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 North Bay Battalion

Generals Capitalize Early in Overtime

April 27, 2015 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
North Bay Battalion News Release

OSHAWA, Ont. - Dakota Mermis scored at 1:01 of overtime to give the Oshawa Generals a 1-0 victory Sunday night over the North Bay Battalion and a 1-1 tie in games in the teams' Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference Championship Series.

Defenceman Mermis, driving to the net on the left side, put the rebound off the end boards of a wide Michael McCarron shot past Battalion goaltender Jake Smith to offset a 6-1 win by the visitors Friday night.

The play was the continuation of a sequence on which the Troops' Zach Bratina was checked into the boards from behind in the neutral zone by Cole Cassels and left lying prone on the ice for some time before rejoining play.

Battalion coach Stan Butler was appalled that there was no penalty on the play and said as much in the postgame news conference.

"It's just unfortunate in overtime that I thought Bratina got hit from behind into the boards and there wasn't a call."

Soon thereafter, when a thump was heard somewhere above and beyond the dais in the reaches of the General Motors Centre, Butler turned to look back and deadpanned: "I've got to be careful I don't get hit from behind there."

By overtime, referees Mike Marley and Scott Oakman had long since put away the whistles, having managed to call just eight minor penalties, resulting in three power plays, in a physical game that featured plenty of infractions. The last penalties were a weak holding call to North Bay's Marcus McIvor and an unsportsmanlike conduct assessment against Oshawa's Aidan Wallace, both at 11:59 of the second period.

Both goaltenders performed far better than the referees, with Oshawa's Ken Appleby making 33 saves for his second shutout of the postseason and Smith providing 38 stops before a crowd of 5,659.

The best-of-seven series continues with games Tuesday and Wednesday at North Bay, both starting at 7 p.m.

The top-seeded Generals got off to a solid start in the first period, but the third-seeded Battalion weathered the attack and pushed back to even things up, eventually forging a 10-8 edge in shots. The Troops went 0-for-2 and Oshawa 0-for-1 with the man advantage in the frame, and that was it for odd-strength situations.

The second period featured increased intensity from both sides, with Zach Poirier, who had a strong game, among those who missed chances for the Battalion.

Oshawa dominated play for much of the third period, with Smith sprawling to deny such as Matt Mistele and Michael Dal Colle on opportunities and Hunter Smith crashing the goaltender repeatedly.

"We get a memo about how you can't touch the goaltender, and then that happens," Butler said later.

He told the news conference: "Defensively in the third period there were times when we let our competitive edge go down, and we've got to get that back or it'll be an advantage for them."

BATTALION BULLETS: It was the first Battalion playoff game with a 1-0 score since North Bay defeated the host Generals by that count in the opener of the conference final last year, a series the Troops swept. Nick Paul scored at 15:40 of the third period ... The Battalion again was backed by a loud contingent of bused-in fans from the Gateway City, as well as many green-painted supporters of McIvor, who's from adjacent Whitby ... McIvor played his 50th career postseason game, tying Barclay Goodrow, whose parents were in attendance, for the franchise record ... Brenden Miller played a 45th playoff game, tied with Matt MacLeod for third place on the franchise list. Miller had a three-game assists streak ended, in which he had four helpers ... Opening lines included Paul centring left winger Bratina and Mike Amadio on right wing, Ryan Kujawinski pivoting Nick Moutrey on left wing and right winger Alex Henriksson and Ray Huether centring Brett McKenzie on left wing and right winger Mathew Santos. Poirier centred left winger Mike Baird and right winger Hampus Olsson ... Paul saw the end of a six-game points streak in which he scored four goals and added four assists for eight points ... Moutrey had a four-game scoring streak snapped. He had five goals in the run ... North Bay scratched Zach Shankar, Owen Green, David Sherman and Mark Shoemaker.

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