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BRAMPTON, Ont. – The Brampton Battalion scored three unanswered goals Sunday to defeat the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3-1, earning coach Stan Butler his 500th Ontario Hockey League victory.
Sam Carrick, Marcus McIvor and Jamie Lewis scored for the Battalion, which moved its won-lost-extended record to 32-19-9 for 73 points. The Troops jumped past the idle Barrie Colts into second place in the Central Division and third place in the Eastern Conference.
Goaltender Matej Machovsky faced 24 shots before a crowd of 2,345.
“It’s special in the sense that I’ve had a lot of good players contribute for me to get there,” said Butler, who was acknowledged as the first star of the game for the milestone win. “The good part is to do it at home. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but my 1,000th game and 500th win were both 3-1 scores at home.”
Said Butler: “The neat thing for our guys today and for me was to win the game basically playing Battalion-style hockey. That’s the type of game we have to win. That’s a big strong team. We’re a little outmanned right now, but our kids had a gutsy effort. McIvor scores his first goal of the year, Lewis gets a big goal and Machovsky was really good in net today. It was just a real combination of everything.”
Said McIvor: “Our battle level was really good today. We came out and we played as a team. We were all battling and all competing, and that’s Battalion-style hockey. When we’re playing our style of hockey, we can beat any team in this league.”
The game threatened to get ugly as the overheated Greyhounds sought to respond to a clean check by Cameron Wind that laid out Dylan Staples in the first period but, after some nonsense in the rest of the frame, the second and third periods were penalty-free.
Ryan Sproul scored for Sault Ste. Marie, while goaltender Matt Murray made 28 saves. The Greyhounds are 24-30-6 for 54 points, fifth in the West Division and ninth in the Western Conference after the Guelph Storm downed the visiting Kitchener Rangers 6-3 to move a point ahead in the fight for the final conference playoff berth.
McIvor scored his second career OHL goal at 5:47 of the second period, breaking a 1-1 tie with a wrister from the right point. Defenceman McIvor released the shot after taking an Ian Watters pass from deep on the right wing.
“The game was starting to shift a little bit in their way, but once we got that goal it seemed like the momentum started to shift for us,” noted McIvor. “For me, it’s like the monkey’s off the back now, so I’m relieved.”
Lewis split the defence to take a breakaway pass from Connor Jarvis and beat Murray by tucking the puck inside the right post at 4:46 of the third period.
“Jarvis gave me a great pass, and fortunately I put it in,” said Lewis, who collected his fifth goal. “It was a huge confidence-booster for me, and I’m happy I was able to help us push our lead further.”
Sproul opened the scoring on the power play at 13:15 of the first period, rifling the puck into the open left side of the net from the top of the left circle after taking a pass from Brett Findlay. It was the 17th goal for Sproul, tied with Dougie Hamilton of the Niagara IceDogs for the OHL lead among defencemen.
Carrick replied 1:07 later, converting a backhand pass by Brett Mackie. Mackie threw the pass from below the goal line into the slot to Carrick for his team-leading 33rd goal.
Wind connected with a solid check on Staples at 8:55 of the period, with Staples rendered motionless. After sitting up, he lay back down and eventually was taken off the ice on a stretcher. He was reported to be heading home with the team after a trip to hospital.
“I was more concerned over the condition of Staples, but I knew I was going to have to fight eventually,” said Wind. “There was no doubt about it.”
With Sault Ste. Marie blatantly seeking retribution for the check, Mark Petaccio and Wind dropped the gloves at 16:14, with Wind earning the decision on the number of punches thrown.
The Battalion, which dressed 19, one below the limit, scratched Spencer Abraham, Philip Lane, Derek Froats, Barclay Goodrow and Alex O’Neil. Sault Ste. Marie was without Colin Miller, Gregory Jambrosich, Cody Mintz, Alex Morgan and David Elsner.
The Battalion visits the Windsor Spitfires at 7:05 p.m. Thursday.
BATTALION NOTEBOOK: Butler is the seventh coach in OHL history to reach 500 wins. In 1,076 games with the Oshawa Generals and Battalion, Butler has a won-lost-tied record of 500-511-65. He was 70-49-13 with Oshawa and is 430-462-52 with the Battalion since the club’s inception. Butler is second in wins among active coaches to George Burnett of the Belleville Bulls, 511-489-51 in 1,051 games … Carson Dubchak baited Wind at 10:03 of the first period, taking a crosschecking call and misconduct … The Battalion went 0-for-3 on the power play. Sault Ste. Marie was 1-for-2 … The Troops have a won-lost-extended log of 18-11-2 at home. The Greyhounds, who beat the host Erie Otters 6-3 Friday night, are 11-17-3 on the road … The Battalion went 5-6-0 in February … Carrick extended a points streak to eight games, with seven goals and four assists for 11 points in the run. He played his 246th game, passing Jay Harrison for fifth place on the club’s career list. Carrick is ninth in all-time Battalion scoring with 80 goals and 80 assists for 160 points … Opening line combinations featured Carrick centring left winger Brandon Robinson and Mackie on right wing, Patrik Machac pivoting left winger Watters and right winger Matt MacLeod and Mitchell Porowski centring Jarvis on left wing and Lewis on right wing. Left winger Geoff Bezruchko and right winger Andreas Tsogkas had various centres, primarily Porowski … Goodrow, who marked his 19th birthday, completed a three-game suspension for a check from behind on Michael Sgarbossa of the visiting Sudbury Wolves in a 5-4 overtime win Feb. 19 … The Battalion avenged a 7-2 loss Nov. 18 at Sault Ste. Marie in the teams’ other meeting of the season.