A Weekend Review On The Fronts Front : Hache plays in first OHL Game

The Kingston Frontenacs went on the road over the weekend for a three-game in consecutive night stretch that saw them hit the ice in Niagara Friday, Erie on Saturday, and culminating with an afternoon affair in Hamilton on Sunday. It was the first of six 3-game in 3-night stretches this season with the next beginning on October 18-20. 

The team left on the road trip in search of much-needed goals and their first win of the young OHL season. While they did get on the scoresheet more often, the club suffered two losses to start the trip and a tough overtime loss on Sunday prevented them from taking home any victories. It marked the fourth-consecutive road game for the Frontenacs as they have only played 2 of their first 6 at Leons Centre in Kingston. 

FRIDAY:

Against the Niagara IceDogs on Friday the game started in the Frontenacs favour as they went on a 5-minute powerplay just over a minute into the game. Niagara’s Jackson Doherty was ejected for checking to the head of Frontenacs forward Zayde Wisdom and although he was shaken briefly, Wisdom would remain in the game. However, in a twist of hockey fate, the IceDogs would score shorthanded and then added three more goals (2 on the powerplay) to take a 4-0 just 13:48 into the game. 

Ryan Dugas would replace Brendan Bonello after the third Niagara goal, though you could hardly fault the overage goaltender.

Captain Jakob Brahaney would score his first of the year to get Kingston on the board before the 1st period would end making it 4-1, but the IceDogs would reply just under a minute later to regain the 4-goal heading into intermission with a 5-1 lead. Shane Wright (first assist in OHL) and Lucas Rowe would be credited assists’ on the play. 

After Niagara went up 6-1 in the second period,  Wright would score for the second consecutive game with his second goal of the year off a nice wrist shot.  Fellow rookie Francesco Arcuri made a great play off the boards as he fed Wright on his forehand with a beauty backhand pass giving his former Don Mills teammate the ability to shoot quickly. 

Arcuri would add his second point of the night on the powerplay just under three minutes later as he again showed great touch when he fed Nic Wong in the crease. Wong would make no mistake and he buried his second of the year with Vitali Pinchuk also adding an assist on the play. 

The teams would trade goals three more times with Pinchuk scoring his first of the year on a great play. The 2019 2nd round import selection used his speed to break around the IceDogs defenseman and then broke in on the net with a highlight-reel goal as he faked back-hand and then sucked the puck back to his forehand and put it past the Niagara goalie.

With an 8-4 final the Frontenacs had scored as many goals in the game as they had in the first 3 games of the season as scoring was a point of emphasis. They also outshot the IceDogs 42-35 in what was the first time this season they accomplished that feat. 

SATURDAY:

On Saturday, the Frontenacs would see the Erie Otters and highly touted prospect Jamie Drysdale. The Frontenacs found themselves down again early and went to the 1st intermission down 2-0. Ryan Dugas would get his first start of the season and he looked solid making 13 saves on 15 shots in the 1st period. 

Nic Wong netted his third of the season, scoring in the second consecutive game, just over five minutes into the second period assisted by Lucas Peric to make it 2-1. Wong is being counted on as one of the players needed to get on the scoresheet. He’s looked dangerous over the last 4 games with 3 goals in that span.

The Erie Otters would strike back, however, making it 3-1 just over a minute later and would finish the games’ scoring at 4-1 with another strike shortly before the end of the 2nd period. 

Zayde Wisdom and the Otters’ Kurtis Henry would drop the gloves as the game had some spirited play.

SUNDAY:

Sunday’s 2 PM matinee game in Hamilton vs the Bulldogs was a part of IIHF World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend as the Bulldogs and Hamilton fans welcomed members of Canada’s Women’s National Team. And they got a great game by Zayde Wisdom as the second-year forward would record two goals and fired 6 shots on net while physically keeping the Bulldogs on their toes. 

2019 4th round pick Braden Hache (York-Simcoe Express alumni) suited up for his first career OHL game against Hamilton. The Newmarket, Ontario native did not look out of place.

His size and mobility are needed assets on the Kingston blueline and it will be interesting to see if coach Kurtis Foster keeps him in the lineup. I think he’s ready for some regular action. 

The Frontenacs have not scored the first goal of the game yet this season, and the game in Hamilton would continue that trend on Sunday. The Bulldogs made it 1-0 just under 7 minutes into the game when Kingston starter Brendan Bonello made the first save on a hot-shot by Arthur Kaliev, but the rebound went right to Jan Jenik.  He made no mistake burying the puck into an open net to set the Fronts back again for the 6th straight game.

Shortly before the end of the first, Wisdom would knot the game up 1-1. After making a great steal, Wright circled towards the net and fired a shot that Bulldogs goalie Aidan Campbell saved, but Wisdom stayed on the play and redirected the rebound for his 2nd of the season. It was an exceptional play by Wright who is showing his defensive side of the game is also at an elite level of thinking. 

The Frontenacs took the 2-1 lead in the second period as Wisdom tallied his 3rd of the year on the power play just 4:47 into the frame. Jacob Brahaney and Lucas Rowe assisted on the marker which gave Kingston the first lead of the season for them. 

The third period saw the Frontenacs battle hard and they continued on the offensive looking for an insurance goal. This is a good sign for a young team who seemingly always stays in the fight. However, late in the third with Brahaney off for a questionable cross-checking penalty, the Bulldogs would tie the game 2-2. 

With less than a minute left in overtime, defenseman Billy Constantinou could not bury a breakaway chance and Bonello made a couple of big saves in extra time to help keep the game tied. The game would go to a shootout where Hamilton’s Tag Bertuzzi, who had scored the game-tying goal, was the only goal scorer as Hamilton would add the extra point to their ledger. 

Special Teams :

PP was 3-11 over the weekend

PK was 9-15 over the weekend

Face-offs – 106/200

Stars of the Weekend:

Shane Wright – The underage forward took his game to another level over the last 3 games. The 2019 1st overall pick had 3 shots and 1 goal in his first three games. In his last three, he accumulated 14 shots with a goal and 2 assists. Showing signs of a solid two-way game. 

Zayde Wisdom – With two goals over the weekend, Kingston’s 4th round selection in 2018 now has as many goals (3) this season in 6 games than all of 2018-19. The robust forward is throwing his body around and dropped the gloves with Kurtis Henry vs Erie.

Jakob Brahaney – The captain had a powerplay marker and two assists with 13 shots on goal. A physical presence and is playing in all situations. 

Honorable mention – Vitali Pinchuk’s goal vs Niagara was a thing of beauty.

On the Fronts Front:

Acquired forward Ethan Ritchie from the Erie Otters on October 4th off the waiver wire. 

The team moved to 4th in the OHL in PIM’s with 79. This is a drastic increase from the first 3 games of the season. Something to watch.

With 11 goals scored the team is last in the OHL. It continues to be a point of emphasis but is showing signs of improvement. 

The 26 goals against places them 14th overall in the OHL.

Sit tied for 18th in OHL standings with 2 points

Scoring Leaders: (6 games)

Points: Shane Wright & Jakob Brahaney – 4

Goals: Zayde Wisdom & Nic Wong – 3

Assists: Francesco Arcuri & Jakob Brahaney – 3 

PIM: Jordan Frasca – 10

SOG: Jakob Brahaney – 20

Next up: Niagara IceDogs – Friday, October 11th at Leons Centre in Kingston