KINGSTON, Ont. — Josh Bloom scored three goals, including the winner and an empty-netter, to pace the North Bay Battalion to a 4-2 Ontario Hockey League victory Friday night over the Kingston Frontenacs.
Kyle Jackson had one goal and one assist for North Bay, which improved its won-lost-extended record to 17-8-0 for 34 points, first in the Central Division.
Goaltender Dom DiVincentiis, making his first start since a 3-2 road loss Nov. 18 to the Kitchener Rangers, provided 20 saves as the Troops opened a two-game weekend road trip. DiVincentiis returned from sitting out three games in concussion protocol.
Gabriel Frasca scored both Kingston goals as goaltender Ivan Zhigalov contributed 37 saves before a Leon’s Centre crowd of 3,892. The Frontenacs are 12-11-2 for 26 points, third in the East Division.
Kingston finished the game down two players, the first being Owen Outwater, a former member of the Battalion, who went to the dressing room after a first-period check appearing to have suffered an injury to a shoulder or collarbone.
A bleeding Maleek McGowan then was taken to hospital for what looked to be a gash to his left forearm from the skate of the Troops’ Paul Christopoulos in a collision early in the final frame. McGowan left for the dressing room immediately under his own power, but the game was delayed 11 minutes.
Trailing 3-1 through 40 minutes, Kingston pulled within a goal 30 seconds into the third period when rookie Frasca netted his fourth of the season off a rush. The Battalion then fended off the Frontenacs the rest of the way, forging a 20-5 edge in shots in the stanza, as Bloom put his 13th goal of the campaign and sixth since a trade from the Saginaw Spirit into the vacant net at 19:58.
Bloom struck first at 5:23 of the second period, tipping home Christopoulos’s heavily screened drive from mid blue line. Jackson also assisted.
Jackson scored his team-leading 15th goal at 11:05, working off the right wing to the slot and beating Zhigalov over his glove to the far post. Justin Ertel drew the lone assist.
Bloom put the puck over the falling Zhigalov from the slot on the power play at 12:57 for what proved to be the winning goal, with assists to Matvey Petrov and Ty Nelson.
Frasca redirected a right-point power-play shot by Francesco Arcuri at 17:40, precipitating a flood of plush toys in the Teddy Bear Toss, with their removal holding up the game for seven minutes.
The first period saw DiVincentiis make a solid stop against Christopher Thibodeau on the power play after Nelson went off for a dive-induced tripping call at 3:23 and deny Jacob Battaglia in tight on the left side in the ninth minute. Zhigalov foiled Nikita Tarasevich on a good chance soon afterwards.
Brayden Hislop got back to cover Kingston’s Mitchell Brooks on a 14th-minute breakaway, and DiVincentiis countered a Battaglia attempt in the 15th.
The Battalion visits the Peterborough Petes at 7:05 p.m. Saturday to complete the trip and a string of five road dates. The game can be seen live in North Bay on YourTV Channels 12 and 700.
BATTALION BULLETS: It was the third of four games between the teams, after the Battalion won 3-2 via shootout Oct. 7 at Kingston and 6-2 at home Nov. 17. The last meeting is scheduled for Feb. 5 at Memorial Gardens … Nelson, with two assists, has an eight-game points streak during which he has two goals and 13 assists for 15 points … Ertel has a six-game points streak in which he has two goals and five assists for seven points … Jackson has a five-game points streak during which he has five goals and four assists for nine points. In three games against Kingston, he has four goals and three assists for seven points … Bloom, who reached 100 points in his OHL career with two goals in a 7-4 win Wednesday night over the Sudbury Wolves, has 49 goals and 54 assists for 103 points in 148 games. On a three-game points run of five goals and two assists for seven points, he has six goals and as many assists for 12 points in eight games since the Nov. 16 trade … Each team went 1-for-3 on the power play … The Battalion was without Tnias Mathurin, Avery Winslow, Kyle McDonald and Brett Bouchard … Among the missing for Kingston were Jackson Stewart, Paul Hughes, Alec Belanger and Maddox Callens … Arcuri has a six-game points streak in which he has nine goals and four assists for 13 points … Outwater saw the end of a three-game points streak in which he had two goals and three assists for five points.