When Kingston scored to tie the game in the second period to make it 5-5, it was the result of a weird and quite frankly baffling call by the officiating crew. With the North Bay Battalion on the power play, Christopher Thibodeau went on a breakaway, but was clipped in the slot and slid towards goaltender Dom DiVincentiis, knocking him out of position. Should it have been a penalty shot? Probably. A penalty? Most definitely. But a goal? Not sure how they came to that decision but they did because as Thibodeau (8) slid into DiVincentiis, the puck followed him into the crease and then was lost under both players. Then they knocked the net out of position. Then the whistle blew. After all that, the puck appeared from under the players and made its way across the goal line. Somehow, they deemed it to be a good goal – and that sums up the kind of wild and wacky game that took place in Kingston on Friday night in an 8-6 win for North Bay to give them back-to-back victories on the road.
Speaking with the OHL tonight broadcast after the game, the teams leading scorer Anthony Romani said, “We got some good bounces to go our way today and the pucks were going in the net for us.”
That goal could’ve been the momentum swing Kingston needed to take over the game, but the Troops scored with ten seconds left in the period on a Dalyn Wakely goal, his ninth of the season, off a one-timer set up perfectly by Romani to put North Bay back ahead 6-5.
That was the seventh goal of the period combined by the two teams. Along with Wakely scoring and Thibodeau being awarded a goal, the two teams exchanged chances throughout the middle frame.
It started with Brice Cook (5) scoring unassisted at 3:11 to get the Battalion to within a goal, making it 3-2 after the Troops found themselves down 3-1 through 20 minutes. 38 seconds later Dylan Richter scored his first as a member of the Battalion to tie the game 3-3 at 3:49 of the second period.
Jacob Battaglia (10) regained the lead for Kingston with a power play goal at 7:24.
But Anthony Romani (20) put his team back on even footing with a power play goal for the visiting side at 10:56.
Romani finished as the games second star, recording a goal and two assists while his linemate Wakely finished as the first star with the same stat line. Romani talked about the pairs chemistry saying, “We’ve been playing together for the last three years and so our chemistry is great. He finds me, I find him and he’s a great player.”
The Troops received another power play advantage shortly after but weren’t able to generate many chances until a bad play by the Frontenacs Nathan Poole would end up getting the third-year forward tossed from the game. There was a big hit thrown from a Battalion player on Kingston’s Maleek McGowan, so in retaliation, Poole threw a cross-check right across Jacob Therrien’s head. The Battalion forward went down and was slow to get up as Poole was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct after a video review.
Now armed with a two-man advantage, the Battalion pounced and Ty Nelson (11) blasted a shot from the point to give North Bay their first lead of the night, 5-4 at 14:22. The Nelson goal preceded the Thibodeau and Wakely markers.
The goal by Wakely at the end of the second was the sixth goal on just 18 shots that Mason Vaccari faced and he would not come out to start the third period, being lifted for JJ Salajko who was making just his third career OHL appearance.
North Bay couldn’t keep the momentum going into the third and the Frontenacs would tie the game again just over three minutes into the third when Battaglia was left wide open at the side of the net and tapped in a loose puck that got behind DiVincentiis (RECORD) as Battaglia got his second of the game for the 6-6 tie.
The game winning goal came at 11:13 when Ihnat Pazii (who just made an appearance on the Frontline Podcast) scored his fifth of the season, coming down the left-wing side and beating Salajko (1-2-0) on the glove side sending it just over the shoulder of the Kingston netminder.
The Troops added another on an empty net goal by Justin Ertel (9) at 19:48.
It was teddy bear toss night at the Leon’s Centre in Kingston, and the Frontenacs got the bears flying early when they opened the scoring just over five minutes into the game when Paul Ludwinski got his 11th of the season to make it 1-0 Kingston allowing the fans in attendance to start littering the ice with teddy bears to celebrate the holiday season tradition that allows teams around the league to collect the stuffed bears and donate them to a local charity of the teams choice, ensuring families in need have a wonderful holiday season.
Kingston would add two more before the end of the period with St. Louis Blues prospect Quinton Burns (2) and Buffalo Sabres prospect Ethan Miedema (8) scoring goals at 11:01 and 18:54 respectively.
Those came after the Battalion had tied the game at 9:34. Owen Van Steensel made it 1-1 with his 12th goal of the season. That’s a new career high for the 2020 fourth round draft pick (#63 Overall by North Bay) who is also well on pace to surpass his career high of 34 points which he set in his rookie season in 2021-22.
Romani talked about overcoming a slow start and getting back into the game despite being down 3-1. He said, “We have a really good team and the offence is coming along right now. After the first period we just had a talk in the room about what we need to do better. We drew some penalties, got some big goals and we just kept playing hard on them.”
A 5-1 Mississauga win over the London Knights keeps the Steelheads two points ahead in the race for the top spot in the Central Division, but the Troops are 6-3-0-1 in their last ten.
Ertel and Nelson also had three-point nights with a goal and a pair of assists each while DiVincentiis (7-5-1-0) made 29 stops on 35 shots. The Battalion went 2/3 on the power play, recording 27 shots on net, while also going 2/3 on the penalty kill in front of 3561 fans at the Leon’s Centre.
The Troops are back in action on Saturday evening when they visit the Peterborough Petes for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop.