Fronts' Weekend in Review
Pictured is Kingston Frontenacs' head coach Todd Gill.
The Kingston Frontenacs played host to the Plymouth Whalers onFriday night. The Whalers are coming off of a 2-1 victory in Peterborough the night before. This was their first road victory of theseason. Matt Mahalak got the start again for the Whalers. Mike Morrison got the call for theFrontenacs.
The Whalers came out flying in the 1st period, hitting everythingin sight. Kingston tried to match theiraggressiveness and found themselves in penalty trouble, early on. Just 4 seconds shy of the 4 minute mark,Swedish defenseman, Simon Karlsson banged in a rebound, for his first OHL goal,on the powerplay.
Trevor Morbeck tied the game on a Frontenacs' powerplay two and ahalf minutes later, to give the lively crowd a lift. Moffat and Kujawinski drew the assists. Onthe play, Whalers goalie stopped the initial point shot from defenseman,Moffat, but gave up a juicy rebound that Morbeck was able to steer aroundMahalak.
Kingston would give up two quick goals, the first a beautiful tictac toe passing play, at the end of which Garrett Meurs would tally his 4th ofthe season, from Tom Wilson, and Connor Carrick. This was also a powerplay goal. Plymouth's big line would tally at evenstrength a few minutes later to give the visitors a 3-1 lead. Sens prospect, Stefan Noesen would finish,from Tom Wilson, and Rickard Rakell. The period ended with the Whalers up 3-1.
The second period saw the Frontenacs stop skating, especially intheir own zone. The Whalers seemed tofree-wheel in the Fronts' zone, and take shots on a surrounded Mike Morrisonfrom all angles. The lone bright spotfor the Frontenacs was a nice rush down the right side by Kingston's firstround pick, Roland McKeown. He used SamBennett as a decoy and snapped a wrist shot over the glove of Mahalak. It was 3-2, temporarily.
The Whalers would pump in the next 5 goals in a row, to make it alaugher.
The final score was 8-3, after Darcy Greenaway scored a lategoal. Lost in the result was a two pointnight for Roland McKeown (1g, 1a) and Michael Moffat (2a).
Next up for the Fronts were two tough road games, in St.Catharines, against the Ice Dogs, and in Kitchener.
The Frontenacs responded with a strong effort against a very goodIce Dogs team losing 4-2, on Saturday night. They started the game strong withfirst period goals by Billy Jenkins, and Trevor Morbeck, but they continued togive up goals in bunches, and before the end of the period, Niagara had tiedit. The second Ice Dogs' goal came at19:59 of the first period, which seemed to deflate the young Fronts, and theycouldn't respond, at least not offensively.
Brett Richie scored his second goal of the night, the only goal inthe 2nd period, as this time, he tipped home a Dougie Hamilton point shot, togive the Ice Dogs their first lead of the night. The Fronts were ahead in the shot clock 25-24after two periods, but were behind 3-2.
Niagara came out strong in the third, and managed to score theirinsurance goal into an empty net with 6 seconds to play. The Dogs outshot the Fronts 17-12 in thethird, and 41-37 overall. The Fronts were 0-2 on the PP and the Dogs were 1-4,in a cleanly played game.
Kingston waited around until 7 PM on Sunday to play the KitchenerRangers, their third game in 3 days. Kitchener was looking for revenge after the Frontenacs had beaten them 9days before, in Kingston. The Rangerswere pumped to play, only their 2nd game at home of the season, in front ofanother big crowd.
The Rangers came out flying, much to the delight of over 6900fans. The game remained scoreless untiljust past the 15 minute mark when the Rangers' Tobias Reider would tally his5th of the season, on a Rangers' powerplay. Former Pete, Matt Puempel started the play, by putting the first shot ongoal. Justin Bailey would tally hisfirst OHL goal, and first of 2 on the night, with 3 minutes gone in the second,to extend the lead to 2-0. Radek Faksawould give the Rangers a 3-0 lead, shortly after, another powerplay goal.
Kingston would show signs of life with two quick goals, with lessthan 5 minutes left in the 2nd. Rookiewinger, Marc Beckstead would score on the powerplay, on a nice feed from BillyJenkins. Jenkins would set up the next Kingston goal, as well, as he directed apass to Trevor Morbeck who would wire one off of Rangers' goalie, John Gibson'sshoulder, and into the net. It was 3-2.Unfortunately, the Rangers' powerplay would connect again, as Ryan Murphyscored his second of the season.
Bailey tallied his second of the game, and of his OHL career midway through the third, to make the final score 5-2 Kitchener.
Penalty killing really let the Fronts' down this weekend, as theWhalers were 2-4, the Ice Dogs 1-4, and the Rangers 3-6. This translates into a dismal 57% successrate on the PK, which will lose a lot of hockey games.
On Monday, the Frontenacs traded long time character player, NathanCull to the Sudbury Wolves for right winger Samuel Schutt. A second round draftpick of the Fronts in 2010, Cull played 124 games for Kingston, which made himthe longest serving player under GM Doug Gilmour's watch, at 18 yrs ofage. Schutt was chosen in the secondround of 2010, by the Wolves, 10 spots after Nathan. He played in 134 gameswith Sudbury, and is also 18 yrs old.
The Ottawa 67's will make their first visit to K-Rock on Fridaynight, followed by a trip to Belleville on Saturday night. Kingston will then travel to Scotiabank Placein Kanata to face the 67's at 10:30 AM, for the annual School Kid's game. Thiswill be the first time that Kingston will play their closest rivals thisseason, and I expect coach Gill will have them ready to go!