Monday, March 4, 2013

Ottawa 67s 2 at Brampton Battalion 4 - March 3, 2013

The Brampton Battalion have been playing in the OHL since 1998 but have never had much luck in drawing fans with so much hockey competition in the area, both of the professional and junior variety. With the 15-year lease in the Powerade Centre expiring after the 2013 season, owner Scott Abbott, who made his money inventing the Trivial Pursuit board game, finally had his chance to move the team. The city of North Bay was more than willing to upgrade their arena, and the Battalion will begin play there in September, 2013.

As such, this is their last month in Brampton and when I saw they had a home game against the Ottawa 67s on Sunday afternoon, I decided to pay a visit as it would be the only time I could see OHL action in Brampton.

Powerade Centre

Rather than review the arena, which is not going to be used in the OHL again, I'll just briefly describe the Battalion game day experience. The nickname of the rink is "The Bunker". The players skate onto the ice through an inflatable tank (below).

When they score, an air raid siren plays. Rather than the usual "Last minute of play in the period", the announcer says "One minute to ceasefire". The mascot is Sarge, a guy dressed like an army Sergeant. The club's uniform is olive green and has sergeant's stripes on each sleeve. Losing goalies are given 30 days in the stockade. OK, I made that last one up, but the Battalion take the military motif quite seriously and it works surprisingly well. I think they will keep the same traditions in North Bay so the fans there have something to look forward to.

The Game

Ottawa came in last in the league with just 15 wins in 61 contests, while Brampton was third in the Central Division with 65 points from the same number of games. The Battalion started Czech junior goalie Matej Machovsky (below) who was 5th in the league with a 2.60 GAA, nearly half that of 67s keeper Jacob Blair whose 4.98 mark was worst in the league.

The first period saw three power play goals, with Brampton scoring two of those on tip-ins. Ottawa's marker was netted by Sean Monahan (below), who is the OHL's top-ranked prospect and should be taken early in the first round of the upcoming draft.

The bigger story was a fight between two 27s named Brendan, Bell of Ottawa and Childerley of Brampton. Fights in junior are not that exciting because the players wear face shields, so the combatants rarely get in a good punch, but this one ended in a takedown for Bell (below), the only thing Ottawa would win today.

The second period saw the teams score once each, with Ottawa's coming on a great shorthanded play by Joseph Blandisi, who stole the puck and broke in alone, beating Machovsky with a perfect shot to the stick side. Early in the third, the Battalion's Nicholas Foglia tipped in yet another shot to restore the two-goal cushion and the rest of the game was a snoozer as Brampton won 4-2.


The Powerade Centre will be the home of a Central Hockey League expansion franchise next season, so I'll probably be back there before long. It will be interesting to see if it undergoes renovations before bringing in this slightly higher caliber of hockey. The seating bowl is quite nice, but they probably need to upgrade concessions and the concourse.

The Brampton Sports Hall of Fame is worth a look, you will find a few familiar names (mostly NHL players) among the inductees.

The coolest thing at the rink is the Card Box, a vending machine that sells old baseball, hockey, and football cards. I picked up a 50-cent 1992 O-Pee-Chee baseball set in the hopes of getting a Blue Jay from their first World Series and was lucky that Juan Guzman was included in the pack.

Next Up

My next scheduled event is the Malaysian Grand Prix in three weeks. Until then, I'll be taking it easy in Canada for a week and then returning to Singapore where I'll spend the summer touring Asia. Check back on occasion to see what's happening.



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