Sandis Vilmanis scores 4, leads Battalion Victory

Sandis Vilmanis scores 4, leads Battalion Victory
Photo/article credit-North Bay Battalion

Sandis Vilmanis scored four goals and goaltender Mike McIvor made 22 saves for his first Ontario Hockey League shutout Sunday, leading the North Bay Battalion to a 9-0 rout of the Kingston Frontenacs.

Dalyn Wakely had two goals and Liam Arnsby one goal and two assists, while Justin Ertel and Ihnat Pazii each contributed one goal and one assist as the Battalion moved its won-lost-extended record to 27-16-8 for 62 points, second in the Central Division.

Ryan Oulahen evened his won-lost record as an OHL head coach at 182-182. Since embarking on the job with North Bay on Dec. 10, 2019, he has a won-lost-extended mark of 130-69-22 and an overall record of 182-147-35. He went 52-78-13 in two-plus seasons with the Flint Firebirds.

Anthony Romani, who had two assists, is tied atop the OHL scoring race with David Goyette of the Sudbury Wolves. In 51 games, Romani has 44 goals and 40 assists for 84 points.

Startiing goaltender Mason Vaccari surrendered six goals on 21 shots for Kingston before J.J. Salajko took over for the third period, giving up three goals on seven shots. The Frontenacs, who played a third game in three days, are 24-25-1 for 49 points, fourth in the East Division.

The Troops, 9-2-2 in their last 13 games, killed a two-man disadvantage lasting 42 seconds early in the final frame before Romani raced down the right wing to retrieve the puck and fed Wakely in front for his 27th goal of the season at 5:01. Owen Van Steensel also assisted before a crowd of 2,306.

Pazii, sent away by Ethan Procyszyn, dashed through a phalanx of Frontenacs and put an eighth goal on the season between Salajko’s legs at 9:29.

Ertel fed Vilmanis across the crease on an odd-man rush for his 23rd goal and 13th in 13 games since a Jan. 6 trade from the Sarnia Sting. Arnsby had the other assist.

Rookie McIvor preserved the shutout with a flurry of late saves as Kingston tried to break the goose egg. It was the Battalion’s second shutout of the season.

North Bay, which led 1-0 after 20 minutes, erupted for five second-period goals, sparked by Arnsby at 3:31. Lirim Amidovski negated an icing call, Pazii circled the zone with the puck, Bronson Ride fired from the left point and Arnsby jammed home his ninth goal at the right side.

With the teams skating four a side, Vilmanis took a cross-ice pass from Van Steensel that Gabriel Frasca almost deflected out of the zone and stepped to the left circle to rip the rubber behind Vaccari at 11:10.

The teams again were skating four-on-four when Vilmanis drove off the right wing to backhand the puck past Vaccari at 15:10. Paul Christopoulos assisted.

Romani drove up the slot and fed the puck to Wakely on the left side at 18:41, with Tnias Mathurin drawing the second assist, and Ertel scored his 19th goal from the left circle off a rush 21 seconds later. Procyszyn and Arnsby had assists.

Vilmanis scored at 12:05 of the first period, intercepting a Quinton Burns pass just outside the Kingston blue line, driving past Roman Schmidt and slipping a backhander behind Vaccari.

The Battalion plays host to the Ottawa 67’s at 7 p.m. Friday on The Gathering Place Night presented by Wolves Den and Young Forestry.

BATTALION BULLETS: It was the third of four meetings after each team won on the road in the first two, the Battalion 8-6 on Dec. 1 and Kingston 4-3 on Dec. 7. The season series ends March 17 at the Leon’s Centre … In 12 games this season, McIvor has a 6-6-0 record, a 3.77 goals-against average and an .876 save percentage … Wakely is on a four-game points streak in which he has four goals and eight assists for 12 points … Van Steensel has a four-game points streak during which he has five goals and seven assists for 12 points, and Romani has a four-game points streak in which he has six goals and five assists for 11 points … The Battalion went 0-for-3 on the power play. Kingston was 0-for-4 … Opening lines saw Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Romani, Arnsby pivoting left winger Ertel and right winger Vilmanis and Procyszyn centring left winger Andrew LeBlanc and right winger Brice Cooke. Left winger Pazii and right winger Amidovski had various linemates … Defence pairings had Mathurin with Christopoulos, Ride with Jacob LeBlanc and Trevor McDowell with Wyatt Kennedy, while Brayden Turley also saw action … The Battalion scratched Nolan Laird, Ty Nelson, Stef Forgione and Jacob Therrien, who was sick …Kingston acquired overager Jax Dubois from the Peterborough Petes on Jan. 7 for three OHL Priority Selection picks. He was a 14th-rounder in 2019 …  Kingston’s Cal Uens turned 19 … Cameron Fynney and Sean Kimmerly were the referees. Photo/article credit-North Bay Battalion

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