The North Bay Battalion welcomed back some familiar faces in the Guelph Storm, however, the Troops came up just short with a 3-2 overtime defeat.
In a rematch of the 2014 OHL Final, the Battalion (23-21-6-1) came into this off of a triumphant 5-3 come from behind victory over the Mississauga Steelheads. Meanwhile, the Storm (25-21-1-3) were looking to rebound after a 6-4 loss to the Owen Sound Attack Friday night.
The aforementioned familiar faces on the Storm were Zach Poirier and Mark Shoemaker, both making their first appearances at Memorial Gardens since they were traded for Luke Moncada and Luke Burghardt to little fan fair.
Half a minute into the game, Brad Chenier would level Liam Hawel, but that would be the highlight of the period until Barret Kirwin would be sprung on a shorthanded breakaway to slip the puck past Christian Propp and put Guelph up 1-0.
The start of the second would see North Bay kill off two 5 on 3 penalties, and a total of 9 penalties called, but things would take a turn in the third.
Kirwin would pot his second of the game to give Guelph a 2-0 lead, but shortly after Zach Poirier would put a questionable hit on Matthew Struthers which ignited the entire Battalion bench in rage.
The rough stuff would continue as Daniel Walker was tracking down Ryan Merkley and took a swipe at him with his stick, which Merkley would retaliate, leading to a line brawl on the ice.
Every player, aside from the goaltenders, Propp and Anthony Popovich, would get into the melee. All told 77 of the 109 penalties in minutes from the game overall, were issued halfway through the third and four players were removed from the game. Daniel Walker and Luke Moncada for the Troops, Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr for the Storm.
The rough stuff seemed to ignite the Troops as on the ensuing powerplay, Brad Chenier, who has been scorching hot as of late, would cut the lead to 2-1.
Later in the frame, Justin Brazeau would tie the game up and the crowd erupted in a way that hasn’t been seen since Barclay Goodrow, Nick Paul and Mike Amadio skated on the Gardens ice.
The game would head to overtime where Cedric Ralph would give Guelph the 3-2 victory as he sped down the left wing and beat Propp for the game-winner.
After, when asked on his thoughts on the game, Battalion head coach Stan Butler let his frustration be known.
“It was a tough game to get any momentum, we spent most of the game in the penalty box and when you’re in the penalty box it’s tough to get any momentum going,” stated Butler.
“Guys like Burghardt, Brazeau, and Struthers see their ice time limited because they aren’t normally on for penalty kills.”
The Battalion is back in action Thursday, when they wear North Bay Centennial jerseys as they welcome the Flint Firebirds to town.