Vande Sompel solves Sime in win

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Mitchell Vande Sompel scored three goals and added one assist to power the Oshawa Generals to a 5-2 Ontario Hockey League victory Wednesday night over the North Bay Battalion.

Eric Henderson had one goal, into an empty net, and one assist and Medric Mercier the other goal for Oshawa, which got 28 saves from goaltender Jeremy Brodeur. The Generals moved their won-lost-extended record to 17-7-2 for 36 points atop the East Division and Eastern Conference.

Kyle Potts and Steve Harland scored for the Battalion, 13-12-2 for 28 points, first in the Central Division. Goaltender Julian Sime made 30 saves in a sparkling OHL debut before 2,666 at Memorial Gardens.

“It’s a loss and people might think I’m crazy, but I thought it was one of our better games at home,” said Battalion coach Stan Butler. “They’re the top team in our conference, and for the most part our compete level was pretty good.”

Butler praised Sime’s effort.

“I was really happy with the way he played. All you can ask from your goalie is to give you a chance to win, and I don’t think there’s any doubt he gave us a chance to win.”

Sime took it all in while keeping North Bay in the game, with the score 2-2 after Harland’s power-play goal at 4:00 of the third period.

“It was unreal,” said Sime. “You look at the crowd and see everyone is supporting the Troops. There are a lot of smart guys on this team. They keep guys to the outside, they allow you to see the shot and they allow you to react and they clear rebounds.”

Potts opened the scoring at 4:27 of the second period. Anthony Cirelli fell and turned over the puck at the Battalion blue line, permitting Potts to skate in alone on Brodeur and beat the goaltender with a wrister between the pads. The unassisted goal was Potts’s fourth of the season.

Defenceman Vande Sompel replied at 7:25, slipping deep on the left wing to slide a Kyle MacLean feed past Sime off a rush.

The Troops outshot Oshawa 14-10 in the frame, with Harland, Cam Dineen and Justin Brazeau among those who tested Brodeur, while Sime repelled good chances for Kenny Huether, Renars Krastenbergs, Domenic Commisso and Daniel Robertson. Daniil Antropov and Jack Studnicka failed to convert on an early two-on-one rush.

Vande Sompel scored 36 seconds into the third period when his power-play drive from the left point eluded the screened Sime, but Harland tied it with the man advantage, sliding the rebound of a Brett McKenzie shot inside the left post from the lip of the crease. Brady Lyle also assisted on Harland’s team-leading 16th goal.

Vande Sompel netted the winner, his 10th goal, at 9:21, stepping in from the right point and snapping the puck over the right shoulder of Sime, who appeared to be screened.

The Troops failed to take advantage after Alex Di Carlo received a boarding major and game misconduct at 10:54 on a play that saw Jacob Ball leave the ice with an apparent injury, and Oshawa capitalized on its own power play at 16:48 when defenceman Mercier converted into the open net from the right circle as Sime attempted a last-ditch slide to counter the backdoor play.

“Our special teams let us down tonight,” said Butler. “We had a five-minute power play in a 3-2 game and couldn’t score, and then they get a power play right after that and put it into our net. The difference in the game was they were able to capitalize on a two-minute power play and we weren’t able to get anything on a five.”

Henderson finished the scoring into an empty net at 19:19.

Sime’s first OHL period was a busy one as he faced 16 shots, largely because the Battalion took three minor penalties. He made several solid stops, including turning away Huether, Studnicka, Mercier and Joe Manchurek. Cirelli fired the puck off the left post on the power play in the 10th minute.

North Bay had seven shots and tested Brodeur on a number of occasions, but he turned aside two early shots from Ball, a McKenzie drive and Maurizio Colella’s attempt at the rebound in the 13th minute. Brodeur also parried a Dineen shot off the left wing with the Troops on a late power play.

The Battalion visits the Sudbury Wolves at 7 p.m. Friday. The game can be heard live on Country 600 CKAT.

BATTALION BULLETS: With Brent Moran and Mat Woroniuk both hurt in games last week, the Battalion acquired Sime, 18, from the Mississauga Chargers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League and signed him Tuesday. He was an 11th-round pick of the Kitchener Rangers in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection … Drew Joyal of the North Bay Trappers midgets was called up to back up Sime … In 223 games, McKenzie has 63 goals and 77 assists for 140 points, tied with Nick Paul for 18th place in franchise history. Paul produced 75 goals and 65 assists in 191 games. McKenzie has one goal and six assists for seven points in the last six games … Harland has five goals and two assists for seven points in a six-game points streak … The points streaks by McKenzie and Harland are the Troops’ longest of the season … North Bay went 1-for-4 on the power play. Oshawa was 2-for-6 … The Battalion went 5-6-1 in November, including 2-4-1 at home … Eric Allair rocked Oshawa’s Serron Noel with a check midway in the first period … Apart from Moran and Woroniuk, the Battalion was without Adam Thilander, Daniel Walker and Max Kislinger, who has left to join the host country’s national junior team that will compete in the second-tier world championships in Germany. A broken wrist has limited Kislinger to four games this season … Thilander sat out with a sore throat, an ailment that cost him two games earlier in the month.

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