Back-to-back Ottawa set looms

NORTH BAY, Ont. — The North Bay Battalion, bolstered by reinforcements, opens an Ontario Hockey League preseason home-and-home series when it visits the Ottawa 67’s at 7 p.m. Friday.

Left winger Kyle Jackson was to return Thursday night to North Bay from the rookie camp of the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators, while defenceman Paul Christopoulos arrived Wednesday night from the Carolina Hurricanes’ camp.

Both are expected to see action at Ottawa after being absent for the Battalion’s exhibition opener, a 4-2 home-ice victory last Saturday over the Owen Sound Attack for which the Troops dressed 15 skaters, three below the limit.

Four Battalion members have advanced to NHL teams’ main camps, including goaltender Joe Vrbetic with the Montreal Canadiens. Others are left winger Matvey Petrov, a first-year Russian import currently with the Edmonton Oilers, defenceman Avery Winslow with the Tampa Bay Lightning and right winger Brandon Coe, an overage candidate who’s with the San Jose Sharks.

Vrbetic, Petrov and Coe have been drafted by their respective NHL clubs, while Winslow, a resident of St. Pete Beach, Fla., is an undrafted invitee.

Goaltender Reece Proulx backstopped the decision over Owen Sound, in which Josh Currie broke a 2-2 tie with the third-period winner, and Dom DiVincentiis is expected to get the start at Ottawa.

The Battalion plays host to the 67’s at 4 p.m. Saturday with pandemic protocols, including some new ones, in place for Memorial Gardens.

Fans must provide proof of vaccination against the coronavirus, through either a printed copy or a photo on a smartphone. Physical distancing must be practised, and masks must be worn except when seated, with arena capacity limited to 1,000. Attendance at the Owen Sound game was 680.

The game at Ottawa can be seen live in North Bay on YourTV Channels 12 and 700.

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