A disappointing finish to the weekend for the North Bay Battalion (15-8-0-0) as they struggled to fend off the Niagara attack all night in a 6-5 loss to the IceDogs (6-12-3-0) in St. Catharine's on Saturday evening.
IceDogs forward Daniel Michaud more than doubled his seasons’ goal total with a hat trick, including the game tying and winning goals in the third period.
After the Battalion fought back to erase a two-goal deficit in the third to take a 5-4 lead, Michaud (4) tied the game 5-5 at 6:02, and then scored his fifth of the season at 11:35 to put the IceDogs ahead 6-5.
It was a lead they would not relinquish, despite the Battalion outshooting the IceDogs 50-24, including 22-8 in the third period.
That third period got off to a blazing start for the visiting side with three goals in the first four and a half minutes of the period. North Bay Captain Liam Arnsby (5) got the Troops to within a goal at 2:44. Owen Van Steensel was behind the Niagara net when he fed the puck to the top of the right circle to Arnsby’s stick, and Arnsby one-timed the puck into the Niagara net to make the score 4-3 IceDogs.
The Troops tied the game a minute later, when Kyle Jackson scored his second of the game and 14th of the season at 3:45. Jackson came down the left-wing side and forced netminder Josh Rosenzwig to come out of the net and out of position for Jackson to slide the puck around him and tuck it inside the post to tie the game 4-4.
North Bay took their first and only lead of the night one minute after that when the big defenceman Alexander Lukin showed off some great puck handling skills as he deked out a defender off the boards, gained space in front of the net and buried the puck under the pads of Rosenzwig for a 5-4 North Bay lead.
Charlie Robertson made 18 saves on 24 shots to fall to 4-2-0-0 in nine games.
It was Teddy Bear toss night at the Meridan Centre and the IceDogs didn’t make their fans wait too long to send the bears flying to the ice. Kevin He (7) scored at the 12:09 mark of the first period, making it the second straight night the Battalion had given up the opening goal. While the first goal of the game isn’t always the one that holds up, the Battalion are a team that has had great results when they get off to a good start. Entering Saturday's contest, the Troops were 8-0-0 when leading after the first period.
Despite outshooting Niagara 15-9 in the opening twenty minutes, the Battalion would find themselves down by a pair of goals after Michaud (3) scored a short-handed goal at 16:28, putting the Troops down 2-0 going into the intermission.
North Bay got one back quickly in the second when Michael Podolioukh won a face-off in the Niagara zone to Ty Nelson. Nelson put the puck on net and Ethan Procyszyn (2) buried the rebound at 2:50.
He (8) scored his second of the game at 5:13 to regain the two-goal lead for the home side.
Jackson (13) got the Battalion back to within a goal at 9:07. Buffalo Sabres prospect Josh Bloom flipped a puck from the boards to the high slot and Jackson pinched in and sent in a shot that beat IceDogs goalie Josh Rosenzweig high glove side. It was Blooms fifth assist as a member of the Troops and he finished the night with a pair of points, giving him seven points in six games since coming to North Bay.
Niagara once again gave themselves a two-goal advantage just two minutes later on Gerard Keane’s second goal of the season at 11:33 to put Niagara ahead 4-2.
The Battalion are back on the ice on Wednesday when they head to Sudbury to play the Wolves.