The North Bay Battalion got the monkey off their bank, holding on for a close 5-4 win over the visiting Barrie Colts to end a franchise high 11-game losing streak in the process.
The Troops hope to start a winning streak tonight when the Daniel Walker and the Oshawa Generals come to town.
“There are a lot of points still on the table, and we want to take some,” assistant coach Adam Dennis told the media during Wednesday's weekly media conference.
The Battalion has a won-lost-extended record of 4-17-0 for eight points, fifth in the Central Division, while Oshawa is 14-5-1 for 29 points, third in the East Division.
The Generals come stumbling into North Bay having lost their last two games, both on the road, 4-1 last Friday night to the Sudbury Wolves and 3-1 Saturday night to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
The Battalion, which visits the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday night and plays host to the Niagara IceDogs on Sunday, defeated the visiting Colts last Sunday for its first win since a 7-5 home-ice decision Oct. 14 over Sault Ste. Marie.
Dennis admits it was a great feeling to end the losing streak, but he says he felt the most for the players on the ice.
“For the staff, we just felt good for the kids,” said Dennis.
“They deserved to be rewarded. It was a long streak. It always seems longer than it is, but our guys worked hard through it at times, and it was a lesson that we never want to have to learn again.”
Dennis believes the victory is a step forward in the Battalion youth movement process.
“It seems that what we’re doing is starting to pay off a little bit in terms of the young guys’ development,” Dennis noted of the Battalion, which has the league’s youngest roster and has committed to providing the less experienced members with plenty of ice time.
Rookie rearguard Paul Christopoulos will sit out against Oshawa to complete a two-game suspension for putting the puck into the stands in a 5-1 home-ice loss last Thursday night to Hamilton, while the status of left winger Niki Korpialho, who left the Barrie game with an upper-body injury, was unknown.
“He’ll be evaluated as the week goes,” Dennis said of the Finnish import.
Left winger Brad Chenier paces the Battalion in points production with nine goals and a team-leading 11 assists for 20 points in 21 games, while centre Matthew Struthers has scored 10 goals and added nine assists for 19 points in as many games.