“Amazing, really. Amazing shot and he is so smart with the puck all the time” – Nyman, on Vilardi
The Kingston Frontenacs rode Gabe Vilardi’s hat-trick performance to a season-high sixth straight win, dropping the Oshawa Generals 5-3 on Wednesday night.
Vilardi scored all of his goals in the first period. He now has 11 goals and 31 points in his 15 games played for the Frontenacs.
It was a nine-point night for the Vilardi line. Linus Nyman scored a short-handed goal and added three assists. Cliff Pu had two assists and lost a goal on a video review.
Brett Neumann scored the other Kingston goal, in the second period. Defenceman Mitchell Byrne added two assists.
The victory, in a game played before 4,527 at the Tribute Communities Centre, was Kingston’s fifth in six games against Oshawa. The Frontenacs are up to 63 points and are the third seed in the Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, despite having more points than the second-place Barrie Colts, who get the No. 2 seed because they lead a division, in this case the Central.
Frontenacs goaltender Jeremy Helvig, making his 12th straight start, picked up the 74th win of his junior career. He is one win back of Chris Clifford’s franchise record of 75, set from 1983 to 1987 with the Kingston Canadians.
The Frontenacs never trailed, thanks to Vilardi’s scoring in the opening period.
“He’s a difference-maker. All night I thought Gabe was a difference-maker and that’s who he is as a player,” Frontenacs head coach Jay Varady said. “We’ve seen that consistently out of him since he got here.”
The Frontenacs led 3-2 after the first and 4-2 after 40 minutes.
“I just thought we were OK to start and we kind of built our game as we went along,” Varady said. “Defensively, we were good for a period of time. When we had some breakdowns that gave them some pretty good looks, Jer was there for us again.”
Neumann’s goal in the second period stood up as the game-winner. He made a darting rush down the right wing, and when he put the puck in front it hit defenceman Alex Di Carlo’s stick and went behind goaltender Kyle Keyser.
Pu had scored earlier in the period, capping some some nice passing from Vilardi and Nyman. However, the play went to review and for the second time in the game – it happened to Oshawa in the first period – the goal wasn’t allowed because of an offside entry into the Oshawa zone.
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