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Brady Lyle breaking records in final year

“It’s been three important years in Owen Sound. That’s where most of the production has been.”
2019-09-02 Colts Attack RB 10
Owen Sound Attack defenceman Brady Lyle. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

Move over Bobby Sanguinetti, Brady Lyle is now number one.

The North Bay native, and former first round draft pick of the North Bay Battalion has taken over as the franchise leader in goals scored by an Owen Sound defenceman.

His goal in the first period during last Thursday’s 5-2 win over Flint gave him 22 on the year and 42 for his career, surpassing Sanguinetti for most all-time.

“To be honest I wasn’t aware of what the record was or that I was close to it,” Lyle says over the phone ahead of the Attack's game on Saturday against London.

“It just happened and when I found out about it I was pretty proud. It’s a pretty cool accomplishment and you know records are made to be broken so, I’m not sure how long it will last but it’s cool nonetheless.”

The record for career goals should stand for a little while. Among active Owen Sound defenseman, Carter Robertson has the most goals with 13 and if he is brought back for an OA season next year he would need, at this point, a 30-goal campaign to break that. Igor Chibrikov has two more years left of eligibility and has eight goals to his credit. A couple of seasons of 15 to 20 goals in the next two years would get him near or over that mark as well. So, it’s not impossible for the record to be reset again in the next few seasons but, for the time being, Lyle will enjoy seeing his name at the top of that category in the record book.

With one more goal this season he will break another Owen Sound record, for goals within a single campaign, also held by Sanguinetti who accomplished that in 2006-2007 that tied the one Scott Walker set in 1992-93.

We see all the time how interlinked the world of hockey is and Lyle and Sanguinetti are paired not just through their goal scoring abilities in Owen Sound but with their tie-ins to the Battalion franchise.

As previously stated, Lyle was a first-round draft choice of the Battalion in 2015 and to this point, it could be argued that he has been their best first round draft pick in their six years of drafting since moving to North Bay, with 175 career points as a defenceman; however, only 37 of those came in a Battalion uniform with his trade to Owen Sound occurring just nine games into the 2017-18 season.

“It’s been three important years in Owen Sound. That’s where most of the production has been,” Lyle says.

And while this may not be looked back on as one of the best trades the franchise ever made, a deal to acquire an Owen Sound defenceman ten years earlier was one that produced one of the best seasons by a defenceman in Brampton Battalion history as Sanguinetti was picked up in June of 2007, and was tremendous in his final year in the Ontario Hockey League by scoring 29 goals (a franchise record) and 70 points.

Lyle had to overcome and injury in his first season and didn’t make his debut until late November of his first year. From 2015 through to 2017 he was trying to figure out what kind of player he was going to be. He always had the skill set to be a very high scoring defenseman, but it just never clicked until he got to Owen Sound, finishing with 32 points in that first season at the Bayshore. Since then he’s put up 138 points in 183 games for the Western Conference team and says the defensive side of his game has been something he has been working to improve in year five.

“There was a plan that I had in playing in my own end, I try to play a lot harder there than I have in past years,” Lyle stated.

“Staying engaged, making sure I know where everyone is on the ice, keeping my head on a swivel, hard box-outs in front of the net, all the little stuff that might go unnoticed sometimes, but it makes a huge difference in the outcome of the game for the whole team. Those are the things that help keep guys dialled in and it improves their game.”

Over the course of the season, the Attack have had their ups and downs as every team does, but as they work to solidify a playoff spot, it must be remembered that this team were sellers at last years trade deadline, shipping off older players like Nick Suzuki, Markus Phillips, Sean Durzie and Kevin Hancock to name a few. But Lyle says the guys that were brought in from those deals have acclimated well and have made them go from sellers last year to contenders this year.

He says, “The guys that we have traded for since last year have become pretty big impact players for us this year. I can really go to them for all kinds of different stuff and they have all helped our team a lot this year. We knew coming in that we were going to have a lot of fourth year guys and we started off well. Then when we got Matt (Struthers) from North Bay we had three pretty solid OA’s we thought we had a team that could compete with anyone, and we still do. We’re not scared of anyone and we’re looking forward to the playoffs and looking forward to surprising some people.”

But Lyle himself may be the biggest surprise of the season. Tony Saxon who writes for says Lyle is his choice for top defenceman in the OHL this year. In his article, he wrote “I know Ottawa’s Noel Hoefenmayer is the sexy choice here, but Lyle has 40 of his 65 points at even strength and is a plus-30 on a middle-of-the-road Attack team. He’s the absolute backbone of that squad and logs huge minutes in every situation. Honourable mention: Hoefenmayer, Alec Regula (London).”

See related: Saxon on the Storm: a look at the best performers of the OHL season

The numbers he is putting up sometimes surprise even himself as Lyle says he was just looking forward to having a productive final OHL campaign. He says, “I didn’t really have any concrete numbers goals. You need a lot of bounces and stuff to be able to put up all those points, but I had the mentality at the beginning of the year to go in and show that I’m one of the best defenseman in the league and I wanted to carry that confidence through the summer and into the start of the year and for the most part that has been around throughout the whole year and I think the season has gone pretty well.”

It will be fun to watch where the North Bay native goes with his hockey career and he says he’ll keep pushing for that NHL dream. Especially with some of his closest friends achieving that goal themselves.

"Sean Durzi is a guy that I was really close with," said Lyle.  

"He didn’t get drafted his first time around, and then had an outstanding year and ended up getting picked in the second round by the Maple Leafs (#52 overall in 2018). He and I are really close, we both have the same kind of mentality in how we enjoy the hard work and we liked to push each other and just talk about the game. He’s a guy that was always there for me and a guy I still lean on when I want to talk about the game or just talk about life in general.”

You might as well go out on top, and Lyle is doing just that in his final go-around in the OHL, cementing his name on the Attack record books and giving NHL scouts something to consider as they look for those hidden gems in rinks around the province.

Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
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