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RECAP | Steelheads comeback starts too late against Battalion

A four goal second period by the North Bay Battalion was too much for a late Steelheads comeback to overcome. Three point nights from Adam Varga, Thomas Harley and Keean Washkurak weren’t enough on a frustrating night for the Steelheads.

A closely contested first period between the two teams ended with the score knotted at one. There were new faces in new places up and down the lineup for the due to injuries to regulars; Cole Carter, Liam Ham, Nick McHugh and Ryan Wells. The new look line up looked good in the early going. Richard Whittaker excelled in his new first line duties and found himself with the best chance of the early going but his back-door one timer was parried onto the side of the net by Christian Purboo. The Trout would find a way through moments later, a seemingly harmless effort by Thomas Harley snuck past Purboo short-side. The helpers on the play were awarded to Nicholas Canade and Alan Lyszczarczyk. The lead lasted just over five minutes, Luke Burghardt would find an equalizer on a power play after Harley was penalized for Interference. The winger walked into the centre of the ice fired a slap shot past Ingham to tie the game at one. His night would end earlier than he expected just moments later, when he was assessed a match penalty for Slew Footing. The 5-minute power play would carry over to start the second period but yielded no goals.

James Richmond on the first period power play struggles, “Our power play wasn’t sharp, our power play was standing around, and wasn’t getting pucks to the net and when we don’t shoot the puck at the net we don’t score.”

It was in the second period that the wheels would come off for the Steelheads. A four goal period was set in motion by Brad Chenier goal five minutes and 35 seconds into the second frame. A well worked 3-on-2 ended with Justin Brazeau setting up Chenier for a tap-in at the back post. Ten minutes would pass before the next goal, Brandon Coe’s 16th was unassisted. Luke Moncada then added another to the North Bay lead, and with just 38 seconds left on the clock in the second Brad Chenier would grab his second of the night. After all was said and done the Battalion led 5-1. The second period would be the only frame on the night in which the Battalion outshot the Steelheads, doing so by a margin of 15-6. The four goal period would result in Jacob Ingham being replaced by Joe Ranger to start the third.

James Richmond on second period letdown, “the story of the game was we did not move our feet, guys that normally move their feet didn’t move their feet and we turned pucks over at the blueline.”

The Battalion offence did not relent to start the third, two further goals were scored by Matthew Struthers and Brandon Coe just 12 seconds apart. Struthers goal barely trickled past Joe Ranger and into the Steelheads goal. Coe’s goal came directly off the following face off at centre ice. A 5-on-3 with 12:02 remaining in the period jump started a comeback by the Trout. Resident North Bay expert Adam Varga scored his 5th goal of the season against the Battalion, after pounding home a rebound at the far post. Varga was involved again nine seconds later, this time he played provider setting up Keean Washkurak in the slot for a one timer. The centreman’s 16th goal of the season made the score 7-3. The Adam Varga show would have one more act, with 2:51 remaining, the winger would pounce on a puck in the slot and roofed it over Purboo’s right shoulder. The goal was Varga’s six point in as many games against the Battalion.

Adam Varga on his customary offensive explosion against the Battalion, “Everytime we play North Bay it’s just like Varga this is your night….so it’s really good to score a goal for the boys.”

Some notes from the game; Adam Varga recorded his first ever three-point game. Alan Lyszczarczyk extended his point streak to four games. Thomas Harley recorded his sixth three point game of the season, Keean Washkurak recorded his 13th multi-point game of the season.

The Steelheads will return to action Sunday afternoon for the season finale against the Barrie Colts. Fan Appreciation sponsored by TPH gets underway with a 2:00PM puck drop.

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