Eight days after failing to beat the London Knights, the Brampton Battalion did the next best thing. Overage centre Tyler Harrison scored two goals and Daren Machesney made 43 saves last night as the Battalion beat the Owen Sound Attack 6-3 in an Ontario Hockey League game before 3,332 at the Brampton Centre. It was just the 13th loss of the season for the Attack, which has 81 points, second in the OHL to the Knights' 104.
"It's definitely a confidence booster," said Battalion winger Luch Aquino, who had a goal and an assist. "If the guys had any doubt before, we know now we can beat these teams. We have a great opportunity here (in the wide-open Eastern Conference) and I think it's in a lot of guys' heads."
Brampton tied a franchise record with its 20th home win in one season, and there were a few mitigating factors. Aside from Machesney, the line of Ryan Oulahen between Aquino and Dan McDonald was crucial. The Attack boasts two of the league's explosive performers in Brad Richardson, who leads the OHL with 40 goals, and Bobby Ryan, a highly touted prospect for the next NHL entry draft. But neither managed a point, thanks to the checking of the Oulahen trio.
Oulahen, Nick Duff and Michael Vernace also scored for Brampton. With 68 points, the Battalion is in second place in the Eastern Conference, two behind the Peterborough Petes, but is in first in the Central Division.
Patrick Jarrett had a hat trick for the Attack.
Machesney and his partner in the Battalion net, Kevin Couture, both have put up good numbers this season, but coach Stan Butler is not ready to say who will start in the playoffs. Brampton has nine games left in the regular season.
"We'll let those guys sort it out," Butler said. "I'll make the decision when it is made for me, and so far it has not been."
The Battalion is forecasting a club record for attendance this season. With four regular-season home games left, the Battalion projects a final approximate attendance of 88,500 for an average of 2,600 a game. The team's best average is 2,417, set in the 1998-99 season.
The start time of its next home game, tomorrow against Ottawa, has been changed to 3:30 p.m. for television purposes.