It is not how you start, but how you finish. Just when it looked like Battalion would be shut out on home ice, the Battalion flipped the switch in the last half of the third scoring two goals and winning in dramatic fashion in overtime against the Owen Sound Attack.
“We wanted to get into our set up and Burghardt did a great job getting over the line and getting set up and Thilander made a great pass to me,” said Justin Brazeau, who scored the OT winner just 21 seconds in, while the Troops were on the man advantage.
The comeback would not have been possible without the effort of Riley Bruce. The defenceman, who is well known for his booming checks, got his team on the scoreboard by flinging a wrister from the blue line that found its way through a crowd and into the net. Battalion head coach Stan Butler elected to keep Bruce into the game and it paid dividends, as he played a role in the game-tying goal by Mathew Struthers less than a minute later.
“We weren’t really in the game, Julian just kept us in it and once Riley scored he gave our guys some life and we went from there,” said Coach Butler.
There were plenty of emotions throughout the entire game as two former players made their return to the Gardens after being traded. One made his presence felt early. North Bay native Brady Lyle scored both goals for the Attack. Reports were he asked to be traded and his wish was granted back in November.
“It was exciting but it didn’t go the way we wanted. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. I would much rather not have scored and come out with two points,” explained Brady Lyle, who was visibly disappointed as his team boarded the bus.
Longtime Battalion forward Brett McKenzie also skated against his former club and paid a long visit to the Battalion dressing room after the game.
Lyle and company looked in cruise control for the first two periods outshooting the Battalion 24-8 as the home team struggled to get the puck out of its zone.
The Battalion began the second period with the man advantage but could not capitalize. Shortly after Brady Lyle potted his second of the game after he unloaded a blast from inside the faceoff circle. It was partially deflected by Adam McMaster who tried to block the shot with his stick.
“I think at the start of the game we really struggled with their speed. It took us a while to adapt to it. They got some challenges in goal but defence out they’re a pretty good hockey team,” added Butler.
North Bay will get a day’s rest before playing a back to back this weekend beginning with a road game against their division rivals Barrie Saturday and a home game on Sunday against the Peterborough Petes.