After a 4-2 loss at the Leon’s Centre on Friday night, the Kingston Frontenacs headed down the 401 for games in western Ontario versus London and Sarnia.
In London on Saturday afternoon, the Frontenacs would face a stiff test against a Knights team who had been shaky this season and were themselves looking for a win sitting under .500 (3-4-1) heading into the matchup. It’s never easy as a visitor to play in the Budweiser Gardens and the 8500+ home crowd was particularly edgy this game as the Knights were coming off a home loss the night earlier to Windsor.
At the team’s practice last Wednesday, captain Jakob Brahaney spoke of the atmosphere in that building and how he and the other vets could help some of the younger players in a pro-like atmosphere. “If a young guy wants to talk, there’ll be just some little things before the game or after practices that we share our experience like playing in London’s arena.”
Kingston got out to the early 1-0 lead on Dennis Golovatchev’s second goal of the year just 59 seconds into the game. It’s the second time this season Golovatchev has scored the games opening goal early. He scored 3:38 into the first in the win vs Niagara at home on Oct 11.
London would score the next 4 goals of the game to take a 3-goal lead into the second intermission.
Francesco Arcuri scored his first OHL goal on a breakaway early in the third period to get the Frontenacs back within two. It was a nice goal by the Don Mills Flyers alumni who made no mistake going in alone on London starter Brett Brochu making it 4-2.
Unfortunately for Kingston, Luke Evangelista would score his 3rd of the game (and of his career) to again give the Knights a 3-goal lead at 5-2 lead midway through the final frame to put the game out of reach.
The Frontenacs continued to keep pushing in what is a good trend for a team struggling to get wins. They never seem to quit on a game regardless of the score or time in the game and while facing adversity. Clearly, coach Foster has the team working hard and the rewards have to start coming.
Before the end of the game, Vitali Pinchuk would score his 4th of the season on an early OHL Goal of the Year candidate making it 5-3. While all his goals have been beauties so far, this one will certainly find it’s way over the airwaves.
After gaining the puck at his own circle, he gained speed as he crossed centre-ice and toed-dragged the puck between his legs to get around the Knights defenceman. As he then approached the net, he showed great strength and drive to get to the net while still deking through two Knights players before showing great patience by holding out Brochu and firing a shot past the sprawled goalie.
London would score once more to end the game 6-3.
In Sarnia on Sunday, the Frontenacs went down 2-0 on a pair of Sting goals just 2:07 apart midway through the opening period. The second goal was unfortunate as the puck was redirected behind Frontenacs starter Ryan Dugas’ net and came out the other side to a waiting Sam Bitten who was johnny on the spot for his fourth of the year.
Shortly before the first goal of the game, Zayde Wisdom and Sarnia’s Marko Jakovljevic had a spirited fight as Wisdom took on the much larger opposing player and handled himself well giving up 7 inches to the lanky Sting defenceman. Wisdom continues to be a physical presence in the Kingston attack.
Dawson Baker took a Maddox Callens pass, scoring his 3rd goal with a nifty wrist shot beating rookie Sting goalie Ben Gaudreau making it 2-1. Jake Murray also drew an assist on the play for his first point of the season.
The Callens assist marked the first career OHL point for the 2019 3rd round pick.
Sarnia made it 3-1 with 52 seconds left in the 1st and the teams headed to the intermission with Kingston leading the shot clock 12-9.
Jordan Frasca extended his point streak to 6-games with a goal 1:07 into the middle frame with Dennis Golovatchev and Nick Wong drawing the assists. Frasca took a sweet pass from Golovatchev and made no mistake for his 9th point of the year drawing Kingston within one 3-2.
Frasca has shown a willingness to set-up his teammates so it was to see him get rewarded with a goal. “I was taught to pass first and look for the open person so I find I want to be a team player and help others out,” the former Windsor Spitfire says.
After Sarnia went ahead 4-2 just over two minutes later, Kingston coach Kurtis Foster pulled Dugas and inserted Brendan Bonello into the net, though Dugas would be put back in the pipes for the start of the third.
Lucas Rowe added his second of the year but Sarnia tallied twice on Bonello and would end up with 3 goals on just 4 shots in the period, while Kingston fired 16 shots at the Sarnia net for a 6-3 lead after two.
Sarnia’s Kelton Hatcher made a hit on rookie Shane Wright early into the third period that caught captain Jakob Brahaney’s attention and the two squared-off in a long tilt. Brahaney would get the extra-two for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct effectively ending his night. The hit by Hatcher, while not an illegal play, was certainly made with some message sending intent by the physical Sting defenceman. And Brahaney got the message loud and clear and he made sure teams know that Kingston will play for each other. Wright was fine on the play and shrugged off the hit.
Francesco Arcuri and Jamieson Rees also received 10-minute misconduct penalties on the play.
Theo Hill as ejected from the game 4:39 into the 3rd period after he kneed Baker in the Sting zone. Baker’s leg got caught by Hill and he was in obvious pain immediately. He was helped off the ice and did not return. He was to be evaluated and no update was known at the time of publishing.
Luke Drewitt scored his second of the year from Rowe and Lucas Peric while Kingston was on the major penalty to Hill but the Sting would add another goal of their own at 16:46 of the 3rd to make the final 7-4.
The Frontenacs penalty kill went 9 for 11 over the three games on the weekend in what has to be a plus for coach Kurtis Foster who had worked on his teams’ special teams heading into the weekends’ games. Speaking before Friday’s game he said “Our penalty killing isn’t where it needs to be right now. It’s everybody… it’s defense, the goaltending, it’s forwards and everyone has to bring their game to another notch.”
PP was 2-for-11 on the weekend
PK was 9-for-11 on the weekend
Stars of the Weekend:
Jordan Frasca – Continues to be a catalyst in the Kingston attack and extended his point streak to 6 games (2G, 6A) with a goal on Sunday and tallying 3 points over the weekend (1G,2A, 4 shots) to tie for the team lead in scoring.
Zayde Wisdom – May just have to leave his name up here all season. Bringing physical play and is making an imprint on the game even if not scoring. Solid two-way play and hustle and showed he will play with the big boys taking on the 6’4” Marko Jakovljevic of Sarnia.
Lucas Rowe – Was all over the ice with 15 shots in three games and added 1 goal and 2 assists for the former London 2017 1st round pick.
Honourable mention: – Vitali Pinchuk’s goal vs Niagara was a thing of beauty. ( I wrote this last week… just sub in London for Niagara this week. Wow.
On the Fronts Front:
Francesco Arcuri registered his first career OHL goal and his second career OHL multi-point game in London on Saturday (1G,1A)
Maddox Callens recorded first career OHL point (assist) vs Sarnia on Sunday
Stat Leaders: (12 games)
Points: Shane Wright, Jordan Frasca, Zayde Wisdom – 9
Goals: Zayde Wisdom & Nic Wong – 5
Assists: Jordan Frasca – 7
PIM: Dawson Baker – 22
SOG: Shane Wright – 37 (Leads all rookies OHL)
Sarnia Sting Friday Night at Leon’s Centre 7 PM