Josh Blooms Returns to North Bay, Scores 2 in Victory

Josh Blooms Returns to North Bay, Scores 2 in Victory
photo/article credit-North Bay Battalion

Josh Bloom scored two goals to pace the Saginaw Spirit to a 5-3 victory Sunday over the North Bay Battalion in an Ontario Hockey League game in which the Troops just failed to rally from a 4-0 deficit.

Zayne Parekh and Rodwin Dionicio each had one goal and one assist, and Ethan Hay also scored for Saginaw, which netted three goals during a major penalty in the first period to Jacob Therrien. Goaltender Andrew Oke provided 21 saves.

Saginaw has a won-lost-extended record of 39-14-1 for 79 points atop the West Division. The Spirit is 14-2-0 in its last 16 games, including a 6-3 loss Friday night to the host Sudbury Wolves. The Battalion and Spirit, the former North Bay Centennials franchise, meet again Friday night at Saginaw, site of the 2024 Memorial Cup tournament.

Saginaw dressed three former members of the Battalion, in Bloom, Nic Sima and Alex Christopoulos, who took part in the ceremonial faceoff with twin brother Paul of the Troops.

Justin Ertel, Owen Van Steensel and Brice Cooke scored for North Bay, 28-17-8 for 64 points, second in the Central Division. Goaltender Dom DiVincentiis faced 33 shots before a crowd of 3,835.

The black-clad Battalion, which played the last of a season-high four straight home games, winning three, is 10-3-2 in its last 15 games.

Saginaw capitalized on a major and game misconduct for checking from behind issued to Therrien at 6:18 of the first period for a hit on James Guo, scoring three goals in a span of 2:36.

Bloom converted a rebound in front at 8:33, and defenceman Parekh put the puck inside the left post from the top of the right circle at 9:07 for his team-leading 27th goal of the season. Dionicio connected from above the left circle at 11:09. It was the rearguard’s 20th goal, his 15th since a trade from the Windsor Spitfires.

Hay, seven seconds out of the penalty box, scored his 11th goal, his ninth since a move from the Flint Firebirds, at 17:02.

Ertel struck shorthanded 15 seconds into the middle period as the Battalion served a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Assisted by Liam Arnsby and Tnias Mathurin, it was Ertel’s 20th goal, scored off the rush through a Dionicio screen.

Ertel has six career shorthanded goals, tied with Nikita Tarasevich, Aaron Snow, Ryan Oulahen and Jay McClement for ninth place in franchise history.

After trailing 4-1 through 40 minutes, the Battalion surged into contention on goals by Van Steensel and Cooke 38 seconds apart in the third frame.

Van Steensel, assisted by Ty Nelson and Andrew LeBlanc, struck for his 30th goal on a three-on-one power-play rush at 7:45 before Cooke took a back pass from Ihnat Pazii and drilled home a 10th goal from the mid slot. Nelson also assisted.

Bloom hurt the Troops’ comeback hopes when he got behind two defenders and hoisted a backhander past DiVincentiis at 10:10. Parekh assisted on Bloom’s eighth goal.

North Bay continued to press, including after Guo went off for holding at 14:50, but couldn’t get closer.

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