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WATERLOO, Ont. – Connor Jarvis scored two goals as the Brampton Battalion defeated the Kitchener Rangers 5-2 Sunday in the Troops’ Ontario Hockey League preseason opener.
Rookies Mike Amadio and Kyle Wood each had one goal and one assist, and Geoff Bezruchko also scored for the Battalion. Starting goaltender Jake Smith gave up one goal on 16 shots before being relieved by Lee Doherty at 10:42 of the second period. Doherty faced 12 shots.
Juraj Bezuch and Brandon Lesway scored for Kitchener, while goaltender Franky Palazzese made 31 saves before a crowd of 1,877 at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex.
“I think we’ll have a pretty good team,” said Stan Butler, Battalion director of hockey operations and head coach. “We have more skill than we’ve sometimes had, especially among our young guys.”
A youthful Battalion lineup put on a quick, high-energy display with six veterans given a rest after the team’s three-day training camp ended Saturday. Amadio was the Troops’ second-round pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection, while Wood was taken in the third round.
Lesway, using Spencer Abraham as a screen in front of Doherty, cut the Rangers’ deficit to 3-2 at 7:04 of the third period, but defenceman Wood responded at 16:10 and Jarvis connected at 18:20.
Jarvis opened the scoring at 9:09 of the first period, seven seconds after a Battalion power play ended. Jarvis, who collected his first OHL goal of any kind, wired a screened shot past Palazzese’s glove from the mid slot. Zach Bell retrieved the puck for Jarvis.
Amadio made it 2-0 with the man advantage at 13:28, redirecting a shot from Brennan Feasey in the left-wing circle. Brenden Miller drew the second assist as the Troops capped off a sequence of sustained pressure in the Kitchener zone.
Mathew Santos rang a shot off the crossbar behind Palazzese shortly thereafter before Bezuch pulled Kitchener within a goal at 18:54, jamming the puck home from the left lip of the crease after Matia Marcantuoni fed it from behind the net.
Bezruchko restored the Battalion’s two-goal lead at 15:07 of the second period. Amadio was foiled in alone on Palazzese, and Bezruchko corralled the rebound to the goaltender’s left and put the puck into the net.
Feasey and Brandon Robinson were off for hooking and tripping respectively, giving Kitchener a two-man advantage for 55 seconds starting in the ninth minute, but the Troops denied the Rangers. Bell, Wood and Nicholas Foglia did solid work before Jamie Lewis relieved Foglia.
Doherty made a sprawling left-arm save against Marcantuoni after he split the defence and broke in alone in the 17th minute.
Battalion scratches were Matej Machovsky, Dylan Blujus, Cameron Wind, Derek Froats, Blake Clarke, Barclay Goodrow and Matt MacLeod. Kitchener scratched John Gibson, Cory Genovese, Brett Clampitt, Tobias Rieder, Jesse Young, Ryan Murphy, Keli Grant and Matt Puempel.
The Battalion hosts Kitchener at 2 p.m. Monday in a return engagement.
BATTALION NOTEBOOK: The Battalion went 1-for-6 on the power play. Kitchener was 1-for-5 … The Rangers played at Waterloo because the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium is being expanded. The club is entering its 50th season since the Guelph Royals moved to Kitchener in 1963 … The game was the Rangers’ second and last home start of the preseason, after a 3-2 loss Friday night to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in a game decided in a seven-round shootout … Butler watched the game from the media tables while assistant coaches Ryan Oulahen and Jason Ward ran the Battalion bench … Jarvis played seven games in 2010-11 and 50 last season without scoring a goal. He had three assists … Palazzese went to his knees to deny Robinson in alone at 4:29 of the third period … Opening Battalion line combinations included Patrik Machac centring left winger Robinson and right winger Santos, Foglia centring left winger Nick Paul and right winger Mitch Amante and Lewis pivoting left winger Jarvis and right winger Matt Bragagnolo. Feasey centred left winger Bezruchko and Amadio on right wing … Defence pairings were Bell with Abraham, Miller with Mark Raycroft and Marcus McIvor with Wood … Bell wore the captain’s ‘C’ for the game, while Abraham, McIvor and Foglia served as alternates … Veteran goaltender Machovsky was given the day off … Smith, Raycroft, Wood, Santos, Paul, Bragagnolo and Amadio made their OHL debuts. Doherty’s previous OHL experience consists of one period of a preseason game last year with the Guelph Storm … Clarke, the Troops’ first-rounder in the OHL Priority Selection last April, sat out with a shoulder injury suffered in an intraquad game at training camp.