Sports

Battalion hit Memorial Gardens ice for first time

Saturday, January 05, 2013   by: Mark Pare

Battalion players circle around coaching staff during practice at Memorial Gardens. Photo by Mark Pare.

For fans of hockey in North Bay, it was the first time seeing the future North Bay Battalion inside their future home in Memorial Gardens.

For Battalion coach Stan Butler and his Troops, it was all business.

The now-Brampton Battalion (19-16-3-3) are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Sudbury Wolves (17-16-2-5) Friday night, despite a third period comeback after the Wolves went up 4-0.

“We were really happy with our third period,” Butler said of last night’s game in Sudbury, “We thought we played well, but the first two periods weren’t good and we dug ourselves in a hole and unfortunately we couldn’t get out of it.”

When Butler was asked if his practice regimen changes due to being in North Bay with hundreds in the crowd, Butler said “not really.”

“We’ve got a game tomorrow that we gotta win so my focus is not putting on a show,” he continued, “My focus is trying to do as many things possible that we need to work on from last night’s game in order to make sure that we have the best chance to win tomorrow.”

Battalion captain Barclay Goodrow is no stranger to the north, having played for Team Ontario in the 2010 World U-17 Hockey Challenge in Timmins. His team sits fifth in the Eastern Conference, only two points back of the Niagara Ice Dogs.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Goodrow, “Seeing all the North Bay fans in Sudbury last night but we still have a season to finish off in Brampton so for the most part, we just need to focus on that and once that season ends, our focus will turn to North Bay and it’ll be pretty exciting after that.”

Nick Paul is in his first season with the Battalion, and has 10 goals, as well as 10 assists in 39 games played. The 17-year old was ranked 19th in OHL/NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary rankings and was excited to take to the ice for practice.

“We’re going to have a good, hard practice today in front of the North Bay fans, really good,” said Paul, “Just get back tomorrow, just going back to old Battalion-style, just winning our battles, really hard working, hard checks and we’ll just try and out work them (Ottawa 67's) tomorrow and get the win.”

Many of the Battalion players have never been to North Bay, and stepped foot inside the Gardens for the first time. Battalion defense man Mark Raycroft is a rookie on the team, and definitely liked what he saw in his future home city and rink.

“We didn’t have a big chance to see the city but what I saw was really nice. I’m from a small town so it’s a reminder of that,” said Raycroft, “The rink, it’s an old barn, definitely has a lot of character. When we get here, it’ll be a bit different but I like the atmosphere, it’s always good playing in an old barn, it’s really loud, especially with North Bay fans, it’ll be great.”

The Battalion return to the Powerade Centre in Brampton to take on the Ottawa 67's (11-26-0-3) on Sunday afternoon, before a two-game road trip through Windsor (Thursday night) and Plymouth (Friday night).
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