Brampton - Sam Carrick figured he’d played his last Ontario Hockey League game against older brother Jake.
Sam, an 18-year-old centre in his third season with the Brampton Battalion, last squared off against Jake, an overage right winger then playing for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, on Oct. 14 when the Troops won 5-1 at home. Jake was scratched in the rematch, at Sault Ste. Marie on Nov. 19, when the Greyhounds won 3-2 via shootout to complete the teams’ two-game season series.
“I’ve only played against him three times in the OHL,” the younger Carrick said Wednesday as the Battalion prepared to visit the Windsor Spitfires, who acquired Jake at the Jan. 10 trade deadline, at 7:05 p.m. Thursday. “There was always something up with the other games. Either he was hurt or I was injured.”
The Battalion hosts Windsor on Feb. 6 to finish their two-game season set.
“I thought I’d seen the last of him,” said Sam. “Now we have two more games against each other.”
The elder Carrick has made an immediate impact with Windsor, registering three goals and five assists for eight points in three games, playing with import forwards Tom Kuhnhackl of Germany and Alexander Khokhlachev of Russia.
“He’s playing on a good line, and they’ve developed some good chemistry,” said the younger Carrick. “That happens a lot when a guy goes to a new team. He often plays well right away.
“Jake’s always been a gritty guy. I think that’s why the Spitfires picked him up. He can bring some physicality to that team. He’s comfortable in that role, and they won’t mind the offence he can bring, too.”
Windsor, which has won two consecutive OHL championships and Memorial Cup titles, added a number of players before the deadline, including high-scoring forward Taylor Carnevale from the Barrie Colts and veteran goaltender John Cullen from the Sarnia Sting.
“We really have to be ready for them,” said the Battalion’s Carrick. “This will be a great test for our guys, both offensively and defensively. We’ll have our work cut out for us, but I think it’ll be fun.”
The game is the second of three in a row against Western Conference teams.
The Battalion, which lost 4-1 to the visiting Owen Sound Attack last Sunday, has a won-lost-extended record of 4-9-2 against opponents from the other side. The Troops visit the Plymouth Whalers at 7:05 p.m. Friday before hosting the Sudbury Wolves, a Central Division rival, at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Windsor and Plymouth are tied in the conference standings, each with 50 points. The Whalers won 3-2 via shootout at Brampton on Nov. 4.
“Games against teams from the other conference are always tough,” said Carrick. “The Spitfires have a ton of experience, especially a guy like Ryan Ellis, who has won two Memorial Cups and played for Canada in three World Junior tournaments. He’s a guy we’re going to have to try to shut down.
“We have to be the type of team that’s tough to play against. We forecheck hard, we backcheck hard and we try not to give up any easy chances. I think our offence can be underrated, too.”
Carrick is one of five players who were on the Battalion roster that lost the 2009 OHL Championship Series to Windsor in five games. The Troops, who won one of three playoff meetings at the WFCU Centre, dropped their first regular-season game there, 2-1 via shootout, last Jan. 21.
“It’s a great atmosphere in that rink,” noted Carrick. “The fans are passionate, and they get really loud. It’s going to be exciting for all of us, especially the young guys who haven’t been there before. You don’t know what it’s like until you step on the ice and hear the crowd. It gets your adrenaline going.”
The Battalion is 19-18-5 for 43 points, third in the division and sixth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the Kingston Frontenacs and 11 ahead of Sudbury.
“The season has really flown by. We have to start treating every game like a playoff game. Any points we can get will be huge down the road.”
The game at Windsor can be seen live in Brampton on Rogers Cable 10 and in Bolton, Caledon and Orangeville on Rogers Cable 63.