Wednesday Highlights: Troops fighting to the finish
NORTH BAY 4 – SUDBURY 2
Overage winger Steve Harland (26, 27) scored twice and rookie Rhys Forhan scored the game winner with 3:15 left in the second period as the North Bay Battalion defeated the visiting Sudbury Wolves 4-2. The win puts the Troops into an eighth place tie with the Niagara IceDogs for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference while they trail Sudbury by just one point for seventh and Ottawa by two for sixth. Daniil Vertiy (13) also scored for North Bay while goaltender Brent Moran made 32 saves and Brad Chenier gathered two assists.. The Troops have won four of their six meetings against Sudbury this season with two more remaining on the schedule. Drake Pilon (5) and Zach Wilkie (3) scored for Sudbury as the Wolves’ woes continue having won just once in their past 10 games.
SAGINAW 5 – FLINT 4 – SO
Evan Cormier stopped Ryan Moore to secure a 5-4 road shootout win for the Saginaw Spirit, but the Flint Firebirds clinched their first ever OHL Playoff berth with a point in the process. Flint also wins the I-75 Divide Cup between the two clubs for a second straight year. Spirit blueliner Marcus Crawford set up the game-tying goal late in the third period before winning the game in a shootout to keep Saginaw’s playoff hopes afloat. With a Sarnia loss in Sault Ste. Marie, the Spirit are six points back of the Sting with a game in hand. Matthew Kreis (11), Kris Bennett (23, 24) and Crawford (6) all scored for Saginaw while Cormier made 37 saves. Flint goals came from Everett Clark (14), Ty Dellandrea (13), Nicholas Caamano (30) and Ryan Moore (39) while Connor Hicks made 39 saves. The Firebirds sit just two points back of sixth place Kitchener as both teams have five games remaining on the schedule.
SAULT STE. MARIE 6 – SARNIA 3
Overage veteran Bobby MacIntyre (24, 25) scored twice while Boris Katchouk (30) and Morgan Frost (18) each had a goal and two assists as the Soo Greyhounds doubled up visiting Sarnia 6-3 for their third straight win. Colton White (6) and Jack Kopacka (28) also had goals while Conor Timmins netted two assists, becoming the first Hounds defenceman since Jake Muzzin in 2010 to record 50 in a season. Reigning Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week Matthew Villalta made 18 saves to record his 23rd win of the season, being beaten three times on Sarnia shots from Anthony Salinitri (24) and Drake Rymsha (31, 32). The Greyhounds outshot the Sting 39-21 and improve to 4-2 against Sarnia on the season. The Greyhounds are one point back of the Erie Otters for first place in the Western Conference while Sarnia holds a six point lead on ninth place Saginaw with four games remaining.