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Julian Fantino wrapped up the preface to the upcoming Ontario Hockey League season with a hat trick on Saturday afternoon.

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The Owen Sound Attack’s 2020 eighth-round pick scored three goals and added an assist to help his club secure a 5-2 victory over the North Bay Battalion.

With the win, Owen Sound finished the preseason with a 2-3 record. The Attack split the two-game series with North Bay and Barrie and lost to Sudbury in the five-game opener.

Assistant attacking coach Joey Hishon said the team is coming together, but it’s far from a fancy product before the regular season schedule.

“There’s still a lot to improve on, but we’ve come a long way since training camp started,” Hishon said. “I think having those 18 months off made it difficult to get back to the heart of the matter. Everyone played individually and not as a team and without any real structure. Tonight, it seemed like we were starting to understand.

Fantino entered training camp as a player no one on the outside would expect to have an indoor track. Now, after impressing the Brass Attack and signing with the club, the Vaughan native finished the preseason with seven points leading the team – four goals and three assists in five games.

He said his last hat trick was in the minor midget two years ago.

“I’m happy to get one now in the OHL after a canceled year. It’s a good feeling and a good team victory today, ”said the 17-year-old.

Fantino’s eventful afternoon actually started with a penalty shot opportunity early in the first period. The winger made a deft move to bring the puck closer and try to find the short end of the net, but Dom DiVincentiis stuck to the post and closed the gate.

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“I was a little shaken to have missed that,” Fantino said after the game.

The Battalion opened the scoring moments later on the power play. Matvey Petrov, the first overall import selection in 2020, pushed far on Igor Chibrikov, fending off the six-foot-seven attacking defender and putting the puck in the net before Kyle Jackson cleared the rebound and dropped him behind. Mack Guzda.

Less than four minutes later, Ethan Burroughs tied the score with a goal that Hishon called “unbelievable” after the game. Line-up for the face-off as the winger closest to the net, Burroughs removed the puck from the draw and spun 180 degrees before throwing a blind backhand into the top corner.

Hishon said Burroughs, Goure and Kaleb Lawrence will have to “charge” for Owen Sound this season.

Fantino scored his first power play goal of the game at 11:02 of the second period. DiVincentiis fired a low, hard shot from import pick Servac Petrovsky straight to Fantino who found himself staring at a wide open cage.

“The puck was spinning right there. I was just trying to calm him down first, ”he said.

After calming the puck, he threw it into the top of the net.

At 9:47 of the third, Fantino’s second goal turned out to be the game-winner. With the tip of his stickblade, Fantino grabbed the disc between several skates in front of the net and picked it up over DiVincentiis and into the net. The soft hands he said he was working on in the offseason, but his positioning was key to the goal.

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“It never hurts when you go to the net,” he said.

Jackson scored his second goal of the game for North Bay at the end of the third period to bring the Battalion down to one point. His low shot beat Guzda after a period of sustained pressure from the team in military green.

“There was no panic,” Fantino said as North Bay built up the pressure late in the game with an additional forward on the ice. “We just had to keep playing our game. We were all over them, passing them, that was a goal. Stick to the game plan, and that’s what we did.

Fantino scored a Petrovsky goal 25 seconds later to restore Owen Sound to a two-goal lead.

An empty net then sealed Owen Sound’s victory and completed Fantino’s hat-trick.

Andrew Perrott notched two assists in the game. Petrovsky had one goal and two assists, while Cédrick Guindon and Cedricson Okitundu each had one assist.

Ty Nelson and Avery Winslow got assists for North Bay in the game, Petrov got two assists.

Guzda made 26 saves on 28 attempted shots while DiVincentiis stopped 31 of 35 shots he faced.

Only 447 fans entered the Saturday afternoon contest at Bayshore. Owen Sound is able to accommodate 1,505 fans under current pandemic protocols. Fantino said even with the small crowd he could hear the support.

“I can’t imagine with a full barn. It was incredible, the two games I played here were just good vibes, ”he said.

Owen Sound won both preseason competitions they played at home.

Points will count the next time Owen Sound takes to the ice. The Attack kicks off the 2021-22 regular season on Friday night in London against the Knights, the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. Owen Sound will then host the Knights at the Bayshore on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Servac Petrovsky tries to settle the puck and get a net shot attempt while alone against North Bay goaltender Dom DiVincentiis as the Owen Sound Attack host North Bay in their pre-season final at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Center Saturday afternoon.  Greg Cowan / The Sun Times
Servac Petrovsky tries to settle the puck and get a net shot attempt while alone against North Bay goaltender Dom DiVincentiis as the Owen Sound Attack host North Bay in their pre-season final at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Center Saturday afternoon. Greg Cowan / The Sun Times
Sam Sedley walks away from Alex Christopoulos who tries to hang on as the host of the Owen Sound attack in North Bay during their preseason final at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Center on Saturday afternoon.  Greg Cowan / The Sun Times
Sam Sedley walks away from Alex Christopoulos who tries to hang on as the host of the Owen Sound attack in North Bay during their preseason final at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Center on Saturday afternoon. Greg Cowan / The Sun Times
Mack Guzda keeps an eye on the puck as it bounces in front of the net as the Owen Sound Attack host North Bay in their preseason final at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Center on Saturday afternoon.  Greg Cowan / The Sun Times
Mack Guzda keeps an eye on the puck as it bounces in front of the net as the Owen Sound Attack host North Bay in their preseason final at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Center on Saturday afternoon. Greg Cowan / The Sun Times
Colby Barlow contorts his body in an attempt to shoot as Avery Winslow (No 8) drops to his knees to block as the Owen Sound attack hosts North Bay in their pre-season finale at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Center Saturday afternoon.  Greg Cowan / The Sun Times
Colby Barlow contorts his body in an attempt to shoot as Avery Winslow (No 8) drops to his knees to block as the Owen Sound attack hosts North Bay in their pre-season finale at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Center Saturday afternoon. Greg Cowan / The Sun Times

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