Troops Clinch 3rd Central Title

Troops Clinch 3rd Central Title
Photo/article credit- North Bay Battalion

Anthony Romani scored three goals to pace the North Bay Battalion to a 5-4 Ontario Hockey League victory Friday night over the Mississauga Steelheads, clinching a third consecutive Central Division crown for the Troops.

North Bay, which ended Mississauga’s hopes of winning the title, has one game left in its regular season Sunday against the visiting Peterborough Petes. Even if the Sudbury Wolves win their last two games to tie the Battalion in points and regulation and overtime wins, the Troops took the season series against Sudbury with a won-lost-extended record of 4-1-3 for 11 points against eight on a head-to-head basis.

Liam Arnsby and Dalyn Wakely, with what proved to be the winner into an empty net, also scored for North Bay, 38-20-9 for 85 points. The Battalion still can secure the first seed in the Eastern Conference over the Oshawa Generals, first in the East Division.

Goaltender Dom DiVincentiis made 37 saves before a crowd of 3,678. Wakely contributed two assists for 102 points in 65 games.

Porter Martone had one goal and one assist for Mississauga, which also got goals from Angus MacDonnell, Finn Harding and Luke Misa.

Goaltender Jack Ivankovic stopped 24 shots as the Steelheads completed their season schedule at 38-22-8 for 84 points, third in the conference pending weekend play.

The Battalion carried a 3-1 lead into the third period, but defenceman Harding scored his 10th goal of the season on the power play to pull Mississauga within one at 9:08.

Romani replied with his league-leading 56th goal with the man advantage 1:01 later, taking a pass from Justin Ertel deep on the right wing and one-timing the puck to the far side. Wakely had the other assist.

Misa directed the puck past DiVincentiis with a raised stick in front at 11:17 to make it 4-3 before Wakely, taking advantage of Ivankovic’s trip to the bench for a sixth attacker, put the puck down the ice from the North Bay zone into the empty net at 17:54.

With the teams skating four a side, Martone made for a tight finish when he connected off a right-wing faceoff at 19:21. It was his team-leading 33rd goal.

Romani opened the scoring at 8:58 of the first period, beating Ivankovic from just inside the right circle off an odd-man rush, with assists to Wakely and Bronson Ride.

MacDonnell tied it shorthanded at 12:47 off a two-on-one rush with Lucas Karmiris, who took a shot from the right side that trickled behind DiVincentiis to the goal line, where MacDonnell arrived to knock the puck home.

Romani took advantage of a Mississauga miscue to seize the puck and rip it past Ivankovic from the left circle at 15:05.

Arnsby slipped to the goalmouth from deep on the right wing and hoisted a backhander high into the net at 12:18 of the middle frame. Ertel assisted on Arnsby’s 11th goal.

The Battalion faces Peterborough at 2 p.m. Sunday on Fan Appreciation Day presented by Cascades Casino North Bay.

BATTALION BULLETS: The Battalion went 5-1-0 in the teams’ season series … Wakely has an 11-game points streak in which he has 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points. In 198 games, he has 88 goals and 97 assists for 185 points, two more than Matvey Petrov and 11th in franchise history. Wakely is tied with Brett McKenzie for 10th place in goals in franchise annals … In an official scoring change, Owen Van Steensel has been awarded an assist in a previous game … Ertel returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury … Battalion defenceman Paul Christopoulos played his 250th OHL game … The Battalion went 1-for-4 on the power play. Mississauga was 1-for-2 … Opening lines saw Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Romani, Arnsby centring left winger Ertel and right winger Sandis Vilmanis and Ethan Procyszyn pivoting left winger Brice Cooke and right winger Jacob Therrien. Left winger Ihnat Pazii and right winger Lirim Amidovski had rotating linemates … Defence pairs were Wyatt Kennedy with Ty Nelson, Tnias Mathurin with Christopoulos and Ride with Jacob LeBlanc. Trevor McDowell also saw action … Apart from Andrew LeBlanc, who suffered a forearm contusion in a 4-1 home-ice win Wednesday night against the Barrie Colts, the Battalion was without Brayden Turley, Nolan Laird and Stef Forgione … Among Mississauga’s scratches were Dean Loukus and Luke Dragusica … Drew Jackson and Sean Reid were the referees.

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