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Home Ice a Welcome Sight

March 25, 2019 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - North Bay Battalion News Release

NORTH BAY, Ont. - The North Bay Battalion and Niagara IceDogs meet at Memorial Gardens at 7 p.m. Tuesday in what's become a best-of-five first-round Ontario Hockey League playoff series.

The Battalion got goals from five players Saturday night at St. Catharines to win 5-2 and level the Eastern Conference quarterfinal at one game each, thus, in conventional parlance, stealing home-ice advantage. The second-place IceDogs took the opener 2-0 last Thursday night at the Meridian Centre.

The fourth game is to be played Thursday night at North Bay and the fifth Friday night at Niagara.

"I think our group, even after the first game, going into Game 2 (believed) that we can beat these guys, and I think we played a full 60 minutes in Game 2 and that's how we got the two points," Mitchell Russell, who scored the Battalion winner, said Monday.

Assistant coach Adam Dennis said the seventh-place Battalion, which suffered an 8-3 loss at home to Niagara in the schedule finale March 17, is moving in the right direction.

"We were able to go in and take one in Niagara. It's far from what we set out to do, but it's a good start, that's for sure. So I think our guys are starting to believe in it a little bit, and that's important.

"I think the guys have seen some of the things that they put to practice and they've got a little bit of success with it. Like I said, it's a long series. There's going to be adjustments along the way, so it's important that we continue to adjust with it."

Daniel Walker, Justin Brazeau, Mason Primeau, who had two assists, and Brad Chenier, with an empty-netter and an assist, were the other North Bay scorers.

"Any time it's been there we've been a pretty successful team and a tough team to play against, so it's going to be important to us," Dennis noted of secondary scoring. Brazeau, with a franchise-record 61 goals this season, is exempt from the "secondary scoring" characterization.

Niagara outshot the Troops 52-23 in the first game and 45-27 in the second, with goaltender Christian Propp making 93 saves while allowing four goals in the two meetings.

"We know Christian's capable of making the big saves, but we also know if we give him a lesser workload, some shots from the outside, he's more than capable of not only making a save but corralling a rebound and putting it into a spot that we want," said Dennis.

Credited with a league-leading 326 goals this season, Niagara is an offensive powerhouse, led by scoring champion Jason Robertson, the only OHL player to amass more points than Brazeau.

"They're the second-seed team for a reason, and they've got a lot of offence," said Primeau. "As long as we continue to play our game and continue to capitalize on our chances, I think we'll be okay."

Game 3 is set for Canadore College Recruitment Night. In addition, fans have been asked to "Wear White and Make Noise."


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