Colts best Battalion 3-1
NORTH BAY, Ont. — Beau Akey scored an empty-net goal and added an assist as the Barrie Colts defeated the North Bay Battalion 3-1 Friday night in the home opener to the Troops’ 10th-anniversary season in the Gateway to the North.
Zach Wigle and Riley Patterson also scored for Barrie, which took both ends of a home-and-home set. Goaltender Sam Hillebrandt provided 29 saves for the Colts, who won 4-3 via shootout Thursday night.
Lirim Amidovski scored for North Bay, while goaltender Dom DiVincentiis faced 24 shots before a sellout crowd of 4,213 at Memorial Gardens.
For a second consecutive Ontario Hockey League season, the Battalion raised a Central Division championship banner as Ty Nelson made his regular-season debut after returning from the camp of the National Hockey League’s Seattle Kraken in time to watch the first game.
“We just seemed to be one step behind for most of the game,” said Battalion coach Ryan Oulahen.
“We had our chances. We had some times where we could have taken over the hockey game, but give Barrie credit. They came in here and they worked, and I thought they earned the two points.”
Wigle scored at 1:49 of the first period, taking a diagonal cross-ice pass from Akey and connecting from the left-wing faceoff dot. Bode Stewart had the other assist.
The Battalion, which had a 14-6 advantage in shots in the period, enjoyed the only two power plays but failed to mount sustained pressure after either Jack Brauti’s high-sticking call or Connor Punnett’s interference penalty.
Amidovski tied it 40 seconds into the second period. Tnias Mathurin fired the puck from the left circle off a rush and Ethan Procyszyn made contact with it in the goalmouth before Amidovski lofted a backhander high to Hillebrandt’s blocker side.
Patterson connected at 3:30 for what proved to be the winner, splitting the defence and going to the crease to convert his own rebound at the left post as DiVincentiis couldn’t get the puck covered.
The Battalion killed a two-man disadvantage lasting 18 seconds in the final period after Jacob Therrien was sent off for roughing at 7:13 and Owen Van Steensel was whistled for interference at 8:55.
With DiVincentiis pulled for a sixth skater, defenceman Akey sent the puck from his own zone into the empty net at 19:54.
The Battalion visits the Sudbury Wolves at 2:05 p.m. Sunday. The game can be seen live in North Bay on YourTV Channels 12 and 700.
BATTALION BULLETS: Royal LePage Northern Realty sponsored the game, which saw Ben Thomson and Zach Bratina, members of the 2013-14 Eastern Conference championship team, take part in the ceremonial faceoff. The St. Joseph-Scollard Hall Catholic Secondary School band performed O Canada … The Battalion has an all-time won-lost-extended record of 9-14-2 in home openers, including 4-5-1 at North Bay. The Troops have won four of their last six home openers … Attendance was the second-largest for an opener at North Bay after the 4,236 for the Battalion’s first, on Oct. 11, 2013 … Opening line combinations included Dalyn Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Anthony Romani, Procyszyn centring left winger Justin Ertel and right winger Amidovski and Brice Cooke pivoting left winger Ihnat Pazii and right winger Therrien. Dylan Richter centred left winger Carter Kostuch and right winger Stef Forgione … Defence pairings had Alex Cajkovic with Nelson, Mathurin with Paul Christopoulos and Brayden Turley with Wyatt Kennedy … Charlie Robertson, who tended goal at Barrie, backed up DiVincentiis … The Battalion was without Mike McIvor, Liam Arnsby, Tyson Rismond, Nolan Laird, Zach Wilson, Brett Bouchard and Pasquale Zito … Each team went 0-for-4 on the power play … With Arnsby still with the NHL’s Florida Panthers, Christopoulos, Wakely and Nelson served as alternate captains … Blake Beer and Andrew Willmetts were the referees.