High note marks finish
NORTH BAY, Ont. — Jacob Therrien and Anthony Romani each had one goal and two assists and goaltender Charlie Robertson made 44 saves as the North Bay Battalion defeated the Mississauga Steelheads 5-2 Sunday, the last day of the Ontario Hockey League’s regular season.
North Bay continued its assault on the club’s record book, improving its won-lost-extended mark to 48-17-3 for 99 points, first in the Central Division and second in the Eastern Conference. The 48 wins eclipse the franchise record set in 2008-09 in Brampton, and the 99 points extend a record.
The Battalion also extended the club record for home-ice wins in the North Bay era to 27, going 27-5-2 at Memorial Gardens. The franchise record for home wins is 29, in 2008-09 before relocation in 2013.
An 11th consecutive victory lengthened the club-record winning streak as North Bay. The franchise mark is 16 straight wins, in 2008-09. The Troops’ last loss was an 8-2 setback Feb. 26 to the host Sarnia Sting.
Pasquale Zito and Ty Nelson contributed one goal and one assist apiece, and Owen Van Steensel also scored before a crowd of 3,233.
Both teams, but especially the Battalion, rested a number of regulars in anticipation of the playoffs, in which the Troops will face Mississauga, fourth in the division and seventh in the conference, in a best-of-seven conference quarterfinal.
Kai Schwindt and Ryan Struthers scored for Mississauga, while goaltender Alessio Beglieri provided 19 saves. The Steelheads finished 31-31-6 for 68 points.
“It starts in net with Charlie,” said Battalion coach Ryan Oulahen. “He was super ready, prepared today. He played great. It allowed us to capitalize on our chances.”
Mississauga, which trailed 2-1 through 20 minutes, tied it at 2:58 of the second period when Struthers drilled his first goal of the season under the crossbar on an assist by Mason Zebeski.
Romani netted what proved to be the winner at 10:57 off a two-on-one rush with Therrien, putting the puck under Beglieri’s outstretched left pad. Dalyn Wakely also assisted on Romani’s 23rd goal.
With the teams skating four a side, Zito redirected Nelson’s shot-pass from deep on the right wing at 19:38. Kyle Jackson had the other assist on Zito’s 14th goal, his seventh since a trade from the Niagara IceDogs. In 149 career games, Zito has 39 goals and 62 assists for 101 points.
Nelson wired the puck from the mid blue line at 9:40 of the third period, completing the scoring on assists by Romani and Therrien. Nelson extended his franchise record for single-season points by a defenceman to 76 with his 24th goal, the most by a rearguard in a season as North Bay. His 52 assists also are a post-Brampton record.
Van Steensel opened the scoring at 11:25 of the first period, beating Beglieri with a low drive to the short side off the left wing after taking a touch pass from Nikita Tarasevich. Zito had the other assist on Van Steensel’s 11th goal.
Therrien connected at 13:07, driving to the slot to slip home a backhander for his seventh goal. Romani and Luc Brzustowski assisted.
Schwindt replied with the man advantage at 14:20, retrieving the puck off a partially scrambled faceoff and going straight to the net for his 12th goal.
BATTALION BULLETS: On Fan Appreciation Day, the Battalion honoured overagers Jackson, Avery Winslow and Kyle McDonald, all of whom received a portrait by artist Jack Lockhart as well as a video tribute. In addition to plentiful prizes, fans got a number of specially priced food and beverage options … The Battalion went 4-2-0 in the teams’ season series. The Troops won 5-2 at Mississauga on Dec. 9 and 7-3 at home Dec. 15 before the Steelheads posted a 5-4 home-ice win Jan. 20 and a 4-2 road victory Feb. 2. The visiting Battalion won 3-0 on March 3 … North Bay went 11-0-0 in March … In 186 games, Jackson had 71 goals and 99 assists for 170 points, one more than Sam Carrick and 15th in franchise annals … The Battalion scratched Brayden Hislop, Paul Christopoulos, Tnias Mathurin, Liam Arnsby, Josh Bloom, McDonald, Matvey Petrov and Dom DiVincentiis … Mike McIvor backed up Robertson, as he did in a 5-2 win Saturday night at Niagara … Winslow, Nelson, Jackson and Zito drew into the lineup after sitting out the Niagara game … In six games against Mississauga, Nelson had four goals and six assists for 10 points … Christopoulos turned 20, while Oulahen marked his 38th birthday. The Troops’ Alexander Lukin turns 19 on Monday … The Battalion went 0-for-2 on the power play. Mississauga was 1-for-2 … Among the missing for Mississauga were Angus MacDonell and Luke Misa.