Battalion forces Game 7

Battalion forces Game 7
Photo/Article credit- North Bay Battalion

The Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Championship Series is going the distance.

Owen Van Steensel scored two goals and added two assists to lead the North Bay Battalion to an 8-1 victory Sunday over the Oshawa Generals, tying the best-of-seven set at 3-3 in games. Game 7 is scheduled at 7:05 p.m. Monday at Oshawa.

Sandis Vilmanis had one goal and two assists and Dalyn Wakely one goal and one assist. Brice Cooke, Liam Arnsby, Justin Ertel and Jacob Therrien provided a goal apiece for second-seeded North Bay, while goaltender Mike McIvor made 35 saves in a stellar performance before a sellout crowd of 4,204 at Memorial Gardens.

Latvian import Vilmanis assumed sole possession of first place in the playoff scoring race with 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points in 15 games.

The Battalion, which trailed the series 3-0 before posting three consecutive wins, one in overtime and one in double overtime, erupted for four unanswered first-period goals and led 6-1 after two periods.

The Troops were without Anthony Romani, who played the previous two games after incurring a lower-body injury in the team’s first game of the playoffs, a 4-2 home-ice victory March 28 over the Kingston Frontenacs. Romani left Game 5, a 5-4 double-overtime win Friday night at Oshawa, in the third period.

Ben Danford scored for top-seeded Oshawa, which was without Connor Punnett for a third straight game. Starting goaltender Jacob Oster surrendered five goals on 17 shots before being replaced by Noah Bender, who gave up three goals on another 17 shots.

Wakely ignited the first-period outburst 43 seconds after the opening faceoff, shoveling the puck past Oster high to the glove side after Ethan Procyszyn and Van Stenseel worked it from the left wing to the slot. It was Wakely’s league-leading 13th playoff goal.

Vilmanis struck on the power play at 12:00, gathering the rebound of a right-point drive by Van Steensel and putting it home on the forehand. Ty Nelson also assisted on the goal, which was Vilmanis’s fourth game-winner, tied with Luch Aquino and Nick Paul for fourth-most in franchise history.

Cooke connected at 13:30 off an Oshawa turnover, ripping the puck past Oster, who was screened by Luca Marrelli, from the top of the left circle for a third postseason goal.

Van Steensel, moving down the left side, slipped past Lucas Rodriguez and beat Oster with a backhander at 18:22. Wakely had the lone assist.

Arnsby scored at 7:50 of the middle period after Tnias Mathurin kept the puck in at the blue. He fired the disc ahead to Vilmanis, who dished it to the left to Arnsby for a shot that trickled under Oster, ending his game. It was Arnsby’s second goal.

Van Steensel converted on the power play at 16:40, drilling the puck off the crossbar and down behind Bender from the right faceoff dot. Jacob LeBlanc and Vilmanis assisted on Van Steensel’s seventh goal.

Defenceman Danford scored off the right wing on a slow-developing rush at 19:18 for his third goal.

Ertel intercepted a clearing pass at the Oshawa blue line and broke in alone on Bender, beating him to the glove side at 11:19 of the third period for an eighth playoff goal, and Therrien completed the scoring at 16:12, sweeping the puck around the goaltender after it emerged from the left corner off a turnover. It was Therrien’s third goal.

The North Bay-Oshawa winner will face the London Knights in the OHL Championship Series. London defeated the host Saginaw Spirit 4-2 Sunday to win the Western Conference final four games to two.

The game at Oshawa can be seen live in North Bay on YourTV Channels 12 and 700.

BATTALION BULLETS: Former Battalion captain Marcus McIvor made a pregame appearance on the ice, waving a 7th Man flag and exhorting the crowd to cheer the Troops … The Battalion has an all-time won-lost record of 8-8 in the sixth game of a playoff series … In 48 postseason games, Van Steensel has 15 goals and 21 assists for 36 points, one more than Barclay Goodrow and Wakely and sixth in franchise history. Van Steensel’s 15 goals are tied with Matt Duchene for ninth all-time, and the 21 assists rank sixth … In 48 games, Wakely has 19 goals and 16 assists for 35 points. His 19 goals are tied with Wojtek Wolski and Paul for fourth place … Vilmanis’s 26 points are 16th in franchise annals … In 35 games, Ertel has nine goals and 16 assists for 25 points, tied with Evgeny Grachev for 17th place all-time … Arnsby, in 42 games, has nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points, 23rd in franchise history … Wakely, Van Steensel, Nelson and Paul Christopoulos all played a 48th postseason game, tied with Brett McKenzie for eighth all-time … The Battalion went 2-for-3 on the power play. Oshawa was 0-for-2 … Opening lines featured Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Procyszyn, Arnsby centring left winger Ertel and right winger Vilmanis and Cooke pivoting left winger Andrew LeBlanc and right winger Therrien. Dylan Richter centred left winger Ihnat Pazii and right winger Lirim Amidovski … Battalion scratches included Dom DiVincentiis, Brayden Turley, Trevor McDowell, Nolan Laird and Stef Forgione.

Hello Awesome People!

It looks like you are using Ad Blocker. We can understand that you don't like to see the ads frequently. But please try to understand that our business survive on the ads. Main source of revenue is Ads, please support us by disabling ad blocker.

Thank you for visiting Report North Bay!