Kingston Frontenacs and Peterborough Petes met up in an Eastern Division showdown on Wednesday night seeing Kingston move to within three points of an East Conference playoff spot with a huge 4-3 win on the strength of Christian Propp’s solid goaltending. Shane Wright’s sixth multi-goal game with Nick Wong’s game-winner coming just under five minutes left helped seal their 16th win of the season.
Where: Leon’s Centre in Kingston
Time: 7 p.m.
Peterborough Petes: 50 GP: 29-18-2-1(61 pts – 2nd East Div. / 2nd Eastern Conf.)
Kingston Frontenacs: 47 GP: 15-28-2-2 (34 pts – 5th East Div. / 9th Eastern Conf.)
Friday’s game marked the sixth matchup of the season for the East Division rivals with the Petes having the edge in three of the first five over Kingston. The Frontenacs have played the Petes strong with just a 17 to 15 goal advantage for the Petes in the season series so far. Peterborough won the last matchup 3-1 on Dec 6 on home ice with Kingston having won the previous two games including a 7-2 win on Dec 5. Hunter Jones got the call in the Peterborough crease entering with the second-most wins in the OHL and fifth-best goals-against-average and faced veteran Christian Propp in goal for Kingston looking for his eleventh win.
Every point for Kingston is vital as they look to chase down Niagara for the final playoff spot and came into Friday’s game five points back for the eighth and final spot. With two games in hand on the IceDogs, tonight’s game would be even more important.
Game-Night Stat Check:
- Shane Wright leads OHL rookie scoring (46), goals (28) and rookie powerplay goals (7)
- Frontenacs have three players on the latest NHL Central Scouting list (Martin Chromiak, Zayde Wisdom, and Jake Murray)
- Chromiak has two goals and five assists in his last three games
- Brady Hinz has five goals and six points in five games vs Kingston
- Zayde Wisdom has four goals and five points in five games vs Peterborough
The teams came out tentatively in the first few minutes without many scoring chances though Hunter Jones had to be good on a Martin Chromiak shot just over four minutes in. It was the Petes who got on the board first at 6:43 after an Akil Thomas goal
Shane Wright scored his OHL rookie-leading 29th goal responding for Kingston, tying the game up at 8:39 and stopping the initial Petes pressure. After picking up the puck just inside the Kingston blueline, he raced down the left side past a Petes defender and beat Jones with a subtly-quick deke and shot up over the goalie’s glove. Wisdom and Chromiak were credited with assists on the 1-1 goal.
Shots were 10-4 in favour of the Petes at the midway when Peterborough took the games first penalty at 10:34 with a hooking call on David Maier. Kingston couldn’t sustain any quality zone-time as the Petes fifth-ranked penalty-killing units did a good job keeping Kingston from setting up. Just after Kingston’s powerplay had ended, Francesco Arcuri would have a good opportunity after being set up by Lucas Rowe, but his backhand was thwarted by Jones.
A couple of minutes later Nick King would wire a slapshot beating Jones high at 14:30 giving Kingston its first lead of the game. After a battle in the crease, Hutton was able to get the puck to Nick Wong who made a great play to poke the puck to King at the point. The overage defenceman then one-timed a heavy shot that beat a partially screened Jones making it 2-1 with his seventh goal assisted by Wong and Hutton.
Shortly later, Kingston would go up by a pair as Wright scored his second of the night on a great individual play to make it 3-1 shortly before the end of the period. Wright would win a draw and kick it to himself before firing a quick shot that deflected slightly off a Petes defender in front of Jones making its way past the goaltender at 18:39. It was his milestone rookie-leading 30th goal of the season and his 44th point also leads all first-year players and gave him points in three-straight (5G, 1A).
Peterborough went on the early powerplay with Wisdom called 46 seconds into the frame but Kingston penalty-killing units did a good job limiting chances and Propp made a couple of nice saves to keep it a two-goal game.
Jakob Brahaney made a shot block that smarted the veteran rearguard four minutes in but he shook it off on the bench. Akil Thomas almost got Peterborough back to within one as he hit the post just over four minutes in. Former Frontenac Jacob Paquette made a hit that was questionably high on Wisdom that went uncalled and moments later John Parker–Jones and Evan Brand would go off for coincidental minors after a gathering in the crease as the game got more chippy.
Peterborough was holding the majority of play in the middle frame not allowing a Frontenacs shot through almost 15 minutes of play before Wisdom got Kingston first shot at 14:18. At that point, the shots were 16-0 in favour of the visitors as Propp gave his team a huge period making 19 saves in total during the frame. That tied the most amount of saves made in a period all-season for Kingston’s goaltenders. “I’m just battling out there, trying to do what ‘s best for the team. Our guys boxed out well tonight making my job easier,” said Propp after the game.
Peterborough would take two penalties in the last five minutes of the period allowing Kingston to generate some chances as they fired six shots on goal to close out the middle period and head to intermission with a lead.
Kingston had a 9-2-1-1 record when leading after two periods and they would need to hold back the third highest-scoring team in the Conference for the much-needed two-points. After Propp made two good stops within the opening seconds again, the Petes made it a one-goal game at 4:38 on Nic Robertson’s 39th of the year. The dangerous shooter sits second in OHL goal-scoring behind Ottawa’s Jack Quinn while playing nine fewer games than the leader.
Just over seven minutes into the period, Kingston had a powerplay opportunity but was cut short after Kingston was called on a Wisdom holding penalty. Jake Murray was then called for hooking allowing the Petes powerplay a two-man advantage for over a minute. After a nice face-off win by Dawson Baker allowed the Frointenacs penalty-killers to ice the puck and kill off some dangerous seconds the Petes reentered the zone and had some good chances. Propp made three big saves including two in quick succession after stopping a hard slap shot and Baker made a block that clearly caused him some discomfort as he tried to stay in the play. As he did he helped force another errant shot by a Petes defender helping preserve the one-goal lead stay safe. After killing off the first penalty, Propp was able to make a couple more saves on the remaining five-on-four time.
With just over five minutes left at 14:48, Peterborough tied the game on their 46th shot of the game. Thomas would get his second of the game to make it 3-3 and set-up the game for an exciting finish.
The home crowd didn’t have to wait long however as Nick Wong put the Frontenacs up for good with his 11th goal after a great play by his line to generate a turnover. Former Pete Dustin Hutton had tailed the Petes defender from behind and as he turned away from an initially forechecking Vitali Pinchuk, Hutton made his move and got the puck away before feeding Wong with a backhand pass to the slot. After Wong got the pass he made a quick shot that beat Jones for the game-winner at 15:51. Pinchuk also was credited an assist on the play. “Pinchuk and Hutton did a great job forechecking and just saw me and put the puck on my stick.”
Said Foster on Hutton: “It started a few weeks back when we needed a centre. We asked Hutts if he can play centre and he said sure. He’s done a good job, in the middle he can use his skating more. He’s had 4 or 5 good games in a row. I’m willing to put him out in key situations. When you have a guy like Frasca out, you need guys to step up and he has.”
The 30th goal by Wright in the first period now sees him just seven back of the franchise rookie goal-record set by Bernie Nicholls when the franchise was the Kingston Canadians. His pair of goals now gives him six games on the year with two goals and he now has 11 in his last 10 games.
Coach Kurtis Foster: “I thought they took it to us in the first five minutes. They flexed their muscles in the first few minutes and we did a good job in the second half to get back in it.” We knew they were going to make a push in the third. I thought I guys were resilient and found a way to get the two points. I love the way that the guys blocked shots put their bodies on the line.” Baker, Evan Brand, Brahaney, and Lucas Peric were all tagged on hard shots.
Christian Propp: “We did what we needed to do tonight, we just come ready to work on Friday vs North Bay.”
After the game, Nick Wong said: “I really think we’re getting better each and every game. If we stick to our gameplan from Fozzie (coach Foster) we’ll be fine. On Propp, he added: “He’s got a hard-work ethic. He always competes and he never lets us down he always tries his hardest and you can’t ask for anything else. He’s was great.”
- Christian Propp – KGN
- Shane Wright – KGN
- Akil Thomas – PBO
CHL Hardest Working Player (Voted by Fans):
- Zayde Wisdom – Was a force all game and was a target all night long of Petes defenders. Finished +1and registered two shots with an assist.
Kingston Frontenacs play their next game on Friday, February 7 at 7:00 p.m. at home vs North Bay Battalion at Leons Centre