Battalion inching closer to first place in OHL Central Division

Battalion inching closer to first place in OHL Central Division
photo/article credit-North Bay Battalion

Dalyn Wakely scored two goals and Ethan Procyszyn and Andrew LeBlanc each provided one goal and two assists Sunday, pacing the North Bay Battalion to a 9-3 pasting of the Niagara IceDogs and closer to first place in the Ontario Hockey League’s Central Division.

Justin Ertel and Jacob Therrien had one goal and one assist apiece and Sandis Vilmanis, Owen Van Steensel and Trevor McDowell also scored for North Bay, which moved its won-lost-extended record to 32-19-8 for 72 points, second in the division, two points behind the idle Sudbury Wolves with each team having nine games to play.

Goaltender Mike McIvor made 21 saves before a Memorial Gardens crowd of 3,368.

Ryan Roobroeck had one goal and one assist and Gavin Bryant and Ethan Czata a goal each for Niagara, while goaltender Charlie Robertson faced 45 shots.

Niagara, 16-36-7 for 39 points, last in the division and Eastern Conference, has lost its last six games, being outscored 43-9.

Wakely struck first at 9:02 of the opening period, pulling the puck back and then tucking it around Robertson. Lirim Amidovski and Ihnat Pazii had assists.

Vilmanis scored on the power play at 14:37 when he dashed down the left wing around Urban Podrekar and put the puck to the goalmouth, where it deflected off a defender. Ty Nelson had the lone assist on Vilmanis’s 29th goal of the season, his 19th in 21 games since a multiplayer trade Jan. 6 from the Sarnia Sting.

Nelson has 52 career power-play assists, tied with John Hughes for the fifth-most in franchise history.

Procyszyn connected at 6:15 of the middle period, one-timing the puck from the left circle for his 14th goal on an assist by LeBlanc. Just before the scoring play, Therrien kept the puck in the zone on the blue line as the Troops exerted sustained pressure.

LeBlanc banged a wraparound off Robertson’s left leg at 9:13 on assists by Therrien and Procyszyn. It was LeBlanc’s 15th goal, his sixth in 21 games since arriving from Sarnia.

Kevin He took a double minor for a high stick on Jacob LeBlanc at 10:39, and the Battalion exacted a price on both. Wakely netted his 34th goal on a pass from Ertel, snapping the puck to the far left post at 12:15 with Anthony Romani drawing the second assist, and Van Steensel put home a rebound off the end boards at 13:25, on assists by the LeBlanc twins.

Bryant took a diagonal pass from He and converted from the right side at 16:43, and Roobroeck struck on a breakaway 54 seconds later before Ertel scored off a right-wing faceoff, assisted by Liam Arnsby, at 19:31. It was Ertel’s 24th goal.

Therrien swept home a rebound for his 19th goal at 7:12 of the third period, and defenceman McDowell scored his first OHL goal unassisted at 13:00, beating Robertson high to the glove side. Czata completed the scoring at 19:10 off the left wing.

The Battalion plays host to the Windsor Spitfires at 7 p.m. Thursday on Canadore College Recruitment Night.

BATTALION BULLETS: On North Bay FIRST Robotics Day, representatives provided information on volunteering opportunities and a “coding robot” activity. FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology … The teams completed their season series, with the Battalion going 4-2-0 … The IceDogs had unexpected rest when their Saturday night visit to the Barrie Colts was postponed after maintenance staff drilled into ice-making infrastructure at the Sadlon Arena … In 191 games, Wakely has 84 goals and 86 assists for 170 points, tied with Kyle Jackson for 16th place in franchise history … In 179 games, Romani has 78 goals and 74 assists for 152 points, one more than Kurt MacSweyn and 21st in franchise annals … Van Steensel has an 11-game points streak in which he has 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points … The Battalion went 3-for-6 on the power play. Niagara was 0-for-6 … The Troops looked to two 20th birthdays, for Dom DiVincentiis on Monday and Wakely on Tuesday … Opening lines included Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Romani, Arnsby pivoting left winger Ertel and right winger Vilmanis and Procyszyn centring left winger Andrew LeBlanc and right winger Therrien. Brice Cooke centred left winger Pazii and right winger Amidovski … The Battalion was without Tnias Mathurin, Nolan Laird, Bronson Ride and Stef Forgione … Therrien returned from a five-game suspension.

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