The Kingston Frontenacs beat the Bulls on home ice on Friday night, but lost to the Generals in Oshawa on Friday afternoon. Friday's win pulled the Fronts into a 7th place tie with the Mississauga Steelheads in the Eastern Conference, and 4 points ahead of 9th place Peterborough.
4448 fans watched the Kingston Frontenacs beat the Belleville Bulls for the third time this season, by a 3-1 score. It marked the 3rd time that Kingston starting goalie, Mike Morrison, has beaten the Bulls, and it ended the Bulls' 10 game winning streak.
The first period of Friday's game saw the Bulls win most of the battles for loose pucks, and putting pressure of Kingston's young defense, a strategy which has worked in the last 3 games between these two East Division rivals. That strategy resulted in the Bulls outscoring the Fronts 20-4 in those 3 meetings. The difference on this night was that the Bulls failed to capitalize on their first period chances. Mike Morrison was solid, as the Bulls outshoot the Fronts just 7-6, and led 1-0. Kingston's level of compete rose late in the first period of play, and continued for the rest of the game.
The second period was all Kingston. They outshot the Bulls 20-10 and perhaps caught them off-guard. After all, they had had their way with the Fronts of late. Since the injury to leading scorer, Henri Ikonen, last weekend, coach Todd Gill has tried a number of players to play with rookies Sam Bennett, and Spencer Watson. It was Billy Jenkins turn tonight, and the chemistry seemed to develop early. They buzzed in the Bulls zone for much of the night, but especially in the second period.
It was another rookie, Dylan DiPerna, who opened the scoring for Kingston, just past the 6 minute mark in the 2nd. He let loose a rocket from the right point, which beat Subban cleanly over his shoulder. 16 year old DiPerna has one of the best shots on the team. It was Dylan's 2nd goal of the season. Sam Povorozniouk went high on Subban in the 2nd period's final minute to give Kingston a 2-1 lead at the end of the period. Cody Alcock, and Ryan Kujawinski drew assists.
One thing that has been much improved for the Bulls has been their powerplay, especially during their 10 game winning streak. A coach's message that has clearly gotten through is to stay out of the penalty box. The Frontenacs hadn't taken a minor penalty through 2 periods, and took just two minors in the third, which they managed to kill off.
Rookie, Sam Bennett scored the only goal of the third period. It was an odd goal, as Bennett just put the puck on net from a bad angle, as he spun around near the crease. It eluded Bulls' starter, Malcolm Subban, and the Fronts had a 3-1 lead just prior to the 10 minute mark of the final period. The Frontenacs kept the pressure on in the Bulls zone for most of the 3rd period, and outshot the visitors 30-17 in the final 2 periods, 36-24 overall.
The win, combined with a Petes and Mississauga loss meant that Kingston had moved up to a tie for 7th place with the Steelheads, 4 points up on the 9th place Petes. Coach Todd Gill called the victory a "character win" for his team, and was very pleased with the effort by all of his players.
The Fronts travelled down the 401 to take on another East Division rival, the Oshawa Generals in a Sunday afternoon contest. The Gens were playing good hockey, winning 4 straight, and hoping to close the gap between themselves and the first place Belleville Bulls, who had lost their second game in a row, on home ice, on Saturday night. With a victory, the Gens could pull to within 5 points of the idle Bulls.
Oshawa came out flying in the 1st in front of a big Sunday afternoon crowd (5915). The Gens big bodied forwards went directly to the front of the net and took advantage of a couple of rebounds to take an early 2-0 lead. Bradley Latour (11th) and Lucas Lessio (13th) were able to beat Kingston starter Mike Morrison before the game was 6 minutes old. Morrison couldn't be faulted on either one, as the Fronts couldn't handle the size and strength of Oshawa's forwards.
The Frontenacs seemed to settle down and started to win more of the races to loose puck, and were only outshot Kingston 9-6 in the first.
Mike Morrison had a solid outing for Kingston again against the Generals. Oshawa outshot Kingston 17-8 in the second period. Kingston's Sam Bennett scored a powerplay goal 1:53 of the 2nd period to give the Fronts some life. It looks as though Kingston would escape the period only down one goal, but unfortunately defenseman Matt Petgrave seemed to catch the Fronts napping, as he snapped a shot over Morrison's shoulder with just 6 seconds to go in the 2nd.
The third period was evenly played and very entertaining as each goalie was tested a number of times. Spencer Watson made it interesting with just under 3 mins to play in regulation as he beat Gens' starter Daniel Altshuller on a rebound. Despite their best efforts to tie it up in regulation, it was too little, too late for Kingston, and Fronts' killer, Boone Jenner iced it, with an empty netter, to make the final score 4-2 for the Generals.
Fortunately for the Fronts, the Petes were beaten in the Soo, and Plymouth shut out the Steelheads in Mississauga, so Kingston had not lost any ground on their nearest competitors. Coach Gill has to be pleased with the level of compete amongst his players this weekend, although some of the vets have stopped scoring of late, and the team is relying on rookies to carry the offensive load. In order for Kingston to do well down the stretch, and secure a playoff spot this year, they will need more offensive contribution from captain Cody Alcock, last year's leading scorer, Darcy Greenaway, and NHL draft prospect, Ryan Kujawinski.
The Fronts will be in Peterborough on Thursday night for a huge matchup with the Petes. They will return home, on Friday night, for a rematch with the Oshawa Generals. They finish a busy weekend, with another huge matchup with Mississauga on home ice, on Sunday afternoon, followed by the make-up game with the Bulls on Monday night, at K-Rock Centre.