It was an early 10:30 a.m. start in Ottawa on Tuesday morning as the Kingston Frontenacs looked to maintain their ground fighting for a post-season birth. It was again a valiant effort by the Frontenacs battling back into the game but ultimately falling 7-3 to the best team in the OHL.
Kingston did have some good periods of time including a strong second period and a great game by Vitali Pinchuk with a goal and an assist. Shane Wright also extended a personal point-streak to 11 games. The Rookie of the Year candidate sat just one goal back of history chasing down Bernie Nicholls franchise rookie-record for goals in a season entering the game. He also came into the game as the OHL rookie-goal leader with 35 and led all rookie scoring with 61 points.
After jumping ahead of the Niagara IceDogs for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture with last Friday’s win, the Frontenacs again are in a position of needed points today in Ottawa but still have two games-in-hand on Niagara.
Ottawa was 5-0 this season vs Kingston heading in, although Kingston had garnered two points from them in extra-time games. They last met on Jan 20 in Ottawa with the 67’s skating away with an 8-4 win. It’s been the toughest stretch of the season for Ottawa going 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games after losing only seven in their first 46 games.
Where: in Ottawa
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Ottawa 67’s: 55 GP: 43-11-0-1 (87 pts – 1st East Division / 1st Eastern Conf.)
Kingston Frontenacs: 55 GP: 18-33-2-2 (40 pts – 5th East Div. / T-8th Eastern Conf.)
Game-Night Stat Check:
- Shane Wright (KGN) leads OHL rookie scoring (61), rookie goals (35), rookie powerplay goals (8), rookie SOG (175) – only one game (Jan 4 vs HAM) not recording at least one shot, GWG (5) and third in rookie assists (26)
- Lucas Peric (KGN) second in Defemcman penalty minutes -73
- Marco Rossi (OTT) leads OHL scoring – 103 pts
- Jack Quinn (OTT) second in OHL goals – 46
- Daylon Groulx (OTT) / Dawson Baker (KGN) Tied OHL Penalty minute lead – 101
- Rossi, Austen Keating, Noel Hoefenmayer, and Mitchell Hoelscher (OTT) are the top four in plus/minus
It wasn’t an ideal start any team would like to get down three goals in the first 10 minutes, but that is what faced the Frontenacs today in an opening period that was controlled heavily by Ottawa. It was 1-0 at 2:59 on a Graeme Clarke goal after he buried a cross-crease pass by Cameron Tolnai. Clarke returned to the lineup after not playing since mid-October. Kingston almost got their opening goal when Dustin Hutton sent in Nick Wong on a break that forced Ottawa starter Will Cranley into a good save shortly after the opening goal.
Kingston would go on the powerplay five minutes in an had some good chances as they spent virtually all the man-advantage in the offensive zone with a Shane wright shot ringing off the post on their best chance to get the game tied. The excellent goaltending by Cranley while killing the penalty set up the 67’s to go up by two as Lucas Peric was called for hooking giving the number one ranked powerplay in the OHL a chance. It was an opportunity they capitalized on just 10 seconds after the face-off in Kingston’s end. Tolnai was able to sneak a seeing-eye shot past a screened Christian Propp with Kevin Bahle and Clarke getting assists making it 2-0 game at the 8:00 mark.
This season has seen occasions with quick-strike goals on Kingston and the 67’s would score a second goal just 20 seconds later to make it 3-0 on an unfortunate bounce. Daylon Groulx was credited with his 14th as he threw it towards a breaking Marco Rossi in front and the puck deflected off traffic giving the 67’s three goals on just five shots though Propp couldn’t entirely be faulted. Ryan Dugas would relieve Propp as head coach Kurtis Foster looked to get a spark from his team.
Dugas was tested early making a good save on Jack Quinn almost immediately before Kingston drew their second penalty of the game. After the success on the first man-advantage, Kingston would look good again forcing Cranley into three big saves with Wright and Martin Chromiak sharing great shots that the 67’s starter turned away.
After the penalty ended, Ottawa began to pressure Kingston again with a great shift hemming Kingston deep for almost two minutes and at 15:50 it was 4-0 after Joseph Garreffa was sent in alone on Dugas by a great pass from Clarke. He beat Dugas with a nice deke over the pad for his goal of the year. The assist was Clarke’s third point of the frame.
Ottawa would kill off a third penalty as Groulx took a double minor on a high stick to Brahaney but the 67’s penalty-kill was able to again thwart the Kingston attack and the period would end with Kingston still on the man-advantage.
Just 16 seconds into the second period, it was 5-0, just as Groulx stepped out of the box. Austen Keating made a good play to get the puck to Rossi who made a nice deke in close on Dugas to score his 34th goal and league-leading 105th point on the year.
Lucas Rowe would set up Wright in the slot with a nice pass trying to get Kingston on the board shortly after but Cranley again was solid on the save. A couple minutes later it was 6-0 at 4:35 as Quinn tied for the OHL scoring lead with his 47th in the crease. After Mitchell Hoelscher had sent the puck down low to the net, Quinn was able to fight of Kingston defenders to get the dirty goal seemingly putting the game out of hand for the 67’s.
Kingston has been a resilient bunch all year and today would prove to be no different. At 7:13, the Frontenacs would begin to scrape back into the game making it 6-1 on a historic goal for the Frontenacs franchise. The 36th goal for Wright tied him with the Bernie Nicholls Kingston Canadians record for rookie-goals in a season. The OHL leading point getter went in on a two-on-one with Zayde Wisdom and after finding himself alone at the slot he fired a snapshot past Cranley low blocker. It also extended his point streak to 11 games.
After Ethan Ritchie almost got it to a four-goal deficit forcing Cranley into a nice save, Kingston went on their fourth powerplay of the day. Dawson Baker would score his 17th goal banging home a backhand pass through the crease from Pinchuk at 12:40 making it 6-2.
Justin Pringle had another opportunity getting stoned by Cranly before Ottawa had an excellent shift in the
Kingston zone hemming the defenders in deep and tiring them out. Dugas made a good save and Kingston was able to escape the pressure and any potential for a comeback continued with 55 seconds left in the period as Pinchuk made it 6-3 following up on a loose puck with his second point of the period. After Wong had shoot it towards the goal, the puck bounced into the legs off traffic in front and Jordan Frasca was able to chip it out front to Pinchuk who got his seventh goal. He had scored his first career goal in Ottawa earlier in the season. Kingston held Ottawa to just five shots in the second period.
Both teams came out tentative in the third as expected after nine goals scored in the game already. Kingston had a good chance to get it within two as Jake Murray let a good wrist shot go being set up by Wright on a cross ice pass.
Ottawa scored at 8:20 to hurt Kingston’s chances of coming back. Adam Varga was able to tip a point-shot by Nikita Okhotyuk (who finished with three assists) that just made it over the pad of Dugas to make it a 7-3 game.
Kingston would continue to press showing their never-quit attitude as has been prevalent all season. Wright broke in on another two-on-one with Chromiak and unlike his goal earlier he made a beautiful saucer-pass to a streaking Chromiak who made a nice deke on Cranley but the Ottawa goalie made a ten-bell save to keep the four-goal lead and give the 67’s the 7-3 win.
- Tolnai – OTT
- Pinchuk – KGN
- Keating – OTT
Kingston Frontenacs play their next game on the road Friday, February 25 at 7:00 p.m. vs Saginaw Spirit as they will play the second of seven-straight road games.
The Frontenacs are back at home on March 13 against Hamilton Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Leons Centre box office and at Ticketmaster.ca.
Kingston’s next game is Friday, February, 28 vs Saginaw Spirit as they will play the second of seven-straight road games.
The Frontenacs are back at home on Friday, Feb 13 against Hamilton at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Leons Centre box office and at Ticketmaster.ca.