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 »  Home  »  Sports & Leisure  »  Defence the Cornerstone of Battalion's Success
Defence the Cornerstone of Battalion's Success
By Brampton Battalion | Published  04/23/2010 | Sports & Leisure | Rating:
Brampton Battalion
The Brampton Battalion are a junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League.  Battalion Headquarters: Brampton Battalion Hockey Club, 7575 Kennedy Rd. South, Brampton, Ontario L6W 4T2 Phone: (905) 874-2393 Email: info@battalionhockey.com.  Brampton native Stuart McComish has served as the Battalion's website co-ordinator since Februrary 2000.  Visit the Brampton Battalion for more information. 

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Brampton - The defence never rested for the Brampton Battalion in 2009-10.

The lowest-scoring team in the Ontario Hockey League, the Battalion rode outstanding goaltending from Patrick Killeen and stingy team defence to a won-lost-extended record of 25-29-14 for 64 points, third in the Central Division.

Widely given little hope of success after losing so many key components from their 2008-09 Eastern Conference championship roster, the Troops finished fifth in the conference and ousted the fourth-place Kingston Frontenacs in seven games in a first-round playoff series. The Battalion was swept in the second round by the Barrie Colts, who boasted the OHL’s best regular-season record.

“The reason we got as far as we did in the playoffs was our team defence,” said coach Stan Butler. “Beginning with the goaltending and moving out, it was really second to none. I was proud of how hard the guys competed on a nightly basis. To their credit, you couldn’t fault their work ethic most nights. It was pretty consistent throughout the season.”

The Battalion scored 167 goals while allowing 181, second-fewest in the league to the 175 given up by the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors.

The defence corps was led by Matt Clark and overagers Ken Peroff and Brad Albert and augmented by Ben Alavie, Kyle Pereira and Cameron Wind, as well as rookie Zach Bell.

Peroff, who led Battalion rearguards in scoring with five goals and 26 assists for 31 points in 65 games, was voted the conference’s most underrated player in the OHL Coaches Poll.

Clark, voted the best defensive defenceman and best body checker by conference coaches, has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks. He was a second-round choice in the NHL Entry Draft last June.

As integral as Peroff and Clark were to the success of the Troops, Butler said, too little attention was paid to Albert, a fourth-round pick in the 2006 OHL Priority Selection.

“Our top three defencemen, Albert, Peroff and Clark, were great. Everybody knows how good Clark and Peroff are, but people need to understand how underrated Albert was. I saw it every night from behind the bench. He didn’t do anything flashy, couldn’t break a pane of glass with his shot, but he’s the type of guy who gives you an extremely good effort every game.”

Killeen started all but five games in his fourth season. He compiled a record of 23-25-13 with five shutouts, a 2.42 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. He led OHL goaltenders in games and minutes played before handling the crease duties throughout 11 playoff games.

A fifth-round choice in 2006, Killeen set single-season club marks for shutouts, games played by a goaltender and starts. He set a club record with eight career shutouts and is second on the Battalion’s career list in games, starts, wins and minutes played.

Selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the sixth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, he has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the club.

“Patrick had a great season, and he was rewarded with a contract from the Penguins,” said Butler. “It’s hard being a goalie on a team like ours where there wasn’t much room for error. He was always in a situation where we were in a one-goal game where one mistake could kill us.”

Butler said Killeen learned plenty while apprenticing for three seasons under Bryan Pitton and Thomas McCollum.

“Patrick knew this season would be his and we were going to allow him to run with it. I don’t know if he was ready to be that guy last season. But he gained that experience he needed to do a great job for us this season.”

Killeen was backed up by rookie Jacob Riley, a seventh-round pick in the OHL Priority Selection last May. In 10 games, Riley went 2-4-1 with one shutout and a 2.56 goals-against average.

“Jacob played pretty well when he was called upon. He’s a really focused kid with a great work ethic. He reminds me a lot of McCollum in his demeanour and personality. Jacob needs a good summer in the gym to get bigger and stronger. He’s a very good goalie technically and, like a lot of young goalies, he needs to learn how to handle the puck, but I’m sure that will come as he gets older.”

Butler said he wasn’t sure to what degree Riley will fill, in the near term, the hole left by Killeen’s graduation.

“We like Jacob, but we’ll have to see whether he’s ready to play the bulk of the games next season. Very few 17-year-old goalies can grab the ball and run with it. We’re looking at pursuing some older goalies at different levels, and we’ll see how that goes.”

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