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Attack spoils new Battalion netminder Lamour's debut

Familiar face sparks Owen Sound comeback

NORTH BAY, Ont. – The Owen Sound Attack broke through for a pair of goals in 51 seconds to steal a 3-1 win from the North Bay Battalion on Sunday afternoon.

Matthew Struthers, traded from North Bay to Owen Sound on Dec. 2, tied the score for the Attack and rookie Joshua Samanski scored his first OHL goal to give the visitors a lead they would not relinquish. Barrett Kirwin added an empty-net goal to seal the win for Owen Sound, who went 2-1-0 on the weekend following a loss in the Soo on Friday and a win in Sudbury on Saturday.

“It’s a tough feeling for the guys in our room. Probably our best game of the weekend,” said Battalion interim head coach Ryan Oulahen.

“We had a really good first and second period and the ice was tilted at that point. I think only to have a 1-0 lead at that point was the issue. We didn’t find a way to bury one or two more.”

Goaltender Cameron Lamour made his Battalion debut after being acquired via trade with the Sarnia Sting on Sunday morning. The 19-year-old netminder had played the first part of the season with the Rayside-Balfour Canadians of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. He was a high pick of the Saginaw Spirit in the 2016 OHL draft, selected in the third round, but was the odd man out this season in a crowded crease for the Sting, which features North Bay native Ben Gaudreau.

“He’s a very excited kid for the challenge and the opportunity to come here,” said Oulahen of Lamour. “It’s great that he knows a few of our players (including captain Brad Chenier). He’s going to be a great fit for Joe (Vrbetic), and now I think our goaltending situation is going to be really solid.”

Lamour played well for the Troops who held the play for the majority of the game but were foiled numerous times by Attack goaltender Mack Guzda, who finished with 36 saves and was named the game’s first star. North Bay managed to score one on Guzda in the first period off the stick of Brad Chenier, who notched his team-leading 14th of the season, tied with Luke Moncada. Chenier buried a feed after Brandon Coe, who has played well offensively the last several games, lured both defencemen into the corner with him and beat them both with a hard centering pass.

Though the Battalion powerplay failed to capitalize on three opportunities in the game, they held the play in the offensive zone and generated a number of chances. Two of their man advantages saw them play the entire two minutes in the attacking end, energizing and exciting the Memorial Gardens crowd of 1,943, but Guzda and the Attack defense held strong.

The Attack, a very common trading partner for the Troops, has three former Battalion players on its roster in Struthers, Adam McMaster, and Brady Lyle. The latter two are enjoying good campaigns in Owen Sound, with McMaster playing shifts today at both forward and defence.

The game was presented by league sponsor Wawanesa Insurance, who held a toy drive that saw 384 new toys collected for donation to LIPI of Nipissing. Next Thursday’s game against London, the last for the Battalion before the holiday break, bears a similar theme in the Teddy Bear Toss. Fans are encouraged to bring a new stuffed toy, wrapped in a clear plastic bag, to the game and toss it onto the ice after the Troops score their first goal.