Pictured is Kingston Frontenacs' forward Ryan Kujawinski who had a great week with the Fronts in the absence of some key players this past week.
The Kingston Frontenacs have started off the 2013 portion of their season with a bang. They split an intense home and home with the Ottawa 67s, followed by a big home ice victory over the Oshawa Generals, and a home SO win against the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds on Sunday afternoon.
Ryan Kujawinski was given consideration for the OHL player of the week, with his offensive explosion in the 4 games this week for the Fronts. He scored a hat trick and had an assist in Kingston's 7-5 victory in Ottawa, then followed it up by scoring a goal and an assist in each of the team's next two games. Ryan is the only Front to have played all 39 games on the season for the team. Henri Ikonen had a terrific week, as well.
On New Years Eve Day, Kingston visited the 67's in Ottawa. The Fronts were without Roland McKeown, Dylan DiPerna, Sam Bennett, and Spencer Watson, who were with Team Ontario in the U-17 tournament in Quebec. Billy Jenkins continues to battle headaches from a concussion suffered prior to Christmas, so he was scratched, as well. Braydon Blight, and Matt Watson were call ups for this game, and the rematch in Kingston on January 1st, as well.
Ryan Kujawinski continues to play his best hockey since being obtained one year ago, from the Sarnia Sting, in the exchange for Ryan Spooner, who will soon be attending the Boston Bruins' training camp. Kujawinski scored 3 goals and had an assist to lead the Fronts to a 7-5 victory at Scotiabank Place in front of just over 7600 fans.
Sean Monahan opened the scoring for the 67s just over 4 mins into the game, but Fronts' rookie, Mikko Vainonen tied it up 3 mins later, on a Kingston powerplay. Kingston went 2-4 on their PP on the afternoon. The Frontenacs' powerplay has been better of late, but still ranks 13th in the OHL, at just over 18% efficiency. Before the end of the period, Kujawinski would tally to put Kingston up 2-1, after 1. It was Ryan's first goal in a 15 game span.
The 2nd period was all Ottawa, as they outscored the Fronts 3-0. Cody Ceci, Steven Janes, and Trevor Dulong, with his first OHL goal, scored for the 67s, to give Ottawa a 4-2 lead, going into the 3rd period. No lead is safe in the season series between these two teams, and you had the feeling that 4-2 wouldn't be the final score.
Kujawinski lead his team in the third period, tallying twice and assisting on Henri Ikonen's game tying goal at 14:27. Luke Hietkamp scored a minute later to give the Fronts a 6-5 lead, and Ikonen scored an empty netter, to seal the deal with 30 seconds left in the game. Mike Morrison stopped 34 of 39 shots for the victory, his third of the season over the 67s. Jacob Blair suffered the loss in the Ottawa net.
Kingston hosted the 67s on New Years Day. As expected the teams were much more conscientious defensively in this one. Colin Furlong got the start for Kingston, looking for his first win over Ottawa, in his third try this season.
Tyler Graovac, in what turned out to be his last game as a 67, led them to 4-3 win, with 2 goals, including the game winner with 9 seconds left in the game. Graovac had an assist on Ottawa's 3rd goal, in the last minute of the 2nd period, as well, in front of 3,832 fans at K-Rock. Graovac was a minus-3 against Kujawinski's line the day before. Tyler broke out of an 11 game goal scoring slump in this one.
Kingston had plenty of early pressure on Ottawa's Jacob Blair, as Ottawa took a 2-0 lead. Ryan Kujawinski notched his fourth goal in five periods against the 67s, and captain Cody Alcock tied it in the second, with his 12th of the season, but former Front, and Ottawa overager, Mike Cajkovsky gave the 67s a 3-2 lead prior to the end of the 2nd, on a powerplay.
Kujawinski set up Sam Povorozniouk for the equalizer with 3:30 left in the 3rd, but a defensive breakdown allowed Graovac to break the Fronts' supporter's hearts with 9 seconds remaining. This would be the last goal Graovac would score for the Barberpoles, as he was traded to the Bulls on January 5th.
Kingston hosted a depleted Oshawa Generals squad on Friday night, at K-Rock. Boone Jenner (Canada), Tyler Biggs (USA) and Sebastian Uvira (Germany) hadn't yet returned from the WJC in Russia.
Kingston opened a 5-1 lead on the Gens, and never looked back in a 6-3 win. Ryan Kujawinski scored shorthanded to get the ball rolling in the 1st, and Marc Beckstead made the score 2-1 at the end of the 1st.
Sam Schutt, and Cody Alcock scored in the second frame, and Henri Ikonen early in the third to give the Fronts a 5-1 lead, and put the game out of reach. Kingston's penalty killing continued to let the Fronts' down, as Scott Laughton, and Cole Cassells scored back to back PP goals in the third, before Luke Hietkamp scored into an empty net, to make the final 6-3 Kingston.
Kingston kept the pressure on from start to finish in this one, and gained a valuable two points against their division rivals on Friday night.
The Frontenacs hosted the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds on Sunday afternoon. They had DiPerna, Watson, Bennett, and McKeown back in the lineup. Prior to this game, Braydon Blight, and Matt Watson were sent back to their Tier 2 teams.
It didn't take long for the Fronts' rookies to make an impact in this one. Roland McKeown blasted one from the point which beat the Soo's goalie cleanly, to give Kingston a 1-0 lead. Sam Bennett would draw one of the assists. Despite being outshot 14-6, Kingston lead this one 1-0, after 1.
Defenseman, Ryan Sproul slapped one from the point past Morrison early in the 2nd to tie it up, on a SSM PP. Rookie, Trent Mallette scored his third of the season, on a "seeing eye shot" which beat Morrison on the short side. Kingston would tally two goals in short order to take a 3-2 lead into the 2nd intermission, despite being outshot 29-18. Alcock, and Povorozniouk would beat Justin Nichols.
The resilient Greyhounds would tie it on Tyler Gaudet's first OHL goal 5 mins into the 3rd. The chances were few and far between in the third, as Kgn outshot SSM 8-4. Overtime would solve nothing, and the teams went to a SO.
The only player to score in the SO was Henri Ikonen, sending the Frontenacs' faithful home happy, for the second time this weekend.
Kingston ended the week with 6 out of 8 points, which is a good thing because it doesn't get any easier for the Frontenacs next weekend.
On Friday night, Kingston takes on their division rival, the Belleville Bulls, with newly acquired sniper, and Front killer, this year, Tyler Graovac in their lineup. On Saturday night, Kingston will face two familiar faces again in Owen Sound, since Cody Ceci and Steven Janes were recently traded from the 67s to the Attack. The weekend ends on Sunday afternoon, with another difficult test in Guelph, against the Storm.