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BRAMPTON, Ont. - The Brampton Battalion isn’t of a mindset to underestimate the host Kingston Frontenacs when the teams face off in Ontario Hockey League play at 7 p.m. Friday. But the Troops need some positive reinforcement from their own performance.
“We’re kind of in a funk right now,” said right winger Matt MacLeod. “We’re going to be looking to get out of that against the Frontenacs.”
Kingston, highly touted heading into the season, has a won-lost-extended record of 6-8-0 for 12 points, third in the East Division. The Troops, who have lost their last three games, including one in overtime, are 5-6-5 for 15 points, tied with the Sudbury Wolves for fourth place in the Central Division.
“They’re a good team and they’ve showed it this year,” left winger Brandon Robinson said of Kingston. “The only way to get out of this little slump that we’re in is to play the way we should be and not give them anything to build on.”
After sitting out five games with a hip flexor, Robinson rejoined the lineup for a 4-1 home-ice loss Sunday to the Sarnia Sting.
“It was nice to get into some action on Sunday,” noted Robinson. “Games are a lot different, but we’ve had three solid practices this week.”
Defenceman Zach Bell suggested the Battalion has to maintain belief in its resilience.
“We’ve been struggling with a few things lately,” said Bell. “We’ve got to stay positive and keep alive on the bench. It’s important to show our young forwards that, if we get down by a goal, it’s not something we can’t overcome.”
Added centre Nicholas Foglia: “We’ve been told by the coaches that we’re getting away from competing in all three zones. That’s what we need to bring back to our game on Friday.”
Defenceman Michael Moffat leads Kingston’s offensive production with one goal and 13 assists for 14 points in as many games. Centre Ryan Kujawinski has three goals and 10 assists for 13 points in 14 games but hasn’t scored in the last nine.
“They’ve got a couple of really skilled forwards, but I think it’s important that we expose their defence,” said Bell. “They’ve got a couple of offensive defencemen, but no one that’s really strong physically.
“We’ve got to intimidate them. We have some big guys like (Nick) Paul, (Barclay) Goodrow and MacLeod, so we can use that to our advantage against their younger guys. Then I think we’ll have success.”
In the teams’ first meeting, the Troops won 4-1 at home Oct. 4, handing the Frontenacs their first loss in four games out of the gate.
“They had a hot start, and we gassed it on them,” said Bell. “They’ve got longterm memories, so they’re going to come out hard at us.”
Said Foglia: “It’s important to set the tone for them early, especially on the road. We need to show them that we’re ready to get off the bus and be ready for puck drop.”
Noted MacLeod: “It’s tough getting off the bus after a three-hour trip. You always have a bit of bus legs when you get in there. We’ve got to find a way to shake that out of us early and play a good game.”
The game can be seen live in Brampton on Rogers Cable 10 and in Caledon and Orangeville on Rogers Cable 63.