The North Bay Battalion find themselves with their back against the wall after falling 5-3 to the Niagara IceDogs. The IceDogs lead the best of seven series 3-1.
“I thought we had our chances but we came up short in the end,” assistant coach Adam Dennis said after the chippy affair.
“We’re not done. We play tomorrow and we are going to bring our best.”
The start of the game was much better for the Troops in game four than it was in game three. Until they ran into penalty trouble that is.
With Luke Burghardt in the box for tripping, Drew Hunter scored his first of the series 9:50 into the first. Shortly after, Justin Brazeau was in the penalty box for high sticking when Jack Studnicka scored at 10:55 to quickly give them a two-goal lead.
Those would be the only two scores on the powerplay, but the Battalion couldn’t answer with theirs, finishing 0/8 on the game.
“We changed things up going into the series because their powerplay is so good,” Dennis said when asked about the special teams play.
“We adjusted again after the two goals and I thought we got back to business. I thought our powerplay had some good looks tonight, however. We had some chances that were just on the goal line and needed a little bit of an extra push. It’s going to come and we need to keep pushing for it.”
The second period was a little more eventful as Philip Tomasino scored his third in the two games in North Bay before Luke Moncada broke Stephen Dhillon’s shutout streak with a sharp angle shot.
Late in the period, however, with super pest Daniel Walker playing close to Dhillon’s crease, the big goaltender put his stick between Walkers legs and gave him a 'how do you do,' resulting in Walker turning around to give it right back to the netminder, resulting in a line brawl and 20 minutes in penalties.
IceDogs star Jason Robertson, who played against the Battalion in the first round of last years playoffs with Kingston, said it was to be expected.
“It’s playoffs and they are always chippy,” the regular season OHL point leader said.
“The Battalion play hard and we try to match that.”
Late in the third, Oliver Castleman put Niagara up 4-1 and seemed to extinguish any hopes of a comeback for North Bay. But with just over a minute left in play, Brad Chenier saw one get past Dhillon and less than a minute later, Theo Calvas cut the lead to 4-3 before Niagara iced it with an empty net goal.
“It should be confidence for us,” Dennis said about the late push before tomorrow’s game.
“We broke through at the end and we hope to do it sooner tomorrow and start on time.”
Again lost in all the scuffle of the penalties and late push, Christian Propp stood on his head making 43 saves on 47 shots. The Battalion certainly need their star netminder tomorrow if they hope to have another home game on Sunday.
Game 5 can be heard on Country 600 CKAT or seen on Sportsnet tomorrow at 7.