Kingston Frontenacs Drop Two of Three on the Weekend
Pictured is Darcy Greenaway of the Kingston Frontenacs, who scored the game winning goal on Saturday night, as the Fronts beat the Belleville Bulls.
The Kingston Frontenacs (14-11) were coming into this weekend looking to prove that they could compete with Eastern Conference teams. They were the hottest team in the East in the last 10 games, with a 7-3 record. Head coach, Todd Gill, was pleased with how his team "committed themselves to the game plan" last weekend, on the road. He said that although the rookies have received high praise for their efforts, it was the veterans who led the charge last weekend. He singled out captain, Cody Alcock, leading point getter, Darcy Greenaway, and Michael Moffat, on defense. Greenaway had recorded 9 goals in the month of November, so far, with one more game to be played. The Frontenacs had averaged 3.72 goals scored a game, second only to Barrie (3.9 goals per game) in the Eastern Conference.
The Fronts would search for their 15th win of the season in a home matchup with the Oshawa Generals, on Friday night. Kingston didn't win their 15th game last season until February 4, when they beat the 67s in Ottawa. The difference is they had already lost 32 games by then.
Rather than coming out strong against the Gens, the Fronts played very tentatively, looking to make pretty passes, rather than getting pucks in deep, and using their speed to generate chances in the Oshawa zone.
Coach Gill was disappointed at how the team started the game, in front of a nice crowd of 3705 at K-Rock Centre. He talked after the game about how the team didn't seem willing to pay the price, and sacrifice in order to be successful. He credits the Generals for being the "hungrier" of the two teams, how they were willing to block shots, as if they were the home team. The Fronts were down 2-0 after the first, and 3-0 27 seconds into the 2nd period. The three Oshawa goals were similar, in that the Generals' forwards outmuscled Kingston defenders in front of the goal, and found a way to beat goalie, Mike Morrison.
Kingston lost a key member of their defense six minutes into the first, as Michael Moffat injured his shoulder on a play where he tried to throw his body into Generals' forward, Tyler Biggs. The initial indication is that Moffat will miss 3 weeks with a partially separated shoulder.
Spencer Watson managed to breathe some life into the crowd, just over 16 minutes into the second period. Coach Gill shuffled the lines somewhat, putting Watson on a line with Alcock, and Darcy Greenaway. The three managed to control the puck in the Gens zone long enough on the cycle, to free up Watson, who ripped one past Daniel Altshuller, in the Oshawa goal.
The game remained 3-1, until Darcy Greenaway connected on his team leading, 16th goal of the season, at 8:52 of the 3rd period, after being set up by Alcock. Kingston had no business being within a goal mid way through the period, but they were. The Gens were the better team, on this night, and iced it with Boone Jenner's, OHL leading, 26th goal of the year, into an empty Kingston net, with 5 seconds left in regulation.
With the victory, the Gens moved 7 points in front of the Frontenacs, and into first in the East Division, ahead of Kingston's next opponent, the Belleville Bulls.
The Fronts pulled into the parking lot at the Yardman Arena, on Saturday night, determined to put in a better effort against the Bulls. The teams had split the first two games, both teams shutting out the other on home ice. Malcolm Subban shut out the Fronts on Oct 27th in one of the more entertaining 1-0 games you will ever see. Austen Brassard scored the only goal in this one. Mike Morrison shut out the Bulls 2-0 on November 9th, at K-Rock.
The Bulls were playing shorthanded in this one, without injured Daniil Zharkov, Jake Worrad, and suspended Austen Brassard, and Jake Cardwell. Kingston was without injured Michael Moffat.
Coming into this game the Bulls penalty killers were ranked first in the OHL, successfully killing penalties at a rate of 89.1%. They were ranked dead last in the OHL, however, on the power play, scoring on 14.2% of their chances.
It was clear from the beginning of the game that Kingston was a very different team on this night. They were much more aggressive on the forecheck, and kept things simple. They seemed much quicker on the larger ice surface than they had been, the night before, on home ice.
Kingston outshot Belleville 13-11 in the 1st, and took the lead on rookie, Sam Bennett's 8th goal of the season, at 9:37, of the 1st, on the power play. 21 seconds later, Brendan Gaunce, who was on the DL with a separated shoulder the last time the Fronts were in town, tied it up on a nice rush up the left side. Gaunce wristed a shot over the blocker of Morrison, who had no chance.
Despite being outshot 23-17 in the second period, Kingston would score the only goal, again on the power play, with only 25 seconds left. Darcy Greenaway scored his 17th, off of a rarely, mishandled rebound by Malcolm Subban. Mikko Vainonen fired a low point shot on goal that seemed to handcuff Subban, and bounced out to Greenaway, who calmly deposited into the open goal. Kingston had the lead 2-1 going into the 3rd.
Mike Morrison shut the door in the third, and Billy Jenkins scored into the empty net at 18:36 of the third, to give Kingston their 15th victory of the season.
The Fronts travelled to Brampton to battle the Battalion on Sunday afternoon. Someone forgot to tell them that it was a 2:00 PM start, though, or that's how it seemed. They were beaten to every loose puck, and lost most battles, and were pushed around by a team hungry for a home ice win. Going into the game only 1 point separated the two teams in the Eastern Conference standings. Brampton was 6th, and Kingston 7th.
Brampton outshot the Fronts 20-4 in the first and if not for Mike Morrison, who started his 3rd game in 3 days, the score would have been much worse than 2-0. Patrick Machac scored his 6th of the season 1:30 into the 1st on a Brampton power play. The Fronts looked like they might get out of the period only down one goal, but at 18:55, Brenden Miller made it 2-0, also on a power play.
Rather than move their feet, the Fronts chose to hook, and hold the Battalion, and took 8 minor penalties, to Brampton's 2. This proved costly, as Brampton was 3-7 on the PP.
Former 67, Nicholas Foglia got his 6th of the year, just past the 2 minute mark of the second, on a goal that Morrison would probably like to have back. The puck was poked through Morrison's legs from an impossible angle. This seemed to zap any momentum that the Fronts had going for them. 4th year defenseman, Zack Bell made it 4-0 Battalion, again on a powerplay, before the game was half over.
Kingston did manage to "win the 3rd period" as rookie, Spencer Watson scored his 11th of the season at 11:39, spoiling Matej Machovsky's shutout bid. Watson outworked a couple of Battalion defenders and scored a nice one, but it was too little, too late for Kingston.
The game would end 4-1 Brampton, and mean that Kingston had one win and two losses on the weekend. They remain 7th in the Conference, four points ahead of the 8th place Wolves, and three points behind the Battalion.
Next up for Kingston is a Thursday night trip to Peterborough, a Friday night home game against the Battalion, and a Saturday night game in Barrie, against the Conference leading Colts.