Four Goals in the third Sting the Battalion

Four Goals in the third Sting the Battalion
Photo/article credit- North Bay Battalion

Zach Filak scored two of four third-period goals, including the winner, that propelled the Sarnia Sting to a 6-5 comeback victory over the North Bay Battalion in Ontario Hockey League action Sunday.

Tyson Doucette had one goal and two assists and Marko Sikic and Carter Kostuch each contributed one goal and one assist for Sarnia, with Sean Doherty also scoring before 4,374 at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena.

Goaltender Nick Surzycia made 27 saves for Sarnia, which has a won-lost-extended record of 23-30-4 for 50 points, fourth in the West Division. The Sting, which dressed 17 skaters, one below the limit, had lost its previous four games since a 3-2 overtime win Feb. 10 over the visiting Guelph Storm.

Justin Ertel scored one goal and assisted on two others for North Bay, which got one goal and one assist from each of Dalyn Wakely and Owen Van Steensel. Brice Cooke and Ethan Procyszyn provided a goal apiece, while goaltender Mike McIvor made 22 saves.

The Battalion, which plays host to Sarnia on Thursday night to complete a home-and-home series, is 30-19-8 for 68 points, second in the Central Division. The Troops are 12-5-2 in their last 19 games.

The Battalion wrapped up a road trip of three games in as many days, after defeating the Saginaw Spirit 6-3 Friday night and the Flint Firebirds 3-2 Saturday night. Sandis Vilmanis, acquired from Sarnia in a Jan. 6 trade, scored three goals against Saginaw and the winner at Flint.

Ertel scored his 23rd goal of the season on the power play at 1:31 of the final period, assisted by Anthony Romani and Wakely, to give the Battalion a 4-2 lead, but Sikic answered with his 15th goal with the man advantage 45 seconds later.

Filak chipped the puck high into the net off an odd-man rush at 9:47, and Kostuch scored with a deflection off Ertel at 11:26 to put Sarnia ahead 5-4. It was Kostuch’s seventh goal and his fifth in 20 games since joining the Sting from the Troops.

Filak one-timed the puck home from the right circle on the power play for his 19th goal, what proved to be the winner, assisted by Doucette and Lukas Fischer at 13:18.

With McIvor on the bench, the Battalion pulled within a goal at 18:07 when Van Steensel jammed the puck behind Surzycia on assists by Vilmanis and Jacob LeBlanc, also acquired in the January trade. Mitch Young went off for crosschecking at 19:32, but the Troops, skating six against four, failed to find the equalizer.

Cooke opened the scoring at 3:06 of the first period, tipping a left-point lob by Trevor McDowell. Ertel also assisted on Cooke’s 12th goal.

Wakely scored at 4:28 after Andrew LeBlanc did yeoman work on the end boards and fed the puck to the goalmouth for a quick conversion. Ertel had the other assist on Wakely’s 30th goal.

Doucette replied with his team-leading 20th goal off a two-on-one rush at 13:01, assisted by Kostuch and Sikic, before Procyszyn struck on the power play at 19:00, taking a feed in the slot from Van Steensel and spinning to put the puck inside the right post. LeBlanc had the second assist.

Doherty netted his sixth goal at 8:19 of the middle period, beating McIvor to the glove side off a two-on-one rush.

The rematch at 7 p.m. Thursday falls on Hockey Fights Cancer Night presented by Scotiabank.

BATTALION BULLETS: The game was the first between the teams since the trade that saw the Battalion acquire Vilmanis and the LeBlanc twins for Kostuch, Alex Cajkovic and six OHL Priority Selection picks. Cajkovic suffered a dislocated knee in a 6-2 loss Feb. 7 to the host Owen Sound Attack and is done for the season … The Battalion’s last win over Sarnia was a 3-2 road decision Dec. 1, 2017, in the second of two games that season. The Troops are 0-5-2 since then … The Battalion now has faced all 19 opponents at least once … Van Steensel has a nine-game points streak in which he has eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points … The Troops overnighted at Saginaw on Thursday and Friday before heading to Sarnia for Saturday night … Each team went 2-for-5 on the power play … Opening lines had Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Romani, Liam Arnsby pivoting left winger Ertel and right winger Vilmanis and Procyszyn centring left winger Andrew LeBlanc and right winger Cooke. Left winger Ihnat Pazii and right winger Lirim Amidovski had various linemates … Defence pairs were Wyatt Kennedy with Ty Nelson, Tnias Mathurin with Paul Christopoulos and Bronson Ride with Jacob LeBlanc. McDowell was the seventh rearguard … The Battalion was without Jacob Therrien, Brayden Turley, Nolan Laird and Stef Forgione … Therrien served the fourth game of a five-game suspension for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a 5-3 home-ice loss to Saginaw on Feb. 18.

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