Wakely Lights it Up

Wakely Lights it Up
Photo/article credit- North Bay Battalion

Dalyn Wakely scored three goals to power the North Bay Battalion to a 5-4 Ontario Hockey League victory Wednesday night over the Kingston Frontenacs, giving the Troops a lead of three games to one in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal.

Lirim Amidovski and Brice Cooke also scored and Owen Van Steensel provided three assists for second-seeded North Bay, which got 17 saves from goaltender Mike McIvor.

Paul Ludwinski had one goal and one assist for seventh-seeded Kingston, which also got goals from Jacob Battaglia, Nathan Poole and Jax Dubois. Goaltender Mason Vaccari faced 31 shots before 2,718 at Slush Puppie Place.

The fifth game is scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Gardens.

Wakely opened the scoring at 5:27 of the first period as he took a cross-ice pass from Van Steensel and blasted the puck past Vaccari’s blocker from the right-wing circle. Bronson Ride drew the second assist.

The Battalion struck for two goals in a span of 25 seconds, starting when Wakely capitalized on a turnover by Cal Uens and fired the puck over Vaccari’s blocker from deep in the left circle at 14:42. Van Steensel earned the lone assist.

Amidovski then one-timed home a cross-slot pass from Ihnat Pazii. The goal marked rookie Amidovski’s first OHL playoff point.

The Troops outshot Kingston 14-7 in the period, testing Vaccari in the 13th minute when the goaltender sprawled to deny a drive from the left circle by Tnias Mathurin. The Frontenacs’ best chance came in the fourth minute when Roman Schmidt’s right-point shot rolled through the crease.

Wakely struck for his sixth goal of the series at 1:07 of the middle period. Van Steensel cleanly beat Ludwinski on a right-wing faceoff and drew the puck back to Wakely, who drilled it inside the left post.

Wakely is the 13th player in franchise history to score three or more goals in a postseason game and the first since Kyle McDonald against the host Mississauga Steelheads in Game 6 of a conference quarterfinal last April 9.

The game was delayed for six minutes at 10:42 after Kingston’s Linus Hemstrom was injured following a hit by Liam Arnsby. Henstrom was aided by the Frontenacs’ training staff and paramedics before leaving the ice on a stretcher. Referee Andrew Willmetts reviewed the play and assessed Arnsby a head-checking major and a game misconduct.

Kingston, which connected on the power play at 11:26 when Battaglia redirected a Ludwinski shot at the crease, then struck shorthanded at 15:30. McIvor emerged from his crease to try to get to a loose puck, but Poole got to it first, skirted the goaltender and put the disc into the vacant net.

Cooke scored what proved to be the winner with the man advantage at 15:59. Vaccari couldn’t handle Wyatt Kennedy’s drive from the blue line, and Jacob Therrien swatted at the rebound before the puck went to Cooke, who slid it home for his second goal.

Ludwinski scored on the power play at 13:50 of the third period, darting between Mathurin and Paul Christopoulos and firing the puck past McIvor’s glove.

Vaccari went to the bench for a sixth skater with 2:50 to play before Dubois pulled Kingston within a goal at 18:03, tipping a screened drive from the blue line by Schmidt.

Vaccari left again with 1:24 left, but the Frontenacs couldn’t tie it. Wakely, who failed to score on a breakaway in the sixth minute, just missed a fourth goal, firing wide of the empty net in the last minute.

BATTALION BULLETS: The Battalion has a won-lost record of 51-44 in 95 playoff games since relocation to North Bay from Brampton in 2013, including 22-25 in 47 road games … The Battalion is 17-23 all-time in the fourth game of a playoff series … Charlie Larocque again backed up McIvor … Jacob LeBlanc and Kingston’s Ethan Miedema fought at 2:21 of the first period … In 37 games each, Wakely and Van Steensel are tied for 18th place in franchise playoff points with 22. Wakely has 12 goals and 10 assists, while Van Steensel has nine goals and 13 assists … In 37 playoff games, Arnsby has 62 penalty minutes, tied with Brenden Miller for second place in franchise annals … Wakely led the Troops with seven shots, while Ty Nelson had six and Ride three. Battaglia and Poole had three shots apiece to lead Kingston … The Battalion went 1-for-3 on the power play. Kingston was 2-for-5 … Opening lines saw Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Therrien, Arnsby pivoting left winger Justin Ertel and right winger Sandis Vilmanis and Ethan Procyszyn centring left winger Andrew LeBlanc and right winger Cooke. Dylan Richter centred left winger Pazii and right winger Amidovski … The Battalion scratched Dom DiVincentiis, Brayden Turley, Trevor McDowell, Anthony Romani, Nolan Laird and Stef Forgione … Kingston was without Jakub Chromiak, Christopher Thibodeau and Xander Velliaris … Sean Reid was the other referee.

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