The first of two OHL conference finals has come to an end as the North Bay Battalion finished off the Oshawa Generals on Wednesday night. The Battalion managed to sweep the Generals in the Conference Finals, booking them a trip to the OHL championships and moving them a step closer to Memorial Cup action.
After a game 7 in the first round, the Battalion had little trouble advancing past their next two opponents following their seventh place OHL season. They sent the Generals packing with a 3-2 win in game four to sweep to the Eastern Conference
Now if the North Bay Battalion sound different to you, they moved from Brampton at the start of this season and kept the Battalion name. They went from the Brampton Battalion to the North Bay Battalion and have spoiled their fans in their first year in North Bay. The positive thing about the gut wrenching move for Brampton, is the fact the North Bay arena is filled with 4,000-5,000 every night for the Battalion while in Brampton they had trouble getting more than 100 people to show up and support their team.
Battalion centre and penalty killing specialist Jamie Lewis secured the win for the Battalion in game four. He scored the third goal with just over 5 minutes left int he game. Lewis had been previously on the snide scoring just his 2nd goal in the last 3 months, hopefully the big game winner will spark the committed penalty killer going forward.
The North Bay Battalion entered the playoffs, and will enter the OHL championships as the underdogs. They have no forwards who finished in the top 40-goal scoring, finished 7th after the regular season and have just 5 players who have been drafted by the NHL on their roster. However, led by their captain Barclay Goodrow who scored 5 goals during the series, they have soared through the playoffs.
They’ve been relying on the 18 year-old Jake Smith to backstop their unlikely playoff run and he has not disappointed, posting a 2.01 goals against average and .919 save percentage.
With their captain leading the way, some solid goaltender and the return of 15 veterans, the former Brampton Battalion are looking mighty in these playoffs. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain as they head into the OHL Championships playing either Erie or Guelph. The underdog Battalion have now become punishing and feared foes in their playoff run, can they pull off one more dramatic series win and force a Memorial Cup birth?