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Number Four – It’s a Teddy Bear Rain
It was Teddy Bear Toss Night and Justin Pringle literally brought the rain down.
As we have learned from the Ontario Hockey League, the 2019-20 OHL season has been concluded. I thought I’d look back at some great moments in the Kingston Frontenacs season.
Justin Pringle provided one of the more memorable moments at the Leon’s Centre in the 2019-20 campaign. Every OHL season comes with the annual Teddy Bear Toss game giving the chance for fans to help support charity being able to fill the ice with plush toys and Teddy Bears after the teams first goal.
On Nov 29, in the friendly confines of Leon’s Centre, the Kingston Frontenacs won a game that many look at as one of the more exciting games of the year. Kingston had been down 3-0 early, but stormed back to win 4-3 on a Shane Wright game-winner. With just 55 seconds to go, the rookie broke in on the North Bay goalie Joe Vrbetic and beat him with a nice deke sending Frontenacs fans home in a frenzy.
The Teddy Bear Toss
Being down three not having scored the “Teddy Bear Toss” goal wasn’t the ideal situation for the home town Frontenacs. North Bay had scored two goals within 1:13 of each other during the middle portion of the opening frame and added another in the dying moments of the period to send the Frontenacs to the dressing room down 3-0.
After a longer wait then most had hoped, it was Justin Pringle who finally made it rain at 6:57 of the second period fuelling Kingston’s eventual 4-3 comeback win with his first goal of year.
Kingston Goaltender Christian Propp settled a puck for Braden Hache as the Battalion had dumped the puck in and were trying for a change. Recognizing the situation, the rookie defenceman quickly fired an accurate three-line pass from his own faceoff circle to a streaking Kallaway Mercer. The pass marked the first of three great hockey plays by all players.
After taking the stretch-pass, Mercer made a heady play as he drew the last Battalion defender to him before making a subtlety difficult drop-pass to a breaking and now undefended teammate. The play to draw in the defender is what left Pringle open. Mercer’s ability to make the play after taking the pass was exceptional.
Pringle took the pass and made a nice backhand-forehand deke to beat Joe Vrbetic and get the Frontenacs on the board and start the comeback. The goal would also be a pivotal moment for Pringle as he would score his first OHL marker since the 2017-18 season. The gritty forward had to recover from a serious leg injury that saw a long rehab process. It was great to see “Chips” back on the scoresheet!
Speaking of memorable, the Hache assist was his first OHL point. Quite a way to be able to recall your name on the scoresheet for the first time I’d say.
The 2019 4th-round selection commented, ”It’s a pretty cool feeling, something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, playing in this league and finally getting that first point is huge for me. Hache knows as a defender it’s not his first job. “It’s not something I’m focused on, but it’s nice to have that and be a part of that especially on the cool goal to have the Teddy Bear’s be thrown after that.”