Troops outlast Frontenacs
KINGSTON, Ont. — Ihnat Pazii scored at 11:13 of the third period, breaking the last tie and sending the North Bay Battalion to an 8-6 victory over the Kingston Frontenacs in a free-wheeling Ontario Hockey League game Friday night.
Anthony Romani, Ty Nelson, Dalyn Wakely and Justin Ertel each provided one goal and two assists, while Brice Cooke had one goal and one assist and Owen Van Steensel and Dylan Richter contributed a goal apiece.
Goaltender Dom DiVincentiis made 29 saves for North Bay, which moved its won-lost-extended record to 12-8-5 for 29 points, second in the Central Division, before 3,561 at the Leon’s Centre. The Troops, who opened a road trip of three games in three days, played the third of five consecutive away games.
Jacob Battaglia scored two goals and added one assist for Kingston, with Paul Ludwinski registering one goal and one assist and Quinton Burns, Ethan Miedema and Christopher Thibodeau one goal each. Linus Hemstrom had three assists.
Goaltender Mason Vaccari gave up six goals on 18 shots through two periods, with reliever J.J. Salajko stopping seven of eight third-period shots, as Ertel scored into an empty net. Kingston, which led 3-1 after 20 minutes, is 11-13-1 for 23 points, fourth in the East Division.
The Frontenacs, who trailed 6-5 after two periods, tied it on Battaglia’s 11th goal of the season at 4:49 of the third before Pazii swept deep into the left-wing circle and beat Salajko from a sharp angle. Ethan Procyszyn and Cooke assisted on Pazii’s fifth goal.
With Salajko on the bench for an extra skater, Ertel converted his own rebound off a defender for his ninth goal at 19:48.
The Troops scored two goals 38 seconds apart early in the middle frame to erase Kingston’s first-period lead, sparked by Cooke’s steal of the puck from Thibodeau and resulting fifth goal at 3:11. Rookie Richter, assisted by Lirim Amidovski and Carter Kostuch, then struck for his first OHL goal.
Battaglia scored on the power play at 7:24, and Romani countered with the man advantage at 10:56 for his team-leading 20th goal, assisted by Nelson and Ertel.
After Nathan Poole drew a match penalty and game misconduct for a crosscheck on Jacob Therrien, defenceman Nelson netted his 11th goal on the power play just as a previous hooking call to Miedema expired. Thibodeau responded with a shorthanded goal at 17:14 that saw him crash into DiVincentiis and the net come loose, but the goal survived video review.
Wakely connected off the left side at 19:49, assisted by Romani and Nelson, for a 6-5 lead at the second intermission.
Ludwinski struck at 5:26 of the first period, converting a Battaglia pass. Hemstrom also assisted on Ludwinski’s 11th goal, which elicited a flood of Teddy Bears. It took six minutes to collect them.
Van Steensel answered at 9:24, driving into open ice on the right wing to snap his 12th goal past Vaccari on assists by Romani and Wakely.
Defenceman Burns restored Kingston’s lead 1:27 later, connecting from the mid blue line through traffic, and Miedema scored at 18:54. DiVincentiis was kneeling in a scramble when the puck emerged in front of the crease, with Miedema hoisting it home for his eighth goal, assisted by Hemstrom and Gabriel Frasca.
The Battalion visits the Peterborough Petes at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. The game can be seen live in North Bay on YourTV Channels 12 and 700.
BATTALION BULLETS: The teams met for the first time this season, with the second set for Thursday night at Memorial Gardens … The eight goals are a Battalion season high, surpassing the total in a 7-6 win Nov. 19 over the visiting Sudbury Wolves … In 157 games, Nelson has 44 goals and 111 assists for 155 points, one more than Brad Chenier and 17th in franchise history. Nelson’s 111 assists are one more than Justin Brazeau and Brett McKenzie and ninth in franchise annals … The Battalion went 2-for-4 on the power play. Kingston was 1-for-3 … Opening line combinations featured Wakely centring left winger Van Steensel and right winger Romani, Liam Arnsby skating between left winger Ertel and right winger Therrien and Procyszyn centring left winger Pazii and right winger Cooke. Richter centred left winger Kostuch and right winger Amidovski … Defence pairs had Alex Cajkovic with Nelson, Trevor McDowell with Wyatt Kennedy and Brayden Turley with Paul Christopoulos … The Battalion was without Tnias Mathurin, Tyson Rismond, Nolan Laird, Zach Wilson, Pasquale Zito, Stef Forgione and Mike McIvor … Kingston is 7-6-1 since Troy Mann succeeded Luca Caputi as head coach on Oct. 24. Mann spent almost five years as coach of the American Hockey League’s Belleville Senators before being fired last February … Hemstrom has a four-game points streak in which he has two goals and six assists for eight points … Drew Jackson and Tyson Stewart were the referees.