Thursday Highlights: Troops turn back the clock in shootout win
NORTH BAY 4 – FLINT 3 – SO
The North Bay Battalion turned back the clock on Thursday, donning the black and gold of the North Bay Centennials to defeat the visiting Flint Firebirds 4-3 in a shootout. Swedish defenceman Adam Thilander played late game hero once again, scoring the shootout winner as the Troops climbed into sole possession of fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 24-21-6-1 record. Kyle Potts (9), Luke Burghardt (24) and Matthew Struthers (15) scored North Bay goals while Christian Propp made 25 saves and an additional two in the shootout. Garrett Forrest made 37 saves to help the Firebirds earn a point as they were outshot 40-28. Overage defenceman Jalen Smereck (7, 8) scored his second of the night to tie the game with 1.9 seconds left in the third period. Smereck also added an assist on a three-point night while C.J. Clarke (10) accounted for Flint’s other goal as the Firebirds fell to 16-30-3-1 and suffered their 10th straight road loss. North Bay Centennials scoring great Vitali Yachmenev was on hand to conduct the ceremonial pre-game faceoff at the Memorial Gardens.
SAULT STE. MARIE 4 – NIAGARA 3
The Soo Greyhounds jumped out to a 4-0 lead and managed to hang on for a 4-3 win in St. Catharines as a determined Niagara IceDogs club came up just short in their third period comeback bid. Philadelphia Flyers prospect Morgan Frost (31, 32) scored twice while Boris Katchouk (34) scored on a penalty shot and chipped in with two assists. 2018 NHL Draft prospect Barrett Hayton (18) also lit the lamp while fellow draft eligible Rasmus Sandin registered two assists. The Hounds win their seventh straight game and improve to 44-5-2-1 on the campaign. The Dogs charged back with three in the third off the sticks of William Lochead (3), Sam Miletic (28) and Kirill Maksimov (28). Matthew Villalta made 29 saves for the Greyhounds while Niagara’s Stephen Dhillon kicked aside 32 shots his way. Though they came close, the IceDogs suffered their fifth straight loss and fall to 26-18-4-3, four points back of first place Barrie in the Central Division.
GUELPH 4 – WINDSOR 3
The Windsor Spitfires fought back from down 3-1 to knot the score but St. Louis Blues prospect Alexey Toropchenko (10) netted the game winner with 3:53 left in the third period as the Guelph Storm skated to a 4-3 road win. Arizona Coyotes draftee Nate Schnarr (13) finished with a goal and two assists on the night while Liam Hawel (9) and James McEwan (11) also scored as the Storm improved to 26-21-1-3. Rookie forward Tag Bertuzzi recorded a pair of assists while Anthony Popovich made 27 saves, backstopping Guelph to victory despite being outshot 30-25. Luke Boka (12), Chris Playfair (5) and Jake Smith (15) all scored for Windsor as the Spits lost their seventh straight, falling to 23-24-2-2.
OWEN SOUND 6 – PETERBOROUGH 5
The Owen Sound Attack scored six goals on Thursday and 2018 NHL Draft prospect Aidan Dudas (24, 25, 26) had points on five of them. Dudas netted his first career hat-trick, helping the Bears claw back from a 4-2 deficit to take a 6-5 road win in Peterborough. Dudas and teammate Ethan Szypula (8, 9) scored five seconds apart in the third period to put the Attack in the lead for good. Szypula finished the night with two goals and two assists while Alan Lyszczarczyk (12) scored the eventual game winner with 7:37 left in the final frame. Petes captain Logan DeNoble (22, 23) scored his second of the night with 5:32 remaining to bring his club within a goal but that’s as close as they’d come. Pavel Gogolev (20), Nikita Korostelev (22) and Nick Robertson (8) also scored for the Petes as they suffered their 10th straight loss, falling to 18-28-3-3, five points back of eighth place Mississauga. Owen Sound has won five straight games, improving to 24-19-2-5 within one point of home ice advantage in the Western Conference.
BARRIE 5 – HAMILTON 1
The Barrie Colts prevailed in a morning battle of two Eastern Conference titans, taking a 5-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs before 11,565 students at FirstOntario Centre. Goaltender Leo Lazarev turned aside 37 of the 38 shots he faced as the Colts were powered by goals from Andrei Svechnikov (28, 29), Jaden Peca (10), Aaron Luchuk (40), Dmitry Sokolov (31). Luchuk becomes the OHL’s first 40-goal scorer of the season while Jason Willms picked up two assists on his 19th birthday. The Bulldogs outshot the Colts 38-28, getting their lone goal from Isaac Nurse (12). Barrie went 2-for-3 on the power play while managing to keep the Bulldogs off the power play for the entire game. The Colts have now taken wins in two of their three meetings with the Bulldogs this season. Barrie wins a third straight contest, improving to 30-18-2-1, nine points back of the first place Bulldogs in the Eastern Conference.