Goaltender Dom DiVincentiis made 27 saves to backstop the North Bay Battalion to a 4-0 victory Sunday over the London Knights, giving the Troops a six-game winning streak and shutouts in four of their last five Ontario Hockey League games.
Anthony Romani scored one goal and added an assist, and Kyle McDonald, Kyle Jackson and Liam Arnsby, into an empty net, provided a goal apiece for North Bay, which improved its won-lost-extended record to 43-17-3 for 89 points, first in the Central Division and second in the Eastern Conference and league.
Ty Nelson contributed two assists as the Troops completed a sweep of the teams’s two-game series before a season-high crowd of 3,467 at Memorial Gardens.
With 48 assists, Nelson set a record for assists in a season by a Battalion defenceman in the North Bay era. Cam Dineen had 46 in 2015-16. Michael Vernace posted the franchise record of 62 assists in 2005-06 when the club was based in Brampton. Nelson now holds the rearguard records in North Bay for single-season and career goals, assists and points.
The Battalion’s 43 wins equal the franchise record as North Bay, set last season. The overall franchise mark is 47 wins, in 2008-09 when the club played in Brampton.
DiVincentiis, who has registered four shutouts this season, has 48 career wins, sixth-most in franchise history, one more than Daren Machesney, and second in the North Bay era to Jake Smith’s 81.
With Charlie Robertson having blanked the host Oshawa Generals 3-0 Friday night, the Battalion has two consecutive shutouts for the second time in the last five games, with the only goal allowed in that time scored by the visiting Owen Sound Attack in a 4-1 loss to DiVincentiis last Wednesday night. Robertson and DiVincentiis have two shutouts apiece in the span.
Goaltender Brett Brochu faced 26 shots for London, 42-18-2 for 86 points, first in the Midwest Division and tied with the Windsor Spitfires for first place in the Western Conference.
North Bay jumped to a 2-0 first-period lead, sparked by Romani at 6:28 when he grabbed the puck off a weird bounce and moved in on the right wing, delaying a shot before depositing the puck past Brochu. It was Romani’s 20th goal of the season.
McDonald struck 28 seconds later off an odd-man rush, taking a back pass from Josh Bloom at the top of the right circle and firing the puck home. Nelson had the other assist on McDonald’s team-leading 31st goal in just 40 games.
Jackson scored his 30th goal at 6:03 of the second frame, gauging a drive from the top of the right circle and wiring the puck behind Brochu. Matvey Petrov, who celebrated his 20th birthday, and Romani had assists.
Nikita Tarasevich missed the empty net from close range but retrieved the puck off the end boards and fed Arnsby for his 11th goal at 18:21 of the third period, after which the Knights resorted to thuggery, precipitating a rash of fights and penalties.
Easton Cowen grabbbed Tarasevich and Logan Mailloux attacked Arnsby, with all four receiving majors. Mailloux also drew slashing and instigating minors and two game misconducts, while London’s Oliver Bonk and Alexander Lukin of the Battalion were assessed misconducts.
The Battalion plays host to the Peterborough Petes at 7 p.m. Thursday on Kenny U-Pull Night.
BATTALION BULLETS: On Cascades Casino North Bay Day, fans brought non-perishable items for the North Bay Food Bank. “Free plays” at the casino were awarded, and a spin-the-wheel game afforded prizes, as did an intermission promotion … The game was the seventh of eight straight on the road for the Knights, who last played at home Feb. 24 in a 4-3 win via shootout over the Sarnia Sting. Curlers took over Budweiser Gardens for the Tim Hortons Brier, the Canadian men’s championship, for 10 days ending Sunday … The Battalion captured the teams’ other meeting 4-3 on Oct. 28 at London as Justin Ertel, who also had an assist, broke a 3-3 tie with an unassisted shorthanded goal at 8:41 of the third period … The Battalion completed its schedule against Western Conference teams with a record of 13-8-1 … McDonald has a six-game points streak during which he has five goals and two assists for seven points … Tarasevich has a four-game points streak in which he has two goals and two assists for four points … The Battalion went 0-for-3 on the power play. London was 0-for-2 … The Battalion scratched Tnias Mathurin, Brayden Turley, Ertel, Luc Brzustowski and Dalyn Wakely, who was sick … London dressed 10 forwards and eight defencemen, including Connor Federkow, who was deployed at right wing. Among the missing were Ryan Del Monte, Denver Barkey and Landon Sim.