Troops Down 'Dogs 5-2
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - The North Bay Battalion headed home with the split it wanted.
Mason Primeau scored one goal and added two assists to power the Battalion to a 5-2 victory Saturday night over the Niagara IceDogs, evening the teams' first-round Ontario Hockey League playoff series at a game apiece.
The third game in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal is scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday at North Bay, with the Battalion also playing host to Game 4 on Thursday night.
Brad Chenier scored into an empty net and added an assist for the seventh-place Troops, who got their other goals from Daniel Walker, Justin Brazeau and Mitchell Russell. Walker, Russell and Primeau all scored their first OHL playoff goals, while goaltender Christian Propp, who made 50 saves in a 2-0 loss in the opener Thursday night, again was outstanding, producing 43 saves.
Akil Thomas and Ben Jones scored for second-place Niagara. Goaltender Stephen Dhillon faced 26 shots before a Meridian Centre crowd of 5,478.
"A goal and two assists is a pretty good night, but the bigger picture is we're going home now tied 1-1," said Primeau.
"We came out pretty strong. The shots were tied after the first period. That's the start we wanted. We know Niagara is a good first-period team. Propp has been instrumental to our success thus far, and when he's on he's really, really good. He's been playing really well."
After Niagara scored two quick goals to tie the game 2-2 early in the second period, Russell scored the winner off a rush at 8:20, beating Dhillon low to the glove side from the right-wing circle. Primeau and Theo Calvas earned assists.
The Battalion, which failed to capitalize on a hooking call to Ivan Lodnia at 8:54, struck 14 seconds after the penalty expired when Primeau took a feed from Harrison Caines in a puck battle in the mid slot and drilled the disc past Dhillon from the right circle. Calvas also assisted.
Propp faced 22 shots in the frame. Jason Robertson had several chances, including late in the period with the IceDogs on the power play when he was denied by Propp at the lip of the crease. The goaltender also foiled Jones's attempt at the rebound.
The IceDogs, who exerted heavy pressure early in the third period, thought they had scored at 11:06 when Jones jammed the puck under Propp, but referee Sean Reid declared he had blown his whistle before the rubber crossed the goal line.
Dhillon went to the bench for a sixth skater with 3:36 to play, but Niagara couldn't connect before Chenier, who missed with a shot from the left wing, chased the puck down and circled the net to tuck it home at the right post at 17:37.
Propp made 11 saves in the frame, including a close-range chance for Philip Tomasino in the second minute. Propp also parried threats from Robertson and Bradey Johnson.
North Bay built a 2-0 first-period lead, striking for goals 57 seconds apart, with Walker opening the scoring at 8:41 when he cruised into the mid slot and put a backhander between Dhillon's pads. Luke Moncada and Nick King earned assists.
Brazeau then stripped Jacob Paquette of the puck, spun in the slot and whipped a drive that beat Dhillon low to the stick side. Assists went to Chenier and Primeau.
Thomas replied at 2:06 of the second period when he snapped the puck from the right circle past the blocker of Propp, who was screened by Tomasino cruising across the goalmouth. Jones tied it 2:58 later, redirecting Matt Brassard's right-point drive from the slot.
BATTALION BULLETS: The Battalion has an all-time won-lost record of 13-20 in the second game of a playoff series, including 5-8 on the road. The Troops' last Game 2 win came on April 12, 2015, when they defeated the host Barrie Colts 3-2 in a conference semifinal ... The assists for Moncada and Caines were their first OHL playoff points. Calvas's two assists were his first postseason points with North Bay ... Walker also scored the Battalion's first goal of the regular season, in a 7-5 home-ice win over the Hamilton Bulldogs. He had six goals in total ... The Battalion went 0-for-1 on the power play. Niagara was 0-for-2 ... Opening line combinations included Mattthew Struthers centring left winger Chenier and right winger Brazeau, Primeau pivoting left winger Luke Burghardt and right winger Russell and Moncada centring left winger Walker and right winger Brandon Coe. Cameron Peters skated between left winger Caines and right winger Patrick Brown ... The Battalion was without Pacey Schlueting, Travis Mailhot and Kurtis Evans ... Burghardt, who left the game early, returned from a two-game suspension for a slew-footing match penalty in a 7-4 victory March 15 over the host Mississauga Steelheads ... Battalion defenceman Simon Rose marked his 18th birthday ... Again among the missing for Niagara were Kirill Maksimov and Kyen Sopa ... Ryan Harrison was the other referee.
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Ontario Hockey League Stories from March 23, 2019
- Troops Down 'Dogs 5-2 - North Bay Battalion
- Steelheads Fall in Game Two Overtime 3-2 - Mississauga Steelheads
- Sting Fall in 0-2 Hole - Sarnia Sting
- Spirit Score Three Power Play Goals in 5-1 Win over Sting - Saginaw Spirit
- IceDogs Fall 5-2 to Battalion in Game Two - Niagara IceDogs
- Attack Can't Complete Comeback, Soo Tie Series 1-1 - Owen Sound Attack
- Playoff Game 2 Preview: Guelph Storm vs. Kitchener Rangers - Guelph Storm
- Game Two Preview: Spirit Leaders Sort out Rocky Start to Game One, Look to Take 2-0 Series Lead - Saginaw Spirit
- Knights Take Game One over Spitfires - London Knights
- Bulldogs Drop Game 1 of the Playoffs in Ottawa - Hamilton Bulldogs
- Generals Put Seven Past Petes in Game One - Peterborough Petes
- Steelheads Fall to Wolves in Game One - Mississauga Steelheads
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