Where: Leon’s Centre in Kingston
Time: 7 PM
Barrie Colts: 26 GP: 13-11-1-1 (28 pts – 3rd Central Div / 6th East Conf)
Kingston Frontenacs: 28 GP: 8-16-2-2 (20 pts – 5th East Div / Tie 8th East Conf – MIS)
After a four-game winning streak was snapped in Peterborough last Saturday, the Kingston Frontenacs were back in action Friday night against the Barrie Colts looking to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. With only three more games before the Christmas break upcoming on Dec 19th and the OHL trade deadline not long after, every game is becoming that much more important, especially after the unfortunate start to the season.
It was billed as a brotherly matchup as for the Frasca’s as Barrie’s Jacob and Kingston’s Jordan looked to square off again in their second game against each other and first in Kingston. Unfortunately, Jacob was scratched. The last game the teams played was onOct 12 in Barrie where Kingston loss 6-4.
Rookies, Shane Wright and Francesco Arcuri of Kingston faced former teammate and Don Mills Flyers alumni Brandt Clarke who had nine assists in 22 games so far for the Colts in his rookie season. The dynamic Clarke had an outstanding pre-season and, while not scoring any goals so far in the regular season, he’s been on some highlight reels already for his play including a nice assist during the last matchup with Kingston.
Captain Jakob Brahaney was not dressed serving the first of a two-game suspension for a league-mandated penalty being the third-man in during an altercation in Peterborough in the team’s last game. I didn’t like the suspension at all and while I understand it’s not a call that can be reversed because of the fighting majors, I didn’t see the Frasca/Gallant fight he “got involved in” as much of a fight. But, credit to the captain helping a defenceless player while down with no refs around.
Shane Wright entered the game as the leading rookie on the OHL with 25 points and sat four goals back of Peterborough’s Mason McTavish for the goal lead by rookies. He came in on a nine-game point streak with nine goals and five assists during that span.
- Francesco Arcuri
On the win, the rookie forward said:” I think our team is rolling right now, I think we’re all feeling good and hopefully we can keep it going. I think we can be a top team in this league.” Kingston’s record in the last 10 games of 8-2 has them certainly in that conversation currently. Only the Petes and 67’s have more points than Kingston in that span.
Arcuri was moved to the 1st line in tonight’s game playing with Wright and Wisdom and the three had many dangerous opportunities including just missing on a couple of nice tic-tac-toe three-way passing plays. “It’s fun playing with those two, it’s easy and it’s so fun just getting it going with them.” He appreciates Wisdom’s playing style adding, “He’s a big player who can score get points, I think he’s everything to us and for me, he’s one of the top players in the league.” The former Don Mills junior was facing an old friend in Brandt Clarke says it’s nice to see former mates in the league but said while Clarke played well, his team just played better to get the two points.
Foster thinks highly of his rookie saying,” He did a good job, created some nice chances showing he can make plays, he’s got confidence.” The coach liked that Arcuri was more upset with a turnover in the game on the bench rather than a missed offensive chance. The signs of a growing player.
Arcuri has been lights out so far in the shootout going three for three including a game-winner as he continues to gain confidence in his rookie season. A smart hockey player, Arcuri can play anywhere in the lineup, but his offensive skills justify his time spent with the team’s leading scorers. He sees the play well and has an ability to make quick one-touch passes that will become even more prominent as he sees more powerplay time.
After a loss in their last game, it was important for the Frontenacs to get back on the winning track and continue to pressure teams above them in the standings. It would be a difficult task without minute-eating rearguard Jakob Brahaney. With a 6-3 win tonight over Barrie, the Frontenacs did just that with Shane Wright extending his point streak and goal streak and Dawson Baker remained hot.
The first period saw a fairly tight opening half of the frame with Kingston’s best chance coming off a Zayde Wisdom/Wright two-on-one but Colts starter Jet Greaves made a nice save kicking out his left pad to stop the Wright shot after a nice set-up pass by Wisdom off the rush. Kingston goalie Christian Propp made a series of saves seconds apart just before the middle of the period including a pad save of a shot and two immediate successive rebounds whacked at by the Colts crease crashing forwards.
Kingston took the first penalty of the game at 8:54, but it was Wright who took advantage of a breakdown by Barrie’s power play and found himself stealing the puck off the Colts defender at the blueline. Racing towards Jet Reaves in the Barrie goal, defenceman Tyler Tucker tried to angle off Wright, but the rookie deked the puck off his backhand between Tucker’s stick and leg to his forehand getting in shooting position around the tall defender. Reaves couldn’t stop the wrist shot as he wired it for his 15th beating the Colts goalie high glove hand for his first career OHL shorthanded goal giving the Frontenacs the opening 1-0 lead. The highlight-reel goal was Kingston’s second short-handed goal of the season and it gave the burgeoning young star a goal in five consecutive games and points in 10 straight (10G, 6A).
The second penalty of the period for Kingston did not end as well as Luke Bignell scored his seventh tying the game 1-1 at 18:09 with Lucas Peric off for a cross-checking call. Assists were credited to Jason Willms and Nathan Allensen on the play. Nick King had almost made the block off the centering pass by Willms, but the puck just snuck under the sprawled defenseman and was collected and backhanded past Propp by Bignell.
The second period started with a bang as Evan Brand made a big hit early in the frame and it seemed to spark the Frontenacs as they would score three goals in under 10 minutes. At 4:22 it was Dawson Baker regaining the lead for Kingston with his 11th of the year making it 2-1 from Jordan Frasca and Maddox Callens. After Callens took a shot he got to the rebound and fed the puck to Frasca who made a nice pass to a trailing Baker.
Just 25 seconds later, Kallaway Mercer scored his first of the year as he wired a wrist shot past Reaves glove hand putting Kingston up 3-1 at 4:47. Nick Wong and Justin Pringle drew assists on the play.
Barrie took a double-minor at 12:01 giving Kingston’s 10th ranked power play an opportunity to go up by three. After the Colts penalty-killers were able to thwart the Frontenacs power play for the first minor, it was Wisdom netting his fourth powerplay goal at 10:03 to give Kingston the 4-1 lead. Wright made a great play in his end and sprung Wisdom on the break and just when a Barrie defender was catching up, Wisdom put the brakes on and wristed a shot scoring his team-leading 16th. The assist keeps Wright leading all first-year players with 27 points.
Barrie made it 4-2 at 11:27 on weird angle shot from Willms from the corner goalline that deflected past Propp as he was hugging his post. Propp had been unbelievable for Kingston since arriving from North Bay, but he would have loved to have this one back. But true to his fashion, it didn’t affect his mindset and he played another strong game getting his 6th win of the year with only one regulation loss in seven games with Kingston. Propp is one of the more mentally tough goalies you will find in the OHL. Foster said of Propp:” He just gives our team quiet confidence that we know we can depend on him.”
In quick response less than a minute later at 12:20, Dustin Hutton’s fourth goal gave Kingston back the three-goal lead 5-2. Hutton drove the net and was able to get to a Braden Hache shot who did a great job getting the puck on the net quickly. As Hutton picked up the puck he wrapped it around the downed Reaves.
Tyson Foerster added to his Colts leading point total scoring his 18th goal with one minute left in the second to bring Barrie back to within two 5-3 as the teams headed to the second intermission.
Kingston has struggled on the penalty kill this year, sitting last in the OHL entering the game at 67%. However, in the third tonight, they held the Barrie power play off the board killing two penalties in the opening half of the period. Veteran rearguard Lucas Peric was excellent tonight in the defensive zone and made three key blocks on the kills. “Fozzie (coach) came into the room in between the second and the third and said we got to be better we got to block shots so we took his word. It felt good to help out for sure,” said the veteran defenseman picked up from the Ottawa 67’s earlier in the season.
It’s something coach Foster has been preaching and Peric was leading the charge tonight saying: “We needed him to step up with the loss of Brahaney who plays half the game and with Nick King, they really stepped up and played a strong game.” With captain Jakob Brahaney serving the first game of a two-game suspension it was important Peric step into a larger role and fill in the gap. Foster dressed seven defencemen with Emmett Gordon drawing in as well on the blueline.
Dawson Baker added to his goal total with his second of the game rounding out the scoring 6-3 at 15:50 for his 12th of the year with goaltender Propp getting an assist. Baker now has eight goals in his last six games including a hattrick versus Peterborough on Dec 6.
While it wasn’t necessarily the best game that coach Foster has seen from his team he’s glad that the team could figure a way out of getting two points. “It wasn’t our best, but, we found a way to capitalize on our opportunities.” In what could be the sign of growth for his young squad he said:” You got to find ways to win when you’re not playing well and we got some key goals tonight and timely goaltending.”
Lucas Peric added after the game:” It was a huge bounceback game (after loss to Peterborough), we came out flat but our second period was better and in the third, we stepped up on the penalty kill and got the job done.”
With the win, Kingston kept pace with Mississauga who also won 4-2 over North Bay on Friday. The teams are knotted at 22 points and play each other on Sunday in Mississauga at 2 PM. Kingston will head on the road for a game in Hamilton tomorrow in a nationally televised Sportsnet game at 4 PM before heading off to take on the Steelheads. Jan Jenik will be out of the Hamilton lineup as he left for the World Junior tournament.
- Wright – KGN (1G, 1A)
- Baker – KGN (2G)
- Wong – KGN (2A)
CHL Hardest Working Player (Voted by Fans):
- Nick King
He continues to play solid defence and is proving invaluable at moving the puck quickly out of Kingston;’s zone by passing or skating and is being recognized by the fans for his efforts. He also had 5 shots in the game as he gets pucks to the net and allowing his forwards to screen and look for rebounds. “It’s awesome, so far so good with Kingston, I mean the fans are awesome so far, pretty loud,” he said after the game.
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