Brendan Bonello steals the show with 56 saves in 2-1 victory over Battalion
The Kingston Frontenacs returned home on Sunday after two tough road games in Niagara and Hamilton. It was an odd week in the schedule when you consider the lack of a Friday night home game mixed with a 6 PM start on a Sunday evening at Leon’s Centre. They weren’t coming home to a warm reception from the team waiting for them either. The North Bay Battalion were the hottest team in the OHL having won 10 of their last 11 games. Their usual starting goaltender, Christian Propp, had won his 10 previous starts, but he was given the night off after a 50 save performance the night before. Brad Chenier entered play on Sunday riding a 9-game point streak. It would also be a tough task to slow down the captain, Justin Brazeau, who became the North Bay Battalion all-time leader in points with a 3-point effort on Saturday in Peterborough.
The only thing missing from the first period was multiple goals. Both teams nearly hit the 20-shot mark with the Battalion outshooting Kingston 18-16, but it was the Frontenacs scoring the only goal. Tyler Burnie connected on a pass from Matt Hotchkiss in the opening minutes to put Kingston ahead. Brendan Bonello was perfect at the other end to send the Frontenacs to the dressing room with a 1-0 lead.
That lead carried through most of the second period as well. It looked like North Bay would tie the game when Mitchell Russell had a wide-open net to shoot at, but Brendan Bonello made his bid for save of the year with a sprawling save using the paddle of his stick. Minutes later his team rewarded him by extending the lead. Nick Wong tipped a point shot that was stopped by Christian Purboo, but Kallaway Mercer buried the rebound to make it 2-0 Kingston. The Frontenacs went on to kill off a lengthy 5-on-3 penalty at the end of the period. After two periods, Brendan Bonello had 30 saves to help his team take a 2-0 lead to the dressing room.
The third period was the Brendan Bonello show. He made save after save in an effort to record his first career shutout. It looked like he was on his way until Justin Brazaeu finally broke the seal with just 1:03 remaining. Despite giving up the goal, Bonello made 27 saves in the period and the Frontenacs held on for the win with the Battalion goaltender on the bench for the final minute. Bonello would end up making 56 saves in the victory and taking first star honours.
Sunday’s game was the first of four home games in a row for the Frontenacs. Their next action is this coming Friday night at 7 PM against the Oshawa Generals for Bell Let’s Talk Night. That is followed by a visit from the Hamilton Bulldogs next Sunday at 2 PM. Tickets can be purchased at Leon’s Centre box office or through ticketmaster.ca for both games.