“We got off to a good start,” Battalion head coach Ryan Oulahen said.
“I liked our intensity and the first period as a whole. As you go through game, there wasn’t a lot of bad periods, but bad spurts, which is a good learning experience and you want to go through them during preseason.“
It was the second half of a home and home with the 67’s, and Oulahen says he picked up on some of the same issues for both games.
“When you go back to last night we let off the gas a bit, not playing Battalion hockey,” he explained. “We have to play consistently and the hockey gods are teaching us a lesson.”
As alluded to by the head coach, the first period was a tight affair for both teams. Battalion netminder Reece Proulx made some remarkable saves, and North Bay came out of it with a tight 9-8 lead in shots as the game remained tied.
However, in the second, Ottawa struck first off the stick of Brenden Sirizzotti, a minute and a half in. Not to be outdone, less than a minute later, Battalion rookie Dalyn Wakely tied the game up with his second in the preseason. Yet by the end of the period, the 67’s held a 3-1 advantage on the scoreboard, including one marker on the powerplay.
“It’s good to go through repetitions and it’s tough to get that intensity outside of a game,” Oulahen stated on the penalty kill that went four for five.
“You love to have more practice time and that’s why you want to go through game scenarios and try to replicate them through practice and find competitive ways to practice that.
“When it doesn’t go well it’s a learning thing,” he continued.
“Same thing with a powerplay, you want to get it in games, and with guys coming back from NHL camps, you give it more focus.”
The third period saw one goal scored, by Ottawa, to give them the 4-1 victory.
Looking ahead, the Troops have one more game for a tune up, against the Owen Sound Attack on Saturday, October 2nd. According to the head coach, the Battalion will try to implement what they learned this week in to that game.
“That’s going to be a focus for sure,” Oulahen said, referencing the special teams and what tactics to use. “When we started camp, we had a week-by-week schedule and had a sense when guys at NHL camps would be back.”
“It’s going to be a review for everybody and fine detailing for everything. That’s the main thing. We’ll be starting to put together line combinations and in another week it will be a big test in a tough building in Owen Sound.”
Saturday’s game also represented the first game that North Bay could play in front of half a capacity crowd, as opposed to just 1,000. According to Ryan Oulahen, having more fans in the building is a great feeling after the last 18 months.
“It’s a great sign moving forward and I think there is an overall excitement to see our team play. You can hear them on the big plays made today whether it was a hit or blocked shot.”
The Battalion open their season on October 7th when they host the Peterborough Petes.