Numbers tell good tale
NORTH BAY, Ont. — The North Bay Battalion put up numbers like never before in the 2022-23 Ontario Hockey League season.
Prominent among those responsible was Ty Nelson, who scored 24 goals and earned 52 assists for 76 points in 67 games, setting a single-season franchise record for points by a defenceman and marks for goals and assists by a rearguard since relocation to North Bay in 2013.
Nelson led OHL defencemen in power-play goals with 13 and in shots on goal with 296. He tied for second in goals and in game-winning goals, with five, among league blueliners, was third in points at his position and tied for third in assists.
Nelson helped lead the Battalion, with a won-lost-extended record of 48-17-3 for 99 points, to a first-place finish in the Central Division, second place in the Eastern Conference and a first-round playoff meeting with the Mississauga Steelheads. The wins and points totals are franchise records.
Matvey Petrov paced Battalion points producers with 27 goals and a team-leading 66 assists for 93 points in 65 games, with Kyle Jackson second from 31 goals and 52 assists for 83 points in 67 games.
Nelson was third in points for North Bay, while Josh Bloom had 25 goals and 30 assists for 55 points in 49 games after a trade from the Saginaw Spirit.
Kyle McDonald, hampered by injury, led the team with 34 goals in just 43 games, adding 18 assists for 52 points, and Dalyn Wakely netted 30 goals and earned 19 assists for 49 points in 66 games.
McDonald topped the Troops with eight game-winning goals, while Anthony Romani had six and Jackson, Nelson and Wakely provided five apiece.
Goaltending generated more notable numbers, with Dom DiVincentiis leading the league in wins with 36, goals-against average at 2.33 and save percentage at .919 in 48 games. Charlie Robertson won 12 games among the 21 in which he saw action, posting a GAA of 3.17 and a save percentage of .892.
DiVincentiis registered five shutouts, tying the franchise mark for single-season blankings, and Robertson added three, giving the Battalion a team total of eight to tie the franchise record set in Brampton in 2008-09.
North Bay was credited with 285 goals, fifth in the OHL. The Windsor Spitfires scored a league-high 320. The Battalion was charged with 183 goals against, second-best in the league to the Ottawa 67’s at 171.
Nelson’s 13 power-play goals led the Battalion, followed by Jackson with nine. McDonald had seven, while Petrov, Bloom and Wakely each contributed five.
The Troops scored 56 power-play goals in 245 opportunities for an effectiveness rate of 22.9 percent, eighth in the OHL. The Sarnia Sting boasted the top-rated power play at 26.0 percent.
The Battalion scored 16 shorthanded goals, led by Nikita Tarasevich, who had five to tie for the league lead. Bloom and Justin Ertel each had three, and Liam Arnsby provided two.
North Bay allowed 36 power-play goals in 278 times shorthanded for a kill rate of 87.0 percent, best in the OHL.
Arnsby had a team-high 78 penalty minutes, while Alexander Lukin totaled 65 and Paul Christopoulos 61. North Bay was fourth in the OHL in penalties at 12.2 minutes per game. The Sudbury Wolves led the penalty parade at 13.3 minutes a game.
Christopoulos topped the league in plus-minus figures at plus-51, while Petrov and Tarasevich tied for second among the Troops at plus-31.
Owen Van Steensel was the only player to see action in all 68 games, although Brayden Hislop played 69 between Saginaw and North Bay and Bloom played 68.
The Battalion went 27-5-2 at home and 21-12-1 on the road. Each category saw a record for wins in the North Bay era. The Troops, 35-9-2 within the conference, were 21-5-0 within the division and 14-4-2 against the East Division. In going 13-8-1 against the Western Conference, the Battalion was 7-3-0 against Midwest Division foes and 6-5-1 against the West Division.