Battalion blanks Generals

OSHAWA, Ont. — Kyle McDonald scored two goals and goaltender Charlie Robertson made 28 saves for his third shutout as the North Bay Battalion downed the undermanned Oshawa Generals 3-0 Friday night for a fifth straight Ontario Hockey League win.

Nikita Tarasevich also scored for North Bay, which boasts a won-lost-extended record of 42-17-3 for 87 points, first in the Central Division and second in the Eastern Conference and league.

Rookie Robertson recorded his second consecutive shutout, after a 4-0 home-ice blanking last Sunday of the Niagara IceDogs. With partner Dom DiVincentiis having whitewashed the host Mississauga Steelheads 3-0 last Friday night, the Battalion has three shutouts in its last four games, after allowing one goal in a 4-1 decision Wednesday night over the visiting Owen Sound Attack.

Overager McDonald, meanwhile, celebrated the announcement earlier Friday that the National Hockey League’s Dallas Stars have signed him to a three-year entry level contract as a free agent.

The Battalion improved its road record to 20-12-1, with one away game left. With a home record of 22-5-2, the Troops have won 20 or more games both at home and on the road for the second time in franchise history, after posting 22 wins in each category in 2005-06.

Oshawa goaltender Jacob Oster faced 38 shots before a crowd of 5,204 at the Tribute Communities Centre. The Generals, 2-7-1 in their last 10 games, are 24-30-6 for 54 points, fourth in the East Division and eighth in the conference.

Oshawa, beset by injuries and illness, dressed 15 skaters, three below the limit, numbering only nine forwards and six defencemen.

To preserve Robertson’s shutout, the Battalion killed a double minor for high-sticking issued to Josh Bloom at 15:52 of the final period. Penalty killer Tarasevich hit the right post on a breakaway, and Robertson covered up against a Stuart Rolofs drive as he moved in from the top of the left circle at 18:05. With Oster gone for an extra attacker, Oshawa finished the power play skating six against four.

McDonald struck shorthanded at 10:10 of the first period after Ethan Procyszyn was assessed a highly questionable hooking penalty. Pasquale Zito forced a turnover at centre ice, and McDonald raced off on a breakaway for his first shorthanded goal in 183 career games.

Tarasevich made it 2-0 just 1:10 later, intercepting a weak pass by Thomas Stewart along the end boards, emerging on the left side and driving to the goalmouth to collect his 15th goal of the season on an unassisted effort.

McDonald scored at 11:45 of the second period, five seconds after a Battalion power play expired. Dalyn Wakely backhanded the puck from behind the net to McDonald in the right-wing circle for the quick conversion. Also assisted by Bloom, it was McDonald’s 30th goal in 39 games, tying him with Wakely for the team lead.

Liam Arnsby found himself alone with the puck in front of Oster after an Oshawa gaffe in the fifth minute, but the goaltender made the save, with the puck sailing high out of danger.

The Battalion plays host to the London Knights at 2 p.m. Sunday on Cascades Casino North Bay Day, when fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable items for donation to the North Bay Food Bank. Numerous prizes will be available.

BATTALION BULLETS: It was the last of four season meetings between the clubs, in which the Battalion went 3-1-0. At Memorial Gardens, the Troops won 7-3 on Dec. 31 and 3-2 on Jan. 5 before Oshawa posted a 4-0 home-ice win Jan. 29 as Ryan Gagnier had three goals and one assist and Oster made 30 saves for the shutout … Robertson and DiVincentiis have three shutouts apiece, giving the Battalion six this season, the most since Jake Smith, Evan Cormier and Jake Kment combined for seven in 2014-15. The franchise record is eight, in 2008-09 when the club was based in Brampton … Arnsby and Ben Danford fought at 5:05 of the final period, with Arnsby landing a solid left and getting the takedown … McDonald has a five-game points streak during which he has four goals and two assists for six points … The Battalion’s Matvey Petrov saw the end of an eight-game points streak in which he had three goals and nine assists for 12 points … North Bay’s Kyle Jackson had a six-game points streak in which he had one goal and nine assists for 10 points ended … The Battalion went 0-for-2 on the power play. Oshawa was 0-for-3 … The Battalion was without Tnias Mathurin, Brayden Turley, Justin Ertel, Luc Brzustowski and Brett Bouchard … Oshawa’s scratches included Luke Torrance, Luca Marrelli, Calum Ritchie and Beckett Sennecke … Anthony Tapper and Ben Wilson were the referees.

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