Pictured is Frontenacs' rookie forward Henri Ikonen who scored three times and had five assists this weekend to lead them to two victories.
Kingston started the weekend in Sudbury, on Friday night, travelled to Sault Ste Marie, on Saturday night, then on to Mississauga for a Family Day, afternoon game, against the Steelheads. Kingston was looking for at least 3 points from their north western road trip, as the Peterborough Petes had pulled to within 2 points of them, by winning on Thursday night.
Sudbury was in the midst of a 15 game stretch where they hadn't lost in regulation time, at home. Dating back to Dec 2nd, the Wolves were 9-0-3-3, so this would be a tough test for the Fronts.
Former Frontenac, Franky Palazzese got the start for the Wolves. He has been great since being part of the blockbuster trade between the Wolves and the Kitchener Rangers. It was a homecoming for Fronts' forward Ryan Kujawinski, as he is a native of nearby Iroquois Falls, and played his Minor Midget for the Nickel City Suns.
Kingston came out flying in this one, and would eventually outshoot the Wolves 23-6 in the first period. The only goal of the period came off the stick of Sam Povorozniouk, who broke up a Sudbury play, and beat Palazzese at 12:52.
Ryan Kujawinski would take a pass from captain, Cody Alcock, and put the Fronts up 2-0 at 2:28 of the 2nd period. It was Ryan's 14th goal of the season. Kingston carried this lead to the dressing room, and the coaching staff had to be happy that they had played with confidence so far, and had stayed out of the penalty box, for the most part.
It looked as though the Fronts would be able to keep the Wolves off the score sheet altogether in this game, but unfortunately a late powerplay chance by the Wolves spoiled Mike Morrison's bid for his 2nd shutout of the season. Jacob Harris scored for the Wolves with 41 seconds left in the game, to pull the Wolves to within one. 26 seconds later, Henri Ikonen would score his 18th of the year into an empty Sudbury net, to seal the victory.
The Fronts travelled to the Soo, hoping for a similar performance in a very tough building to play in. In their last game on home ice, the Greyhounds shut out the Sting 8-0. In order for the Fronts to be successful, they had to stay out of the box, and play good defense, five on five.
Unfortunately for the Fronts, neither of these things happened in a 10-7 loss. Kingston took 25 minutes in penalties, which translated into 8 powerplay opportunities for the Soo. The Greyhounds capitalized on 4 of those chances. Kingston was 3-6 on their powerplay, as well, as this was a night that the goaltending, and defensive zone coverage wasn't nearly good enough, for either team.
The OHL's leading point getter, Nick Cousins, lead the charge for the Greyhounds, with 2 goals and 3 assists. Defenseman, Colin Miller, had a goal and 4 assists, and Brandon Alderson has 2 goals and 2 assists for the Soo.
Henri Ikonen scored twice and had an assist, and Cody Alcock had a goal and two assists for the visitors.
Neither coach was pleased with what Greyhound's coach, Sheldon Keefe referred to as an "ugly game from start to finish." He said he was afraid that his team would look at the standings and expect to roll over the Frontenacs, in light of their one-sided victory over the Sting. Keefe admits to "lighting into his team" during the 2nd intermission, after they had given up a 4-2 lead, and sitting tied at 7 with the Fronts after 2 periods.
The strategy clearly worked as the Greyhounds tightened the defensive screws and limited the Fronts to just 4 shots in the third period, and outscored them 3-0, to take the 10-7 victory.
Kingston was in Mississauga to take on their Conference rival, Steelheads on Family Day. Kingston was 4 points behind them for 7th place in the Eastern Conference, so a victory would be huge. This was the 3rd of 4 games between these teams, each team having won once on their home ice. Kingston won 2-1 in December.
The Steelheads won 4-1 on February 6th, in Mississauga. The difference in that game was clearly the 3 powerplay goals that Mississauga scored, so the Fronts needed to stay out of the box and play sound defensive hockey to win this one.
Probably the most improved player in the OHL this season, Dylan Smoskowitz opened the scoring on a Steelhead powerplay at 9:26 of the first period, his team leading 30th goal and 49th point of the season. In 60 games with the Colts last season Dylan had 3 goals and 6 assists.
Kingston rookie, Spencer Watson tied the game, just over a minute later, on a beautiful set up by Henri Ikonen from behind the Steelhead's net. Watson made no mistake, beating Mississauga's starter, Spencer Martin, high. Roland McKeown drew the other assist on Watson's 13th of the season.
Andrew Goldberg gave the Steelheads the lead depositing a rebound past Fronts' starter Colin Furlong, after he had made the initial save off of a Trevor Carrick point shot. It was 2-1 Mississauga.
In the final minute of the first period, Mike Moffat would score his 3rd of the season on a nice, saucer pass from Ryan Kujawinski, which trickled through Martin's legs, to make the score 2-2 after the first period. Kingston had outshot the Steelheads 9-7.
Spencer Watson gave the Fronts their first lead of the game early in the 2nd period, roofing a wrister over Spencer Martin. The Fronts had a 3-2 lead, and had chased starter Martin. Former Bull, Tyson Teichmann came into the game.
Unfortunately the Fronts took an ill advised penalty moments later and the Steelheads capitalized to tie it up at 3. Kristoff Kontos scored his 12th of the season on the powerplay.
Roland McKeown would give the Fronts a 4-3 lead, which they carried into the second intermission, when he threw a puck on net, which seemed to deflect in off of someone in front of Tyson Teichmann.
One minute and 29 seconds into the third period, Mississauga native, Dylan DiPerna scored his first OHL goal for the Frontenacs to give them a 5-3 lead. Kingston had some traffic in front of Teichmann, who clearly didn't see DiPerna's rocket from the point in time to stop it.
Unfortunately Billy Jenkins was checked hard by Thomas Welsh, who received 5 minutes for interference, as the puck was nowhere near Jenkins. Ryan Kujawinski stood up for his friend and teammate and dropped the gloves with Welsh, and received 2 mins, 5 minutes and a 10 misconduct for being the instigator.
During the time that the teams played 4 on 4, Sam Babintsev scored Mississauga's 4th goal to make it a one goal game again.
Prior to the end of Welsh's major the Fronts would score twice to take a 7-4 lead. Sam Povorozniouk notched his 11th of the year, and Mike Moffat, his 4th, 35 seconds apart. Sam tipped in a Mikko Vainonen point shot, and Moffat deposited a loose puck from the slot past Teichmann. This was to be the end of the offense on this day.
As it turns out, Dylan DiPerna's first OHL goal turns out to be the game winner, as the Fronts defeated the Steelheads 7-4 in Mississauga in an aggressive, action filled contest.
The 3 stars announced in the Hershey Centre in Mississauga were 1. KGN Henri Ikonen (4 assists) 2. MISS Stuart Percy (2 assists) & 3. KGN Sam Bennett (1g & 2a)
Kingston will be back in action on Saturday night, when they travel to St Catharines to battle Ryan Strome, and the Niagara Ice Dogs, and then again in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night to take on, rookie sensation Connor McDavid, and the Otters.
FRONTS' NOTES :
- Henri Ikonen is on fire, recording 3 goals and 5 assists in the 3 game road trip to Sudbury, Sault Ste Marie, and Mississauga. The rookie has taken over the team lead with 46 points in his 52 games this year.
- Dylan DiPerna recorded his 1st OHL goal, in his 36th game of his rookie year, in his hometown of Mississauga. This proved to be the game winner. The defenseman was Kingston's 3rd choice, 23rd overall in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection.
- Billy Jenkins' status isn't immediately known as he was hit hard in the third period of the game in Mississauga. He left the ice under his own power and was seen in the tunnel walking around, after the hit, but did not return to the game.
- Kingston went 3-6 on the powerplay on Saturday night in the Soo, and 3-4 in Mississauga on Monday afternoon.