Michael McLeod picks himself up in North Bay's zone. He had two assists in his OHL return, but it was not enough in a 7-4 loss to the Battalion.

Battalion spoil Michael McLeod’s return to Steelheads

Captain's return from NHL training camp not enough for Mississauga against North Bay in a 7-4 loss

Mississauga Steelheads welcomed back a familiar face to the Hershey Centre on Sunday, but their captain’s return did not provide a welcome result.

After a disappointing 4-1 loss on Friday night to the Windsor Spitfires, the Steelheads could not bounce back even with Michael McLeod back in the starting lineup, fresh off his first stint with the New Jersey Devils in the NHL.

While the home side controlled the play for most of the game and outshot the North Bay Battalion, 38-16, they still lost their second contest in a row, this time 7-4.

“It was disappointing because we outplayed (them) in all aspects of the game – face-offs, shots, time in the offensive zone,” McLeod said, afterwards. “So I think we can at least take some positives from that.”

The 18-year-old captain has many personal positives to build off of in his return to the OHL from training camp with the Devils. He played significant minutes there and scored one goal in three games.

“It was great (playing for the Devils) and I got to play in arguably two of the best hockey buildings that exist in the Bell Centre (Montreal) and Madison Square Garden (New York) so I can’t complain,” the Mississauga native said. “I couldn’t believe how welcoming everyone was.

“Guys like (Mike) Camillieri and (Adam) Henrique know what they’re doing (and) it and it makes getting to the next level easier.”

McLeod and Steelheads teammate Nathan Bastian were cut from the Devils on Saturday and McLeod admitted there will be a bit of an adjustment getting used to the style of OHL again, but he said he’s got a lot of confidence coming back to Mississauga.

McLeod’s linemate against the Battalion, Owen Tippett, was happy to have him back and there seemed to be instant chemistry. Both forwards had a pair of assists.

“It’s definitely a huge confidence boost for the team to have (McLeod) and (Bastian) back,” Tippett said. “Just playing with (McLeod) today you can see how quick he is on the ice and how much better he’s gotten.

“It’s good to play with him because he’s fast and you can just get the puck to him and get open for him and know good things will happen.”

Steelheads head on the road for a tough rematch with the Windsor Spitfires on Thursday.

“Now that we have our full lineup back we’re looking forward to the future,” Tippett said.