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North Bay Battalion out of the finals in Game 7

Battalion season ends in the Eastern Conference Finals for a third straight season

OSHAWA - The comeback for the North Bay Battalion fell just short as the Troops lose in the Eastern Conference finals for a third straight season, dropping game seven 6-1 to the Oshawa Generals.  

The Battalion were 90 seconds away from being eliminated in game four of the series, but not only avoided being swept, they won three straight elimination games to force the decisive game seven, but for the third straight year, their season comes to an end in the Eastern Conference Finals.   

Oshawa jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first with David Bedowski scoring his first career playoff goal at 14:07.  

The second period has been a turning point all series for the Oshawa and it proved to be a big period again for the home side.  

After the Battalion had a good push, getting quality chances on net, the Generals blocked a shot and got it down the ice, setting up their second goal of the game. Luca Marrelli found a wide-open Rasmus Kumpulainen (3) in the slot, and he put his shot past McIvor at 10:53. 

Four minutes later, the Generals put together another rush into the zone with Calum Ritchie sending a pass from the boards to Stuart Rolofs, who flipped it from the near side circle to a wide-open Connor Lockhart who came into the zone late, picked up the pass and fired in the one-timer for his sixth goal of the post-season and a 3-0 Generals lead at 15:03.  

After Dylan Roobroeck (9) made it 4-0 with a goal at 2:08 of the third period, the Troops were in a hole that was too big to climb out of.  

Jacob LeBlanc (1) scored the only goal of the game for the Battalion with his goal coming at 5:51 off a big blast from the point.  

Oshawa added two empty net goals from Roobroeck (10) at 16:51 and Ethan Toms (1) at 19:39 to round out the scoring.  

“The game is what it is,” says Battalion Head Coach Ryan Oulahen. “I really just want to talk about how special this hockey team is.” 

Oulahen says just to get to this point of the playoffs was a true testament to the resilience of this group.  

“I’m sure we all went home after game two against Kingston thinking, ‘how is the rest of this playoff run going to go?’ that was the night when arguably one of the best goaltenders in Canada Dom DiVincentiis was out, and we knew our 58-goal scorer Anthony Romani was also going to be out for a significant amount of time. Our guys rallied around everything. I’m just so impressed with our guys and there were a lot of years building up to this, and a lot of things changed when Liam Arnsby got drafted. He came in, we knew he was going to be our captain and he turned the culture around, making this a destination for players to want to play major junior hockey.” 

Arnsby joined Oulahen in the post-game press conference and says, “I think we showed this year what we have built here. The young guys stepped up, helping us win games in overtime, helping us come back from being down three-nothing. They are going to do well in the near future.” 

Arnsby’s line had some of the best chances of the game, especially as they came out flying in the first period. Arnsby and his linemates Justin Ertel and Sandis Vilmanis got several shots on Oshawa Goaltender Jacob Oster, making him move around and have to get creative to keep the puck out of the net, while his defence scrambled to push the Battalion out of the good scoring areas.  

“Oster was incredible tonight, he set the tone right off the hop stopping a couple of scoring chances. He set the tone for the game right there and led the way in shutting down North Bay tonight,” says Oshawa Head Coach Derek Laxdal.  

“Give the kids a lot of credit, they believed they could win game seven today.” 

Rookie Goaltender Mike McIvor made 27 saves in the loss, ending what has been a tremendous playoff run, getting called into action in that second game against Kingston and coming up with huge saves throughout the post-season to get the Battalion to the very end.  

The Battalion managed 25 shots on Oster while going 0/1 on the power play, while the Generals never received a man advantage opportunity in front of 5,694 at the Tribute Communities Centre.  

From disposing of Kingston in five games, to dismantling Sudbury in four straight, to almost overcoming a three-nothing deficit to nearly performing the reverse sweep, the Battalion of 2023-24 is a team that Oulahen says won't soon be forgotten.  

“We’ve made this a team to be proud of and made this a destination where kids want to play. We’ve done that over these last three years and I’m so proud of our team, our players and while we came up just a little bit short again, it’s going to go down on record that this is a team people are talking about for decades.” 


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Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
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