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SUDBURY, Ont. – The Brampton Battalion is set to complete a three-game northwestern road trip against the Sudbury Wolves at 2 p.m. Sunday while licking its wounds after a fourth straight away loss.
The Battalion fell 7-2 to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Friday night in an Ontario Hockey League game that the Troops, and coach Stan Butler, would like to delete from the memory bank.
“The biggest thing you do is forget this game tonight,” Butler said in the aftermath of the defeat. “We’ve just got to go over some things and make sure we’re ready to go, physically and mentally, Sunday.”
Despite the loss, which dropped the Battalion’s won-lost-extended record to 12-7-3 for 27 points, the Troops remained in first place in the Central Division by virtue of Sudbury’s simultaneous 4-3 win over the visiting Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, 11-8-4 for 26 points.
The Majors’ westbound bus passed that of the eastbound Battalion on Highway 17 on Saturday, as Mississauga plays Sunday night at Sault Ste. Marie. The Troops play their fourth of five consecutive road games at Mississauga at 11 a.m. Wednesday as part of a schools promotion.
The Greyhounds jumped out to a 3-0 lead by 11:38 of the first period, chasing starter Keegan Wilson from the Battalion net before he returned after Matej Machovsky surrendered a further two goals by 7:46 of the middle frame. But Butler didn’t place all the blame on the goaltenders, noting that the defence left them in jeopardy too often.
“It was a combination of both. On the first goal, Marcus McIvor got beat to the outside, and Keegan was holding the post and didn’t come out.”
The result was Corey Durocher’s 10th goal of the season and the start of the onslaught that saw the Troops give up a season-high goals total. The previous high was five, in a 5-3 loss Sept. 29 to the visiting Kingston Frontenacs and a 5-2 home-ice setback Oct. 20 to the Saginaw Spirit.
The Battalion outshot the Greyhounds 28-20 but, for a second consecutive game, got nothing but a goal from each of Brett Mackie and Barclay Goodrow. They had the Troops’ tallies in a 3-2 loss via shootout at Saginaw on Thursday night. Goodrow has a five-game scoring streak in which he’s registered six goals for a team-leading total of nine.
The only Battalion players on the positive side of the plus-minus ledger at Sault Ste. Marie were Mitchell Porowski, who had two assists, Goodrow, Zach Bell and Matt MacLeod, all at plus one. MacLeod left the game early after being crosschecked by Darnell Nurse after Mackie’s goal, which cut the deficit to 3-1 at 12:10 of the opening period.
Brandon Robinson was hit hard in the second period, heading to the dressing room in the 19th minute, but returned to play.
The game Sunday can be seen live in Brampton on Rogers Cable 10 and in Bolton, Caledon and Orangeville on Rogers Cable 63.