Eight more than enough

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — Kyle McDonald and Kyle Jackson each had two goals and one assist to power the North Bay Battalion to an 8-2 romp Saturday night over the Niagara IceDogs, putting the Troops into a tie with the Ottawa 67’s atop the Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference.

Josh Bloom provided one goal and three assists and Ty Nelson one goal and two assists, while Ethan Procyszyn and Nikita Tarasevich scored a goal apiece for North Bay as goaltender Dom DiVincentiis made 30 saves.

Matvey Petrov, who earned three assists, surpassed Lukas Havel as the highest-scoring import in franchise history. Havel, a second-round pick in the 1998 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft from the Czech Republic, played the club’s first three seasons in Brampton, culminating in 2000-01. Petrov was the first overall pick in 2020 from Russia.

The Battalion, which opened a two-game weekend road trip, boasts a won-lost-extended record of 32-11-2 for 66 points, first in the Central Division. Ottawa, which lost 5-4 in overtime to the host Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday but holds a game in hand, is first in the East Division.

Daniel Michaud scored both goals for Niagara. Goaltender Josh Rosenzweig faced 39 shots before an announced crowd of 4,503 at the Meridian Centre. The IceDogs, who dressed 16 skaters, two below the limit, are 9-26-7 for 25 points, last in the division and conference.

Jackson struck on the power play at 4:48 of the first period, snapping the puck from the right-wing circle to the far side over Rosenzweig’s catching glove, assisted by Petrov and Nelson.

Michaud tied it at 9:40 when he put a screened shot to the short side from high on the left wing. Twins Andrew LeBlanc and Jacob LeBlanc had the assists.

McDonald went to wide-open ice in front of the net to redirect a shot from Bloom high on the right boards at 12:58 to give the Battalion a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes.

Nelson one-timed a Bloom pass on the power play at 3:34 of the middle period, with Petrov earning the other assist on defenceman Nelson’s 16th goal of the season, and McDonald connected from the mid slot at 8:05. Jackson and Nelson drew assists on McDonald’s 21st goal and fourth in two games after he scored a pair, including the last-minute winner, in a 5-3 home-ice victory Thursday night over the Windsor Spitfires.

Procyszyn was credited with his fifth goal at 10:30 as a Brayden Hislop left-point shot was knocked down by Jacob Therrien and appeared to deflect off Procyszyn’s leg in the goalmouth. The goal passed a review for goaltender interference.

Bloom, who stole the puck from an inattentive Kevin He, scored a league-leading fourth shorthanded goal on a breakaway at 19:25, racing in on Rosenzweig and beating him with a forehand deke. It was Bloom’s 23rd goal of the campaign and 16th since a trade from the Saginaw Spirit. Michaud then netted his team-leading 17th goal on the same man advantage at 19:49.

For his 12th goal, Tarasevich had the rebound of a Petrov shot bounce off a skate as they invaded Rosenzweig’s goalmouth at 8:33 of the third period, with Pasquale Zito drawing the other assist, and Jackson finished a nifty three-way passing play off a three-on-one rush with Bloom and McDonald at 15:09. It was Jackson’s team-leading 27th goal.

The Battalion visits the Oshawa Generals at 6:05 p.m. Sunday. The game can be seen live in North Bay on YourTV Channels 12 and 700.

BATTALION BULLETS: The game was the fourth of six between the teams, with the Battalion holding a record of 3-1-0. The Troops won 9-3 at home Nov. 3 before host Niagara prevailed 6-5 on Nov. 26. The Battalion won 7-2 at home Jan. 8. The next meeting is March 5 at Memorial Gardens … Petrov is on a seven-game points streak in which he has seven goals and eight assists for 15 points. In 107 career games, he has 60 goals and 95 assists for 155 points, one more than Brad Chenier and 15th in franchise annals. In 177 games, Havel had 60 goals and 93 assists for 153 points … Jackson has a seven-game points streak during which he has three goals and 10 assists for 13 points. Jackson, with 67 goals and 84 assists for 151 points in 164 games, is tied with Kurt MacSweyn for 18th place all-time … McDonald has a seven-game points streak in which he has 10 goals and five assists for 15 points … The Battalion went 2-for-4 on the power play. Niagara was 1-for-4 … Zito played at St. Catharines for the first time since a Dec. 12 trade from Niagara in which Michael Podolioukh went the other way … The Battalion, which dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen, scratched Tnias Mathurin, Justin Ertel, Liam Arnsby, Luc Brzustowski, Brett Bouchard and Charlie Robertson … Mike McIvor again backed up DiVincentiis. Robertson played in the CHL-NHL Top Prospects Game at Langley, B.C., Wednesday night.

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