Brantford Bulldogs overcame an early two-goal deficit to defeat the North Bay Battalion 5-4 in overtime on Friday, October 27, 2023.
The Battalion jumped out to an early lead when they capitalized on a neutral zone turnover, leading to a breakaway for C Dalyn Wakely. Wakely was stopped on the initial shot but buried his own rebound past Bulldogs G David Egorov for a 1-0 lead just 34 seconds into the game.
North Bay continued to go on the attack for the next several minutes, outskating and outworking the Bulldogs in their own zone, leading to several quality scoring chances over the opening eight minutes. Brantford finally found their offence in the back half of the opening frame, getting some offensive zone time but didn’t record many shots on goal. With just under seven minutes remaining, the Bulldogs had their best chance of the period when Marek Vanacker came in off the rush but couldn’t control the puck.
The Bulldogs continued their offensive zone pressure through the late stages of the period, leading to their first powerplay. Brantford spent the entire two minutes in the Battalion zone but couldn’t capitalize to tie things at one. The Battalion responded 40 seconds later when RW Jacob Therrien came in off the rush, cut to the slot and beat Egorov low stick-side to give the visitors a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Battalion got a great chance to increase their lead one minute into the second period whenC Liam Arnsby took a stretch pass for a partial break but was stopped by Egorov. That was the only chance the Battalion had as the Bulldogs took it to them for the rest of the period. Vanacker got a breakaway 25 seconds later but shot wide of the net, keeping the Dogs off the scoreboard. Brantford finally scored two minutes later, after 90 seconds of offensive zone pressure, when LW Luca Testa ripped a slap shot past Battalion goalie Charlie Robertson.
Brantford continued to attack, tying things at two when LW Florian Xhekaj tapped the puck out of mid-air and into the back of the net for the equalizer. North Bay immediately called a timeout after allowing two goals in the opening 4:30 but to no avail as the Bulldogs continued to push the pace. Brantford controlled the pace and intensity of the game and were aggressive and very strong in the offensive zone.
The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game eight seconds after their second man advantage ended when Patrick Thomas made a great pass from behind the net to RW Nick Lardis who buried it past Robertson, giving the home team a 3-2 lead. Brantford then tightened up defensively to hold off the Battalion attack in the final few minutes as they took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
Brantford started the final frame on the powerplay for just over a minute and took a two-goal lead 47 seconds later when Thomas broke down the wing, drove hard to the net and lifted the puck past Robertson for a 4-2 lead. The Battalion bounced back, responding with puck pressure to keep the Bulldogs hemmed in their own zone after going down by two. North Bay got back within one less than five minutes later after an offensive zone faceoff.
The Battalion continued to press throughout the middle stages of the third period but Egorov stood strong, making several key saves but with just over four minutes remaining, they scored the equalizer as the Bulldogs blew a two-goal lead in the final frame to force overtime.
In the extra period, both teams came out slowly over the first minute then the Bulldogs went on the attack. After Dogs D Jorian Donovan gained the blueline, he dropped the puck to Vanacker who made some nice moves around the defence and Robertson to score the game winning goal, giving the Bulldogs the 5-4 victory.