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Battalion looking for some Sting redemption

'We’ve got to take advantage'
Sting in action against the Battalion last February. File photo courtesy Tom Martineau/BayToday.

The North Bay Battalion and Sarnia Sting complete a home-and-home series at Memorial Gardens at 7 p.m. Thursday with the Troops seeking to avenge a 6-5 loss Sunday that ended a road trip of three games in as many days.

The Battalion, which defeated the Saginaw Spirit 6-3 and the Flint Firebirds 3-2 before the Sting staged a third-period rally, has two games on its Ontario Hockey League schedule this week, including a Sunday visit by the Niagara IceDogs.

The Battalion seemed poised to take three of three as they held a 4-2 lead early in the third period last Sunday against Sarnia. 

“You’re super disappointed, especially with the way we went into that third period, got a quick one, had a two-goal lead,” coach Ryan Oulahen said during Wednesday's media conference. 

“You want to get six out of six points, which would have been amazing, but at the same time, we’re still happy with the weekend in whole. That’s a tough road trip, a really tough two weeks that we’ve gone through.”

While the Battalion faced a challenge coming off the twin wins in Michigan, the team has had time to recharge for the rematch.

“We were kind of running on fumes there," admitted Oulahen.  

"Just the way you prepare for a game, we’re ready, Xes- and Os-wise, for sure, for that Saginaw game. You go into Flint, and then by Sunday afternoon we’re not changing or tinkering anything at that point. So now we have a couple of days where we can have some awareness of things that they do and just focus on some strengths that maybe we can do a little bit better going into the game on Thursday.”

North Bay has a won-lost-extended record of 30-19-8 for 68 points, second in the Central Division.

Sarnia is 23-30-4 for 50 points, fourth in the West Division.

The Battalion has 11 games left to play, made up of seven at home, including the next three, and four on the road. The away dates are against the Barrie Colts, Peterborough Petes, Kingston Frontenacs and Mississauga Steelheads.

With Barrie upsetting the Wolves last night, the Troops have an opportunity to move within 2 points of the Wolves for tops in the Central. 

“We’ve got to take advantage,” Oulahen said of the remaining schedule.

“I just like the travel. For me, as a coach, you can manage our energy levels much better going into game situations with our travel the way it’s going to be here the next 11 games.”

The Sarnia game provides three players acquired in a trade Jan. 6 with another crack at the Sting. Sandis Vilmanis, who scored three goals against Saginaw and the winner at Flint, had one assist Sunday. In 19 games with North Bay, he has 18 goals and six assists for 24 points.

Andrew LeBlanc, with four goals and 12 assists for 16 points in 19 games since the trade, provided two assists against his former team. Jacob LeBlanc has 10 assists in 20 games, including one in the head-to-head encounter.

The game features Hockey Fights Cancer Night presented by Scotiabank, with fans encouraged to wear lavender or pink.