The #1 team in the Eastern Conference came for their only visit this season to the Harry Lumley Bayshore Arena. Early in the game, the Fronts would demonstrate their superior team puck movement and positional play. Owen Sound was able to get a few shots on net, but could muster any sustained pressure. The Fronts would be buoyed by two solid check in the first portion of the period by winger Lawson Crouse and savvy D-man Warren Steele. A lapse in focus would allow the Attack’s Captain Zach nastasiuk to walk out of the corner with the puck for his first of four points on the night.
With MacDermid in the penalty box for slashing, the Visitors would work the puck up the ice patiently and set up their efficient precision passing powerplay. Henri Ikonen would bury the Fronts first goal at the 17:50 mark of the first period. The period would end in a 1-1 draw.
The next scoring event would take place while the Attack were on the powerplay just over six minutes into the period. The point shot from Bigras would take a very generous bounce off the boards behind the net – landing directly onto the tape of Gemel Smith for an opportunistic short side goal. Almost 2 minutes later, the Fronts would pounce on a turnover at their blueline and push forward for a rare 4 on 2 opportunity. After Watson pounded the puck on net, D-man Vainonen would deposit his first goal of the season to tie the game up at 2 goals apiece. After a pile up beside the Owen Sound net, Ikonen and Bigras would be sent off for roughing. Kingston would get to demonstrate their superior puck handling skills again during the 4 on 4 session. This was short lived as Owen Sound’s Cameron Brace would zip up the side boards forcing Warren Steele to take a hooking penalty. Captain Nastasiuk would pound home a shot from the slot after a nice feed from Cameron Brace. After the powerplay goal, Kingston would continue to rack up the shots against Owen Sound’s goalie Hope – who was usually up to the task.
After trailing 3-2 after 2 periods, the Fronts would come out with a renewed drive to score. Spencer Watson was reliable in the faceoff dot and tried to take a direct shot off the draw. He lost possession of the puck, but soon found it again in the slot on a beautiful feed from Henri Ikonen to notch the game a 3-3. Watson was just over 50% in winning faceoff draws in this contest. Kujawinski was 7/10 on faceoffs and Greenaway was 12/19 (unofficial stats). Kingston would then be penalized for a high stick sending Owen Sound onto the powerplay again (they would finish 3/5 on the PP). Gemel Smith would notch his second goal of the contest on a rebound play at the side of the net.
With 2:59 remaining in the game a melee broke out on the ice between the player benches. After some rough play, Cameron Brace came through the pack with a vicious blind side crosscheck. He was assessed a 5 minute major penalty plus a game ejection. After some other penalties were doled out the Fronts were on a brief powerplay. This would be negated a short time later when Povorozniuk would be penalized for slashing. With the play, the Attack appeared to have the game sealed up as they would go on the powerplay to finish the third period. In his penalty killing role, Sam Bennett would take the puck up 2/3 of the ice surface without a defender being able to knock him off the puck. After a slick move along the side wall, he would pass it into the slot for Henir Ikonen to complete his 4 point game. The goal was scored with only 34 seconds remaining in the game – concluding regulation with a 4-4 score.
After some of the carry over penalties from the third period expired, teams were able to play 4 on 4 during the overtime period. A slow developing play from the offensive corner would see D-man MacDermid muscle his way to the near slot where he would pocket the game winning goal for the home ice OT victory.
My three stars for the game were Nastasiuk (OS), Bennett (KGN) and Smith (OS). Honorable mentions to Ikonen (KGN), Hope (OS) and Vainonen (KGN). Gilligan (OS) was impressive for being a rookie – he will be one to watch out for in the not too distant future.
With the win, the Attack continue to keep pace in the tough Western Conference – currently two points behind the fourth place London Knights. The single point kept the Kingston Fronts atop the Eastern Conference with a slim one point lead over the Oshawa General for top spot in the Eastern Conference. (update – Oshawa’s win on Sunday night puts the Gens in top spot by one point).