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OSHAWA, Ont. – While the Brampton Battalion lost 7-4 Sunday night to the Oshawa Generals as September wound down, the game was one that will long be remembered by a number of the Troops.
Blake Clarke and Mathew Santos each scored his first Ontario Hockey League goal, and Mike Amadio earned his first OHL point with an assist. Goaltender Jake Smith, meanwhile, saw his first league action after relieving Matej Machovsky.
“Having the young guys scoring is important for this team,” said coach Stan Butler. “When our young guys start putting the puck in the net, we’re going to be successful.
“At the same time, overall play away from the puck has to get better. It’s great to score goals but, if we’re also letting them in, they cancel each other out.”
Oshawa jumped to a 3-0 lead by the 8:52 mark of the first period, prompting Butler both to call a timeout and to put Smith into the crease in place of Machovsky, who made 21 saves in a 1-0 win Friday night over the visiting Belleville Bulls.
Barclay Goodrow scored two power-play goals, one in the first period and the other at 3:08 of the second, before Clarke tied it 3-3 with the man advantage at 10:35 of the middle frame. Spencer Abraham and Amadio had the assists.
The Generals then scored four straight goals in the third period, the first on a power play at 1:17 with Dylan Blujus serving a roughing penalty.
“Any time that you battle back from a three-goal deficit and can go into the third period with a chance to win, you’re going to feel good about the team,” said Butler.
“It’s disappointing to do what we did but then allow them to dictate the game in the third period and not have the response we needed to win the hockey game.”
Santos, assisted by Clarke, completed the scoring on a slap shot from above the right-wing circle at 15:23.
Smith was stellar in the first and second periods before allowing the four goals on seven third-period shots.
He covered up on a dangerous drive through the crease by Lucas Lessio with Oshawa on the power play at 17:06 of the first period and was up to the task during a two-man disadvantage lasting 50 seconds after Goodrow went off for crosschecking on the play.
Smith made two outstanding saves late in the second period, getting his glove on a blast from the slot by Lessio in the 17th minute and sprawling to his right to get his blocker arm to the ice to deny Boone Jenner a wraparound attempt in the 18th even as the Generals started celebrating.
“I thought he had a really good second period,” Butler said of Smith. “He kept us in the game and gave us the chance we needed to tie it up.
“In the third period, a couple of goals beat him five-hole. I’m sure he’d love to have those back, because at this level of hockey you can’t let those in.”
Butler said he liked what he saw of the Battalion’s man-advantage squads, which produced three of the team’s four goals.
“I think our power play is going to be fine. Both units scored, which is really encouraging, and we scored three different ways, which gives us a different look as well.”