PLYMOUTH – Ian Watters scored the only goal in a shootout and veteran goaltender Cody St. Jacques stopped all three Plymouth shooters as the Brampton Battalion defeated the Plymouth Whalers, 3-2 in a shootout, in an Ontario Hockey League game played Friday night before 2,206 at Compuware Arena.
Plymouth is now 24-18-1-2, good for 51 points and fifth place in the OHL’s Western Conference. Brampton improves to 20-18-0-6, good for 46 points and fifth place in the OHL’s Eastern Conference.
Ironically, Plymouth defeated Brampton, 3-2 in a shootout, on Nov. 4 at the Powerade Centre in Brampton.
Tyler Brown (17) and Jamie Devane (6) scored for Plymouth, who built a 2-0 lead half-way through the second period. Brampton came back to tie on a second period goal by Barclay Goodrow (15) and the equalizer in the third period by Stephon Thorne (10).
Plymouth rookie goaltender Matt Mahalak played his best game as a Whaler, stopping 37-of-39 Brampton shots through 65 minutes as the game’s second star. St. Jacques – a veteran OHL goaltender of over 100 games with Guelph, Sault Ste. Marie and now Brampton – stopped 24-of-26 shots and all three shots in the shootout to raise his record this season to 7-6-0-0. In all, Brampton outshot Plymouth, 40-26.
Brown gave Plymouth an early 1-0 lead at 0:28 of the first period, accepting Alex Aleardi pass as center, skating hard to the left circle in the Brampton zone and beating St. Jacques with a rising shot, top shelf.
Brampton had a territorial edge the rest of the period, outshooting Plymouth, 17-3. The Whalers penalty killers and particularly Mahalak were sharp in the first frame.
Plymouth played better defensively in the second period, not allowing the Battalion a shot until the seven minute mark of the period. Devane gave Plymouth a 2-0 lead at 11:32, converting on a scramble on the right wing side of the Brampton goal after defenseman Dario Trutmann pinched in the right corner and fed the puck to the side of the goal.
The Battalion cut the Plymouth lead to 2-1 on a power play at 12:38 of the period. Goodrow – in front of a screened Mahalak – tipped Jordan Auld’s point shot into the net.
Brampton tied the game at 2-2 at 5:58 of the third period. Battalion defenseman Dylan Blujus pinched in from the point to the left-wing half-wall and fed the puck to the hashmarks, where Thorne scored on a re-direct.
The Whalers had a 4-0 shots-on-goal advantage in the overtime, but the game remained tied at 2-2 until the shootout. Watters scored the only goal of the shootout, skating hard to the hashmarks. As he cut to his left, he appeared to juggle the puck for a second, but regained control and snapped it home.
Plymouth remains at home on Saturday night, hosting Erie at 7:05 pm. Tickets for all Plymouth Whalers games are available by calling (734) 453-8400.