North Bay Battalion Go Up 1-0 in First Round

North Bay Battalion Go Up 1-0 in First Round
Photo/Article credit- North Bay Battalion

Ty Nelson and Justin Ertel each recorded one goal and one assist as the North Bay Battalion beat the Kingston Frontenacs 4-2 on Thursday night in Game 1 of the clubs’ best-of-seven Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Anthony Romani and Dalyn Wakely also scored and Sandis Vilmanis earned two assist for the Troops, who host Game 2 at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Goaltender Dom DiVincentiis faced 27 shots before a Memorial Gardens crowd of 3,042. DiVincentiis earned his 14th career playoff win, moving him past Thomas McCollum and into sole possession of second place on the club’s all-time list.

Jacob Battaglia and Quinton Burns scored for the Frontenacs, who got 23 saves from goaltender Mason Vaccari.

The Battalion had a 1-0 lead after a scrappy first period.

Romani opened the scoring at 10:18. Owen Van Steensel collected a long pass from Nelson and dropped the puck to Romani who blasted a shot that Vaccari kicked away with his right pad. Romani gathered his own rebound and slid the puck home from a sharp angle to the goaltender’s right for his first goal of the playoffs. Romani left the game after the goal and did not return.

The Troops held an 11-7 edge in shots. Ertel had two good close chances late after missing the top corner with Vaccari down in his crease in the 14th minute. The Frontenacs, who didn’t record a shot until midway through the frame, had their best chance on the power play when DiVincentiis denied Battaglia at the left post in the 17th minute.

Bronson Ride and Nathan Poole engaged in a brief fight out of a scrum at 6:34 that ended with Ride getting the takedown.

Battaglia tied the game 21 seconds into the second period as he drove the net and steered a Christopher Thibodeau feed through DiVincentiis’s pads.

Defenceman Nelson restored the Battalion’s lead at 5:47, 12 seconds after the expiration of a North Bay power-play when his low drive from the blueline beat a screened Vaccari. The goal, assisted by Wyatt Kennedy and Ertel, was Nelson’s first of the playoffs and marked his 37th career post-season point, tying him with Brenden Miller for fourth on the Troops’ all-time list.

Wakely made it 3-1 at 15:19, cruising across the goalmouth and steering a lofty pass from Paul Christopoulos past Vaccari for his first of the playoffs. Vilmanis earned the second assist.

Kingston outshot the Troops 12-5 with the bulk of their shots coming during a power-play late in the period.

The Frontenacs once again struck in the first minute of a period when Burns beat DiVincentiis high to the glove side at 41 seconds of the third.

The visitors had several excellent chances in the fifth minute. Jax Dubois’s shot off a left-wing rush hit the cross bar, prompting a brief video review, and DiVincentiis was called on to make good stops in close in succession on Battaglia and Thibodeau. Gage Heyes had a good chance off the left wing in the 12th minute and Ethan Midema missed an excellent opportunity from the left-wing circle in the 18th.

Vaccari went to the bench for a sixth skater with 1:52 left in the period. Ertel finished the scoring into an empty net at 18:53 with Vilmanis earning the lone assist on Ertel’s first goal of the postseason.

BATTALION BULLETS: The Battalion has won 19 of 39 playoff series in its history, including 10 of 17 since relocation to North Bay from Brampton in 2013. In 205 playoff games, the Troops have a won-lost record of 96-109, including 52-50 in home dates. As North Bay, the club is 49-43 in postseason games, having gone 28-18 at home … The Battalion is 24-16 in the opening game of a playoff series, including 16-4 at home. The Troops are 8-2 in series openers at North Bay … Both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play … Opening lines saw Wakely centering left winger Van Steensel and right winger Romani, Liam Arnsby centering left winger Ertel and right winger Vilmanis, and Ethan Procyszyn pivoting left winger Brice Cooke and right winger Jacob Therrien. Left winger Ihnat Pazii and right winger Lirim Amidovski had various linemates … Therrien spent much of the game skating in Romani’s place with Wakely and Van Steensel … Defence pairs were Kennedy with Nelson, Tnias Mathurin with Christopoulos, and Ride with Jacob LeBlanc. Trevor McDowell also saw action … The Battalion scratched Brayden Turley, Nolan Laird, Andrew LeBlanc and Stef Forgione … LeBlanc lost a third straight game to a forearm injury … Kingston’s missing were Vann Williamson, Adam Cavallin and Xander Velliaris … Drew Jackson and Brendan Kane were the referees.

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