BRAMPTON, Ont. – The Brampton Battalion will have left winger Brandon Robinson back in the lineup when it hosts the Sarnia Sting in Ontario Hockey League action at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Robinson has sat out the last five games with a hip flexor, but coach Stan Butler declared him fit to return after practice Saturday. Robinson, the Troops’ first-round pick in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection, has three assists in 10 games.
Brennan Feasey, who was recalled from the Chatham Maroons and played left wing in a 2-1 overtime loss Thursday night to the host Barrie Colts and in a 5-1 road setback Friday night to the Mississauga Steelheads, has been reassigned to junior B.
The Battalion, which fell behind 3-0 in the first period at Mississauga, must rebound to fare well against Sarnia, which has a won-lost-extended record of 6-6-1 for 13 points, fourth in the West Division.
“I told the guys today that, when we play the way we can, we’re a good team,” said Butler. “But what we have to do is reach a level of consistency.”
Goaltender Matej Machovsky surrendered the three first-period goals on 12 shots before settling down and contributing several big saves. He made a good right-pad stop on a Dyan DeMelo shot from the blue line in the first frame and stoned Kristoff Kontos with the same pad from close range midway in the third.
“It wasn’t really a 5-1 game,” noted Butler, who said Jake Smith will get the start in goal against Sarnia. “(Assistants) Ryan (Oulahen) and Jason (Ward), who’ve watched a lot of video, said it wasn’t that bad.”
Sarnia, which was to visit the Erie Otters on Saturday night, boasts the third-ranked power-play and penalty-killing performances in the league. Alex Galchenyuk paces the offence with seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 13 games, while fellow centre Charles Sarault has five goals and eight assists for 13 points in as many games.
“We’re going to have to play our best, because they’re a good team with a lot of skilled players who can put the puck in the net,” said Battalion captain Barclay Goodrow.
Galchenyuk, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection from the Chicago Young Americans under-16s, registered 31 goals and 52 assists for 83 points in 68 games as a rookie in 2010-11. After a knee injury limited him to two regular-season games last year, he was selected third overall by the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens in the 2012 NHL Draft.
The defence pair of Zach Bell and Cameron Wind figures to be given the task of opposing Galchenyuk.
“I know he’s a fast skater and he’s got really quick hands,” said Bell. “Wind and I are kind of used to playing against that type of player after matching up against guys like Michael Sgarbossa and Christian Thomas last year.
“We know what it’s like, and we’re not going to do anything different: lots of pokechecks, big sticks and blocked shots the way we always do.”
Said Goodrow of Galchenyuk: “Obviously he’s a good player, going third overall in the NHL Draft. We have to check him hard, be aware when he’s on the ice and take away his space so he doesn’t have time to work his magic.”
At Mississauga, the Troops, 5-5-5 for 15 points, fourth in the Central Division, suffered their first regulation-time loss in six games, a span in which they went 3-1-2.
“There weren’t too many positives to take from that game,” said Dylan Blujus, who scored his first goal of the season. “It’s obviously nice to get that goal and get the monkey off my back, but it was a tough loss for us.”
Sunday is BMO Ultimate Fan Appreciation Day at the Powerade Centre, in which one Battalion fan will be made eligible to win a trip for two to the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament at Saskatoon.