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Sting sends out S.O.S. as Troops prevail

'Probably good for us that there was urgency in the third in terms of a one-goal game and you have to hunker down because that’s the type of hockey you have to play this time of year'

They say revenge is a dish best-served cold, but I would argue beating a team at home that just beat you is much better…although I suppose if it’s hockey, it is served cold?

Either way, that’s exactly what the North Bay Battalion did to the Sarnia Sting Thursday night as they rebounded with a 6-2 victory after falling 6-5 last weekend in Sarnia.

The victory was North Bay’s first against Sarnia since a 3-2 game on December 1, 2017.

“A good result,” assessed head coach Ryan Oulahen. “I liked our game. It’s a difficult way to play sometimes when you’re in the offensive zone a lot, we did a lot of good things and it challenges your mind and your consistency.

“Probably good for us that there was urgency in the third in terms of a one-goal game and you have to hunker down because that’s the type of hockey you have to play this time of year.

“It feels really good, we haven’t beat that team in seven years, maybe more.”

The Battalion got off to a quick start in this one as Dalyn Wakely (31) from the corner. Wakely, with his goal looking like a carbon copy of many Auston Matthews goals this season, converted on a slick feed from Anthony Romani at the 1:39 mark.

That line continued to click as halfway through the period, Owen Van Steensel shot the puck down the ice from the neutral zone, the bounce off the boards found Romani who dropped it back to Wakely, who found Van Steensel (32) cross ice who had a wide-open net to make it 2-0. At the end of the first, the Troops led Sarnia 17-1 in shots as well.

Making fast starts a part of the story, the Battalion stayed hot early in the second. Off a failed Sarnia clearing attempt, Paul Christopoulos found Romani (46) in front of the net, and he dipsy doodled around Sting netminder Karsen Chartier.

Five minutes into the frame, Sarnia finally got on the board. On their sixth shot of the game, Easton Wainwright (10) found their rebound in front of Dom DiVincentiis, potting it overtop of the netminder putting the score at 3-1.

With 44 seconds remaining in the second, Liam Arnsby dropped the gloves with Hughston Hurt. Arnsby decided to evoke Rocky after taking some crosschecks from Hurt, and the captain took down the aforementioned Hurt rather decisively.

In the third, with Sarnia on the powerplay, the Sting received a gift. Van Steensel grabbed a loose puck in the Battalion corner, backhanded it out in front of the net where it hit Sandis Vilmanis and banked in past DiVincentiis. The goal was credited to Lukas Fischer (6) as he was the last Sarnia player to touch the puck.

However, North Bay continued to push. Andrew LeBlanc (14) gave the Battalion a cushion as he beat Chartier, before Romani (47) and Wakely (32) capped off the scoring late making the final 6-2.

“It was a good sign and we started playing smart hockey,” Oulahen said about the third. “The Arnsby line went out and had some unbelievable forechecking presence and offensive zone time. Just having that push back is key.

“A couple of goals late to make it a lopsided score, but it wasn’t that until late in the game.”

The Battalion will face off against the Niagara IceDogs on Sunday at Memorial Gardens.

“As a group, everybody is going to bring their best when they come in to play us,” said Oulahen. “We know that, and you have to be ready and that’s been the case with Niagara, they have been a tricky team to play.

“We’re looking forward to having a couple of days to rest up in between and be ready to rock Sunday.”

You can catch the Frontline’s North Bay Mitsubishi After Action Report live on Spreaker shortly after the game.