Despite playing with a lot of energy and physicality, the North Bay Battalion lost 4-3 to the Niagara Ice Dogs. It was the first home game in just over two weeks for the Troops, who were looking for break a three-game losing streak.
The Ice Dogs were looking to break a seven-game losing streak, and a contest with the Battalion proved to be the answer.
While the Battalion came out hitting early in the first, the Ice Dogs exploded for three straight goals.
“Anytime you dig a hole like we did, three goals like that, it’s tough to come back. I mean I do give the kids credit, they battled their way back and we had chances to close the gap. I think the one save late in the first period on Burghardt, which would have made 3-2 at the time, that was a big save there and plays like that are hurting us,” shared head coach Stan Butler.
Matthew Philips led the Niagara attack with two goals, including the game-winner. Riley Bruce got the Battalion on the board in the first period and the other goals came courtesy Brett McKenzie in the second and Brad Chenier with six minutes left in the third.
North Bay ended up outshooting their opponents 33-30 and had by far the most chances to score, particularly in the third period. Brett McKenzie was denied by Stephen Dhillon on a breakaway and the offence had pucks bounce off the post and crossbar.
At the other end, Battalion netminder Julian Sime did all he could to keep his team in it.
“He gives us a chance, he keeps us in the game and that’s all we can ask out of him,” said Butler.
The game also saw the return of defenceman Zach Shankar, who was traded to Niagara before the season started. He wasted no time making his presence felt and played his brand of hard nose hockey. Shankar was credited with an assist and drew a penalty from Jesse Saban, who was displeased by the hit he received and wanted to fight. Shankar wisely skated away and Saban ended up in the box.
The Battalion is back in action this Thursday against the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds and then head back on the road for a rematch against Niagara on Friday.
Canada 150 Jerseys
The loss came while the Troops showed off fancy red and white Canada 150 jersey to honour Canada's Troops on the Remembrance Day weekend. The jerseys were auctioned off in support of the local North Bay Military Family Resource Centre.
“Everything done today was extremely professional. It was nice to see the military come out today and be at centre ice and it gives you an appreciation of what they do for our country and what they do for us,” said Butler.
The Troops were still without Brandon Coe who had an assist last night in the gold medal game at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Coe and his Team Canada Red teammates won silver after dropping a 6-4 decision to Team USA at the week-long event which took place in Northeastern B.C.