Heartbreak in Oshawa

Heartbreak in Oshawa
Article/photo credit- North Bay Battalion

Oshawa stalls Troops charge

The North Bay Battalion’s charge back into the Ontario Hockey League’s third-round playoff series came up short Monday night.

Dylan Roobroeck scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Oshawa Generals to a 6-1 victory in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Championship Series for the Bobby Orr Trophy, advancing Oshawa to the OHL final against the London Knights.

David Bedkowski, Rasmus Kumpulainen, Connor Lockhart and Ethan Toms had single goals for the top-seeded Generals, champions of the East Division.

Goaltender Jacob Oster contributed 24 saves in rebounding from a bad showing Sunday at North Bay, when he allowed five goals on 17 shots before being pulled from an eventual 8-1 loss.

Connor Punnett, who missed three games after suffering a lower-body injury in Game 3, a 5-2 road win April 29, returned to the Oshawa lineup but saw extremely limited ice, while Beckett Sennecke was scratched for the first time in the postseason.

Jacob LeBlanc scored for second-seeded North Bay, which fell behind 3-0 in games before reeling off three consecutive wins to knot the best-of-seven set. Rookie goaltender Mike McIvor stopped 27 of 31 shots, with Roobroeck and Toms both scoring into an empty net before a crowd of 5,694 at the Tribute Communities Centre.

The Battalion again was without Anthony Romani, who saw action in only three playoff games, including Games 4 and 5 of the Oshawa series, after suffering a high-ankle sprain March 28 in the opener of a first-round series against the Kingston Frontenacs.

Having trailed 3-0 through 40 minutes, the Battalion gave up a fourth goal, to Roobroeck at 2:08 of the third period, to blunt hopes of a comeback. Roobroeck converted a Ben Danforth pass from high on the right wing at the left lip of the crease on an odd-man rush.

Defenceman LeBlanc stepped from the left point to the middle to fire a screened shot past Oster at 5:51, assisted by Dalyn Wakely and Sandis Vilmanis. The play strangely went to video review after referee Sean Reid signaled no goal despite the puck clearly having entered the net.

With McIvor on the bench for a sixth attacker, Roobroeck lofted the puck from his own zone into the vacant cage at 16:51, recording his 10th goal of the playoffs to tie Sennecke for the team lead.

Toms completed the scoring when he skated the puck into the Battalion zone and deposited it in the empty net at 19:39.

Kumpulainen scored at 11:26 of the middle period to make it 2-0, capitalizing after Oshawa seized control of the puck from a scrambled sequence on the left wing. The disc went to Kumpulainen open on the right side, and he fired his third goal past a sprawling defender. Luca Marrelli and Tristan Delisle drew assists.

Lockhart scored his sixth goal from the left side off a late-developing two-on-one rush, assisted by Stuart Rolofs and Calum Ritchie.

McIvor denied Ritchie breaking alone across the crease at 19:37 after Justin Ertel was dumped on a sortie at the other end.

Bedkowski scored his first OHL playoff goal off a right-wing faceoff at 14:07 of the opening period, drilling a right-point shot through traffic. Roobroeck won the draw back to defenceman Bedkowski for the sole assist.

After the Troops, led by Liam Arnsby, Ertel and Vilmanis, staged a furious assault in the first minute, McIvor stoned Lockhart on a two-on-one rush in the seventh minute and went to his right to snag a Ritchie blast at 14:04, the stoppage that led to the Oshawa goal.

BATTALION BULLETS: The Battalion, which has won three straight Central Division titles, lost in the third round for a third consecutive year. The Troops were swept by the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2022 and lost Game 7 at home to the Peterborough Petes in 2023. Both teams won the OHL championship … The Battalion is 5-2 all-time in the seventh game of a playoff series. North Bay was trying to become the sixth OHL team to win a seven-game series after trailing 3-0 … In 49 games, Wakely has 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points, tied with Owen Van Steensel for sixth place in franchise history. Wakely’s 17 assists are tied with Vilmanis, Luch Aquino and Barclay Goodrow for ninth place all-time … In 16 games, Vilmanis has 10 goals and 17 assists for 27 points, 16th in franchise annals … Wakely, Van Steensel, Ty Nelson and Paul Christopoulos all played a 49th postseason game, tied with Brenden Miller for seventh all-time … The Battalion went 0-for-1 on the power play, the only man-advantage situation in the game … Opening lines featured Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Ethan Procyszyn, Arnsby pivoting left winger Ertel and right winger Vilmanis and Brice Cooke centring left winger Andrew LeBlanc and right winger Jacob Therrien. Dylan Richter centred left winger Ihnat Pazii and right winger Lirim Amidovski … In addition to Romani, Battalion scratches were Dom DiVincentiis, Brayden Turley, Trevor McDowell, Nolan Laird and Stef Forgione … Mike Cairns was the other referee.

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