Troops get back in win column
The Brampton Battalion overcame pretty big odds Sunday afternoon and ended a five-game winless streak in the Ontario Hockey League. The Battalion, who had not won since beating Mississauga in the...
Brampton Battalion forward Patrik Machac (11) fights for control of the puck with Sudbury Wolves' Brody Silk (94) during Ontario Hockey League action at the Powerade Centre on Sunday afternoon. The Troops snapped a five-game losing skid with a 2-1 win.
The Brampton Battalion overcame pretty big odds Sunday afternoon and ended a five-game winless streak in the Ontario Hockey League.
The Battalion, who had not won since beating Mississauga in the annual New Year’s Eve game in Brampton, got a couple of timely goals, a stellar defensive effort and some sharp goaltending from Matej Machovsky and translated all of that into a 2-1 victory over a red-hot Sudbury Wolves team in front of 2,200 spectators at the Powerade Centre.
“We just had to find a way to win, to get back to our winning ways,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler.
“It’s good to win a close game like that,” continued Butler. “A lot of our games lately have come down to the end and teams seemed to find a way to come back and catch us. I thought Machovsky was sharp, I thought our defence battled well and a 16-year-old scored a big goal that was pretty important for us.”
The Wolves, who had gone undefeated in 11 straight games coming into Brampton, looked like they had plans to extend that streak when newcomer Matt Schmalz, part of a blockbuster trade between the Wolves and the Kitchener Rangers on Jan. 8, put Sudbury ahead 1-0 in the first period.
The score stayed that way until the middle of the second period when Jamie Lewis tied the game with a power-play marker. It was Lewis’ 11th goal of the season.
Rookie Blake Clarke, Brampton’s first choice in the 2012 OHL draft, scored the eventual winner in the third period when he deflected a point shot by Dylan Blujus past Wolves goalie Franky Palazzese, who was also part of the huge trade to Sudbury from Kitchener just a couple of days before the league trade deadline.
“Blujus did a great job of keeping the puck in at the line,” said Clarke, who has 15 goals this season. “He got the shot off. I was able to get my stick on it and it ended up being the winner.”
Defence played a big role in this win for the Troops, who now are 20-18-7 on the season. Brampton shut down the Sudbury offence, limiting the Wolves to 15 shots for the entire game. While Machovsky may not have had a lot of work, he did come up with a few key saves that pulled that Battalion out of a bit of trouble.
“The strength of our team is defence and we’ve got to get back to that,” said Butler. “We have to play stronger defensively to be successful.”
While Machovsky did what he had to do to help the Battalion stop the five-game skid, Palazzese was a stalwart for the Wolves. The veteran netminder turned aside 31 of 33 shots and was named the third star of the game.
“They (Wolves) added a really good goalie to their team and you could see that today,” said Butler.
Captain Barclay Goodrow returned to the Brampton lineup Sunday for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury against Mississauga on Dec. 30. He worked on the top line with Lewis and newcomer Francis Menard and they showed signs that they could be very potent offensively down the stretch. . . With Goodrow back, the Battalion scratched Nicholas Foglia from Sunday’s game. . . Brampton gave up a season-high 44 shots in Friday night’s 4-2 loss to the Whalers in Plymouth. . . Brenden Miller and Brandon Robinson scored for the Troops against the Whalers. . . The Battalion honoured Machovsky and defenceman Cameron Wind prior to Sunday’s game. Machovsky was recognized for playing with the Czech Republic team that finished fifth at the recent World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. Wind was honoured for having played the most career games with Brampton. Wind reached the 270-game mark against Plymouth Friday night, surpassing the previous franchise high of 269 held by Luke Lynes. . . The Troops travel to Kitchener to play the Rangers on Friday night and then return to the Powerade Centre next Sunday afternoon (2 p.m.) to battle the Peterborough Petes. . . The Wolves came into Sunday’s game on the heels of a 4-3 shoot-out victory over the Petes in Peterborough on Saturday night. . . After next Sunday’s game against Peterborough, the Troops will have only 12 home games remaining in the regular season. . . Jason Faist and Ryan Hutchison were the referees Sunday.