Romani five-point night powers the Battalion

Romani five-point night powers the Battalion

Anthony Romani scored two goals and earned three assists to power the North Bay Battalion to a 6-2 Ontario Hockey League victory Thursday night over the Sarnia Sting and a split of the teams’ home-and-home and season series.

Dalyn Wakely had two goals and two assists and Owen Van Steensel one goal and two assists, while Andrew LeBlanc also scored for North Bay, which improved its won-lost-extended record to 31-19-8 for 70 points, second in the Central Division, before 2,624 at Memorial Gardens. Goaltender Dom DiVincentiis faced 25 shots, including a season-low one in the first period.

Sarnia defeated the visiting Battalion 6-5 Sunday, ending a road trip of three games in as many days for the Troops. The Battalion’s previous win over the Sting was a 3-2 road verdict Dec. 1, 2017, in the second of two games that season. With the 2020-21 campaign lost to covid and the teams not having met in 2021-22, North Bay is 1-5-2 since that win.

Lukas Fischer had one goal and one assist for Sarnia, which got its other goal from Easton Wainwright. Goaltender Karsen Chartier gave up five goals on 38 shots, with Romani collecting an empty-netter. The Sting is 23-31-4 for 50 points, fourth in the West Division.

Wakely opened the scoring at 1:39 of the first period, taking a Romani pass from behind the net and firing the puck past Chartier from a sharp angle on the left wing. Trevor McDowell also assisted.

Van Steensel struck at 10:50, putting the puck into a gaping net from the left side after a cross-ice pass from Wakely. Romani had the other assist on the 32nd goal of the season by Van Steensel, who started the play with a long lead pass from his own zone.

North Bay tested Chartier 17 times in the frame, while Wainwright was credited with Sarnia’s only shot.

Romani scored at 1:25 of the middle period, driving to the net and putting a backhanded tap on a left-point feed from Paul Christopoulos. Van Steensel had the second assist on what proved to be the winner, Romani’s career 14th, putting him in sixth place in franchise history, one ahead of John Hughes, Raffi Torres, Brandon Coe and Mike Amadio.

Wainwright replied with his 10th goal at 4:43, shoveling the puck into the net on the backhand off a left-point drive by Fischer.

Liam Arnsby and Hughston Hurt, who also received a crosschecking minor, drew fighting majors at 19:15. Arnsby looked to leave Hurt hurting after pummeling him repeatedly, although Hurt, possibly because of fatigue, got the takedown by falling on the Battalion captain.

Defenceman Fischer was credited with his sixth goal when Van Steensel’s attempt to clear the puck from the right-wing corner deflected off Sandis Vilmanis’s helmet behind DiVincentiis to cut Sarnia’s deficit to 3-2 at 6:41 of the third period. The goal came with one second left in a holding penalty to North Bay’s Justin Ertel.

LeBlanc, assisted by Romani and Brayden Turley, drove off the right wing, went to his forehand and steered the puck through Chartier’s defences at 14:28. It was LeBlanc’s 14th goal, his fifth in 20 games since a trade from the Sting. After two assists at Sarnia, he has 33 goals and 68 assists for 101 points in 169 career games.

Chartier was gone for five seconds before Romani hit the empty net at 17:06 for his team-high 47th goal, which tied Carson Rehkopf of the Kitchener Rangers for the league lead. Wakely, with an assist from the onrushing Vilmanis, added his 32nd goal at 19:22.

The Battalion plays host to the Niagara IceDogs at 2 p.m. Sunday on North Bay Robotics Day.

BATTALION BULLETS: Hockey Fights Cancer Night presented by Scotiabank saw donations taken at a Canadian Cancer Society table for the Wheels of Hope program, which provides area residents with transportation to cancer appointments. More than $10,046 was raised from donations, including $3,000 from Scotiabank, and auctioned items … The Battalion went 8-4-0 in February … The game marked the first visit to North Bay by Carter Kostuch since he was traded to Sarnia with Alex Cajkovic on Jan. 6 for Vilmanis and twins Andrew and Jacob LeBlanc … In 178 games, Romani has 78 goals and 73 assists for 151 points, tied with Kurt MacSweyn for 21st place in franchise history … Van Steensel has a 10-game points streak in which he has nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points … The Battalion was 0-for-4 on the power play. Sarnia went 1-for-4 … Opening lines had Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Romani, Arnsby centring left winger Ertel and right winger Vilmanis and Ethan Procyszyn pivoting left winger Andrew LeBlanc and right winger Brice Cooke. Left winger Ihnat Pazii and right winger Lirim Amidovski had rotating linemates … The Battalion was without Tnias Mathurin, Nolan Laird, Stef Forgione and Jacob Therrien, who completed a five-game suspension for a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a 5-3 home-ice loss Feb. 18 to the Saginaw Spirit … Laird is the Central Division’s academic player of the month for February. He is in Grade 12 at Chippewa Secondary School.

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