A third straight win for the North Bay Battalion and maybe their most convincing in this recent stretch as they piled on the points in Peterborough picking up a 7-3 win on Saturday night.
It was the first time the Battalion were visiting Peterborough since Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals last season when the Petes beat the Troops 4-3 in overtime to force a game seven, which they won in North Bay to clinch their spot in the OHL finals, and the Battalion came out looking for some revenge not only for that loss, but to also make up for their 6-5 loss in overtime to the Petes just a few weeks ago on November 16th in North Bay.
You can't play a much better first period on the road than how the Troops played in this game scoring six goals, yes you read that right, SIX goals in the opening 20 minutes.
Justin Ertel (10) opened the scoring at 1:05 of the first, receiving a pass from Liam Arnsby off the far side boards. Ertel was left alone in the slot and rifled a shot passed Peterborough netminder Zach Bowen (6-3-1-0) for the early tally.
North Bay (13-8-4-1) added two more in quick succession with Owen Van Steensel (13) doubling the lead at 3:27 and Arnsby (5) making it 3-0 at 4:14.
The Petes got one back as Samuel Mayer (9) scored at 5:33, but it was all Troops all the way for the remaining 15 minutes.
Anthony Romani scored the next two in a row. His first was a shot from above the right circle for his 21st goal of the season during a 4-on-3 power play at 7:25. He would get his 22nd at 15:40 when Ihnat Pazii made a beautiful, backhanded pass from the left circle to a wide open Romani in the slot and he shot high glove side to increase the Troops lead to 5-1.
Romani is now one goal shy of tying his career high of 23 which he set last season. He finished the game as the second star of the night as he racked up an impressive five points with two goals and three assists. He’s got goals in three consecutive games and already has eight points this weekend.
Keeping pace with him is his linemate Van Steensel who potted in the sixth goal of the period, and his second of the game at 19:15 of the first. Van Steensel would get the top star honours as he would finish with a four point night, picking up his second hat-trick of the season, when he added a goal later in the third period.
Van Steensel has also scored in three straight games and has five goals over that span.
Easily the highlight of the night, as Van Steensel completely fooled goaltender Liam Sztuska (who came into the game to start the second period). He had the puck in front of the net and pulled it around the goaltender, then Van Steensel put it through his own legs and lifted it behind the back of Sztuska.
I’m not doing it justice, just click the link.
Van Steensel’s third of the game (15th of the season) came at 3:01 of the third period and it was the lone goal the Troops scored outside of their six goal barrage in the first. As noted, Sztuska came in relief of Bowen and proceeded to make 25 saves on 26 shots through 40 minutes of ice time.
On the Troops end of the ice Charlie Robertson looked good in a game that looked like it could’ve been over in the first, but the Petes tried their hardest to make a game out of it. The plastered Robertson with 40 total shots, just three less than the Battalion’s total, and he made 37 saves to improve his record to 3-2-3-1 in his 10 games played.
In the second period, the Petes looked like they had some life and some momentum coming their way. Mayer added his second of the game (10th of the season) at 13:08, and with a minute left in the period, Owen Beck (18) cut the lead in half to 6-3 at 19:00. Robertson faced 20 shots in the second period alone, allowing those two goals but he rebounded in the third and stifled the Petes making all 11 saves necessary to not let them creep even further back into the contest.
The Battalion went 1/3 on the power play and stopped all three of the Petes power play chances in front of 3868 fans at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.
The Battalion have one game left to finish off this five-game road trip, and that takes place tomorrow afternoon when they visit the 67’s in Ottawa. The Battalion are 3-1-0-0 on this current trip to improve their road record to 8-3-3-1 with 20 points, the second most points by a road team this season in the entire OHL, and the most in the Eastern Conference.
The win also ties the Battalion with the Mississauga Steelheads with 31 points and a share of the Central Division lead and both teams will be in action on Sunday.