Battalion Down Hounds

Battalion Down Hounds
Photo and Article Credit - North Bay Battalion 

 Sandis Vilmanis scored at 14:45 of the third period to break a tie and propel the North Bay Battalion to a 6-3 victory over the Soo Greyhounds in a momentum-swapping Ontario Hockey League game Saturday night.

Anthony Romani had one goal and two assists and Andrew LeBlanc and Dalyn Wakely one goal and one assist apiece, while Tnias Mathurin and Owen Van Steensel also scored and goaltender Dom DiVincentiis provided 27 saves.

The Battalion, which got three assists from Justin Ertel, improved its won-lost-extended record to 20-14-6 for 46 points and second place in the Central Division, one point behind the Sudbury Wolves, who lost 11-7 to the host Windsor Spitfires.

Romani regained the OHL scoring lead with a team-high 35 goals and 32 assists for 67 points in 40 games.

Brodie McConnell-Barker, Brady Martin and Justin Cloutier scored for Soo as goaltender Charlie Schenkel gave up five goals on 33 shots, with Wakely’s goal an empty-netter, before 3,750 at GFL Memorial Gardens. Soo, which defeated the visiting Guelph Storm 4-2 Friday night, is 26-12-3 for 55 points atop the West Division.

The hosts, who trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes, took the lead on goals by Martin at 2:44 and Cloutier at 4:30 of the third period, then received a two-man advantage for 1:50 after Ty Nelson went off for interference and Ertel for high-sticking in the seventh minute. Liam Arnsby, Paul Christopoulos and Mathurin, with DiVincentiis, did yeoman work killing the entire double disadvantage.

LeBlanc tied it 3-3 at 10:22, converting from the left wing on assists by Ertel and twin brother Jacob LeBlanc. It was the 10th goal for Andrew LeBlanc and his first since a trade a week earlier from the Sarnia Sting.

Vilmanis, acquired in the same trade, broke through to the net on an odd-man rush and deked Schenkel, beating the goaltender to the forehand for an 11th goal on the season and his first point with the Troops. Ertel and Arnsby assisted.

Van Steensel struck to the short side from deep on the left wing for his 19th goal just 25 seconds later at 15:10, assisted by Romani, and Wakely backhanded the disc into the empty net at 18:15. Romani had the lone assist on Wakely’s 19th goal.

After the teams, each of which dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen, battled to a 1-1 tie through 20 minutes, Mathurin scored on a lob from the left point that beat Schenkel past his glove on the short side at 15:13 of the middle frame. Ethan Procyszyn and Andrew LeBlanc, with his first point since joining the Troops, assisted on defenceman Mathurin’s second goal.

Romani opened the scoring on the power play at 1:44 of the first period. Ertel drove to the net for an initial shot before Romani arrived to convert the rebound. Wakely also assisted.

Defenceman McConnell-Barker collected his second goal at 18:55, getting open on the right side for a pass from deep on the left wing from Christopher Brown.

The Battalion thoroughly dominated the period, outshooting Soo 12-6. The Troops led 10-0 on the shots counter before penalty killer Justin DeZoete was credited with a shot on an icing attempt in the 13th minute.

The Battalion plays host to the Erie Otters at 7 p.m. Thursday on Bell Let’s Talk Night.

Photo and Article Credit- North Bay Battalion

BATTALION BULLETS: The teams completed their season series, with the Battalion going 3-1-0 … Romani, who has scored in the last seven games, has a 17-game points streak in which he has 17 goals and as many assists for 34 points … Wakely has a nine-game points streak during which he has seven goals and seven assists for 14 points … Van Steensel is on an eight-game points streak in which he has four goals and five assists for nine points … The Battalion went 1-for-3 on the power play. Soo was 0-for-4 … Opening lines saw Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Romani, Arnsby centring left winger Ertel and right winger Vilmanis and Procyszyn pivoting left winger Andrew LeBlanc and right winger Jacob Therrien. Left winger Ihnat Pazii and right winger Brice Cooke had various linemates … Defence pairs had Bronson Ride with Nelson, Mathurin with Jacob LeBlanc and Wyatt Kennedy with Christopoulos, while Trevor McDowell also saw action … The Battalion scratched Brayden Turley, Nolan Laird, Stef Forgione and Lirim Amidovski … Ride was to turn 19 Sunday, while Mathurin prepared for his 20th birthday Monday … In recent days, Soo added DeZoete from Guelph, Jacob Frasca from the Barrie Colts and Gavin Hayes from the Flint Firebirds while sending Brenden Sirizzotti to Barrie and Connor Clattenburg and Alex Kostov to Flint … Soo’s Owen Allard turned 20 … Danny Emerson and Jesse Wilmot were the referees.

Photo and Article Credit - North Bay Battalion

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