Oshawa Generals seize 3-0 lead

Oshawa Generals seize 3-0 lead
Photo/article credit- North Bay Battalion

Calum Ritchie scored two goals and assisted on another to lead the Oshawa Generals to a 5-2 Ontario Hockey League victory Monday night over the North Bay Battalion, giving the Generals a commanding 3-0 lead in games in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Championship Series.

Stuart Rolofs, Connor Lockhart and Beckett Sennecke each had one goal and one assist for top-seeded Oshawa, which can win the series in Game 4, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Gardens.

Goaltender Jacob Oster made 39 saves before a sellout crowd of 4,200, which was audibly angered throughout the game with the performance of referees Jason Faist and Mac Nichol.

Owen Van Steensel and Sandis Vilmanis scored for second-seeded North Bay, while goaltender Mike McIvor provided 26 saves.

Trailing 4-1 after 40 minutes, the Battalion pulled closer at 2:12 of the third period when Vilmanis one-timed a setup from Dalyn Wakely at the left hash marks. Ty Nelson also assisted on Vilmanis’s seventh goal of the playoffs.

Ritchie replied 1:37 later, taking a pass from Lockhart on the end boards and sweeping the puck past McIvor. Rolofs also assisted on Ritchie’s sixth goal. With 14 assists for 20 points in 13 games, Ritchie leads OHL playoff scorers.

Banished to the box to the end, the Troops saw Van Steensel issued a blindsiding major and game misconduct for a hit on the collapsible Lockhart at 18:38 and Bronson Ride assessed a crosschecking call at 19:41.

The teams battled to a 1-1 tie through 20 minutes before Oshawa scored three second-period goals to gain the upper hand, sparked by Rolofs at 3:01. He took a pass from Ritchie and fired the puck from the left boards before it glanced off Ride’s skate in the goalmouth. It was Rolofs’s fifth goal.

Van Steensel had a would-be power-play goal disallowed at 4:41. It survived a lengthy video review for offside before Oshawa challenged for goaltender interference. It was ruled that Wakely made incidental contact with Oster, although it probably helped him more than hurt him in an effort to make a save.

“The explanation was that our player made contact with the goaltender and that he could not play the puck,” said Battalion coach Ryan Oulahen.

Pressed on the issue of officiating, Oulahen declined to comment.

“I’m not going to talk about referees or anything like that. I mean, it’s not going to do me any good. We’re just going to be ready to play a heck of a hockey game on Wednesday.”

Lockhart wired the puck through a heavy screen from high on the right side for a man-advantage goal at 7:49, with Luca D’Amato and Rasmus Kumpulainen assisting on Lockhart’s fourth goal.

Sennecke scored his eighth goal on an unassisted drive between defenders at 9:39, slipping a backhander behind McIvor, before the Battalion’s Brice Cooke received a crosschecking major and game misconduct at 10:53.

Van Steensel opened the scoring on the power play at 2:33 of the first period. Off a left-wing faceoff, the puck went to the net front, where several players tried to control it before Van Steensel spun and beat Oster to the glove side. Van Steensel’s unassisted fifth goal came five seconds into the man advantage.

Ritchie tied it at 18:36, five seconds after an Oshawa power play expired and with a delayed penalty pending against the Troops. Sennecke and Dylan Roobroeck had the assists as Ritchie snapped his fifth goal from the inner edge of the left circle.

BATTALION BULLETS: In 45 playoff games, Van Steensel has 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points,11th in franchise history. His 13 goals are tied with Luch Aquino and Mathew Santos for 10th all-time … In 45 postseason games, Wakely has 18 goals and 12 assists for 30 points, tied with Aquino and Kyle McDonald for 12th place in franchise annals … In 39 playoff games, Liam Arnsby, who drew an unsportsmanlike conduct call for an ostensible dive, has 66 penalty minutes, two more than Ben Thomson and the most in franchise history. Justin Ertel took a slashing minor and, in 32 games, has 45 PiM, one more than Sam Carrick and Mathew Santos and 10th all-time … Wakely, Van Steensel, Nelson and Paul Christopoulos each played a 45th playoff game, tying Matt MacLeod for 10th place in franchise history … The Battalion went 1-for-2 on the power play. Oshawa was 1-for-5 … Opening lines featured Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Vilmanis, Arnsby pivoting left winger Ertel and right winger Jacob Therrien and Ethan Procyszyn centring left winger Andrew LeBlanc and right winger Cooke. Dylan Richter centred left winger Ihnat Pazii and right winger Lirim Amidovski … The Battalion scratched Dom DiVincentiis, Brayden Turley, Trevor McDowell, Anthony Romani, Nolan Laird and Stef Forgione, who marked his 19th birthday … Sennecke has an eight-game points streak in which he has five goals and eight assists for 13 points.

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