defender Sean Day and beating Martin under the right pad. Assisted by Paul and Barclay Goodrow, it was Thomson ‘ s 26th goal and his 23rd since a trade from the Kitchener Rangers.

Henriksson netted his 10th goal at 10:06 after Brenden Miller and Zach Bratina stole the puck and worked it up the left-wing boards with most of the Steelheads going the wrong way. Bratina centred the rubber to the onrushing Henriksson, who gave Martin no chance.

Damian Bourne challenged Miller, with the two engaging in a fight 11 seconds into the period, early enough that it could be seen as premeditated on the part of the Mississauga crew. The bout proved to be a slugfest, with Bourne scoring early and Miller late before Bourne got the takedown.

Smith ‘ s best save of the frame may have been a block with his catching glove of a close-in chance by Andres Kopstals in the 12th minute.

Defenceman Liberati scored at 11:31 of the first period off a three-on-two rush. Liberati, who has scored in three of the last four games and is on a four-game points streak, joined the play up the middle and took a pass from Matt MacLeod on the right wing before beating Martin high to the blocker side from between the circles. Vincent Praplan had the other assist.

Martin robbed Thomson in tight to the goaltender ‘ s right off a setup by Goodrow in the 18th minute of the period, in which the Troops outshot the home side 14-7 despite having to kill the only penalty, a hooking call to Kyle Wood at 13:50.

BATTALION BULLETS: In 309 games, Goodrow has 124 goals and 99 assists for 223 points, tied with Raffi Torres for third place in Battalion history. Goodrow ‘ s assist total is tied with Dylan Blujus for ninth in franchise annals … Praplan has a season-high five-game points streak during which he has two goals and five assists for seven points … In 287 games, MacLeod has 52 goals and 73 assists for 125 points, one more than Michael Vernace and 22nd in franchise history. MacLeod has a four-game points streak in which he has one goal and five assists for six points … Thomson has scored in each of the last three games … Each team went 0-for-1 on the power play. The Battalion is ranked 19th and Mississauga 20th in power-play effectiveness, both scoring on 16.5 percent of opportunities … Coach Stan Butler tinkered with the top two lines, swapping the centres. Paul pivoted left winger Thomson and right winger Goodrow, and Amadio centred left winger Praplan and right winger MacLeod. Brett McKenzie centred left winger Bratina and right winger Henriksson, and Jamie Lewis centred left winger Connor Jarvis and right winger Mathew Santos … The Battalion scratched Riley Bruce, Mike Baird, Jared Steege and Calvin Gomes, a Mississauga resident who attended the game while recuperating from season-ending shoulder surgery … North Bay went 6-0-0 against Mississauga. In a possibly Freudian typographical error, one of the Steelheads ‘ media packages noted that the Battalion would ” look for the seasons weep .” … Joe Park was the other referee.

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Ontario Hockey League Stories from March 8, 2014

  • Fox Hits Century Mark as Erie Completes Comeback, 7-3 – Erie Otters
  • Fox Hits Century Mark as Erie Completes Comeback, 7-3 – Erie Otters
  • 67’s Blanked in Peterborough – Ottawa 67’s
  • Rangers Fall 7-3 to Otters – Kitchener Rangers
  • North Bay, Sudbury Fight Atop Division – North Bay Battalion
  • Troops Edge Closer to Division Lead – North Bay Battalion
  • 2014-15 Season Ticket Memberships Now on Sale – Belleville Bulls
  • Graham’s Big Performance Keeps Bulls in the Hunt – Belleville Bulls
  • Halverson Plays with Heavy Heart, Backstopping Hounds to Shutout Victory in Sarnia – Soo Greyhounds
  • Sting Shut Out by Hounds – Sarnia Sting
  • Wolves’ Shootout Struggles Continue – Sudbury Wolves
  • Battalion Hold Steelheads at Bay – Mississauga Steelheads

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

Article source: http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=4748832

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