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BRAMPTON, Ont. – Alex Galchenyuk scored one goal and added two assists to pace the Sarnia Sting to a 4-1 Ontario Hockey League victory Sunday over the Brampton Battalion.
Reid Boucher contributed one goal and one assist, while Nickolas Latta and Brett Hargrave, the latter into an empty net, also scored. Goaltender Brodie Barrick made 30 saves as the Sting moved its won-lost-extended record to 8-6-1 for 17 points, tied with the Plymouth Whalers and Windsor Spitfires for second place in the West Division.
Blake Clarke scored the Battalion goal, while goaltender Jake Smith made 11 saves for the Troops, 5-6-5 for 15 points, before a crowd of 1,838. The Battalion is tied for fourth place in the Central Division with the Sudbury Wolves, who lost 3-2 via shootout to the host Mississauga Steelheads.
“Our inability to score goals bit us again,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler. “We got ourselves in a hole early but, after the first two goals, I felt we took over the game. We had numerous chances but we just couldn’t finish.”
Latta scored at 10:21 of the first period on Sarnia’s first shot. Bryan Moore worked the puck off the mesh behind the net and fed it to Nikolay Goldobin in the right-wing corner. He found Latta loose on the left side for a one-timer that beat an outstretched Smith.
Boucher scored what proved to be the winner on the power play at 11:34. Alex Basso spotted Boucher in the mid slot, and he put home a quick conversion 22 seconds into a tripping penalty to Dylan Blujus.
“I’m sure the second goal is one Smith would like to have back,” said Butler. “It was a tough game for him, because we didn’t give up too many shots.”
A dump-in attempt almost gave the Troops the opening goal in the fourth minute, when the puck took a strange bounce in the left-wing corner. As Barrick went behind the net to play the puck, it deflected off a stanchion and through the empty slot in front of the net.
Patrik Machac had the Battalion’s best scoring chance in the period when he tipped a Barclay Goodrow pass. The puck glanced into the chest of Barrick, who didn’t allow a rebound.
Clarke connected with the man advantage at 13:43 of the middle frame. Machac passed the puck from the right-wing boards to Clarke, who redirected it into the bottom left corner. Brenden Miller had the second assist.
Machac almost scored two minutes into the period when, after getting the puck in the slot, he fired a wrist shot off the left post.
Goodrow had a breakaway in the final minute of the period, taking a lead pass from Zach Bell and splitting the defence, but he failed to sneak a backhander behind Barrick.
“There were some things we did today that I liked,” said Butler. “Clarke scored again, which is good. Goodrow is getting chances too, and we got Brandon Robinson back today. We need our key guys like Robinson and Matt MacLeod to chip in and start scoring some goals.”
Bell and Justice Dundas fought at 9:20, with Bell biding his time before unleashing a powerful right that staggered Dundas and knocked off his visor.
Galchenyuk scored on a partial breakaway from the right wing at 11:41 of the third period. Boucher flipped the puck in the air, with the Battalion’s Cameron Wind trying to knock it down. The disc went to Galchenyuk, who snapped it low to Smith’s blocker side.
“Wind tried to glove it down but slowed it down for a guy who, if the lockout weren’t on, would probably be in the National Hockey League,” noted Butler. “It’s pretty tough for Smith when the first shot he sees in the third period is a breakaway from one of the better players in the league.”
Hargrave scored his first OHL goal into the empty net at 19:22.
The Battalion scratched Derek Froats. Sarnia scratches were Joshua Chapman, Davis Brown, Craig Hottot, Alexandre Renaud and Daniel Nikandrov.
The Battalion visits the Kingston Frontenacs at 7 p.m. Friday.
BATTALION NOTEBOOK: Wayne Taylor was declared the winner of the Battalion’s BMO Ultimate Fan contest after being the quickest of three finalists to answer trivia questions about the club. He earned an autographed Battalion sweater with a BMO Ultimate Fan crest, a $50 prepaid MasterCard and the chance to win a trip for two to the 2013 Memorial Cup tournament at Saskatoon. “I wasn’t expecting to win, but it’s awesome to win it,” said Taylor, a season ticketholder since 2001. “It’s nice to see that we have some hardcore fans in Brampton who love this team.” Other finalists in the trivia event conducted at the Troops’ bench were Hafeez Khaliq and Jamie O’Malley … Girl Guides of Canada members Holly Domingo and Erin Morris, as well as provincial commissioner Marcia Powers-Dunlop, conducted a ceremonial faceoff between captains Goodrow and Galchenyuk. Girl Guides sold cookies at tables in the concourse … The Battalion went 1-for-4 on the power play. Sarnia was 1-for-3 … Clarke has a six-game points streak during which he has scored three goals and earned five assists for eight points … Wind played his 242nd game with the Troops, tying Adam Henrich for seventh place on the club’s career list … Opening line combinations included Machac centring left winger Robinson and right winger Goodrow, Jamie Lewis pivoting left winger Clarke and right winger MacLeod and Nicholas Foglia centring left winger Connor Jarvis and right winger Brendan Childerley. Mike Amadio centred left winger Nick Paul and right winger Mathew Santos … Froats missed a third straight game with an injured wrist. … Left winger Alex Carnevale played his first game with Sarnia after being acquired in a Saturday trade with the Belleville Bulls.