Fronts lose hard fought game 3, trail series 3-0
Returning to home ice was the turning point in their series against the Barrie Colts, and the Kingston Frontenacs were hoping for that to be the case again against the Hamilton Bulldogs. After dropping both games at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Kingston returned to the Rogers K-Rock Centre facing a 2-0 deficit for the second series in a row. They also trailed the Hamilton Bulldogs 2-0 last season in the opening round of the playoffs before winning 4 of the last 5 games to advance to the second round. Kingston has been outstanding on home ice this season going 22 – 6 – 5 – 1 in the regular season and 5 – 1 in the playoffs. They desperately needed a sixth home ice win in the playoffs to get back in the Eastern Conference Championship series.
The start was not what Kingston wanted. They wanted a strong start to build some confidence, but it was Hamilton that had the quick start instead. Ben Gleason scored on a point shot through traffic to put Hamilton ahead 1-0. Kingston responded well and started to push back. At the TV timeout of the opening period they were out shooting Hamilton 8-4. Eventually they were able to get one of those shots to go in. Tyler Burnie won a faceoff cleanly and Jacob Paquette got a quick shot on net. Kaden Fulcher made the initial save but Ryan Cranford quickly scooped up the rebound and put it in the net to tie the game. Gabe Vilardi appeared to put Kingston ahead shortly after they tied the game, but after a lengthy review it was disallowed due to the puck being directed in with his hand. Kingston had their best period of the series and the game resembled the close series everyone expected to see. It was tied 1-1 after twenty minutes.
The second period saw no scoring, but still featured exciting hockey. The hitting was hard and plentiful. Both teams were creating quality scoring chances, but the goaltending was even better than the chances. Jeremy Helvig made an incredible pad save on a cross ice pass despite being run over on the play. Minutes later Kaden Fulcher made an equally impressive save on Brett Neumann after a cross crease pass. The referees were willing to let both teams play. They were calling very few penalties and only called them when it was blatantly obvious. It was fun hockey to watch and the final period promised to be exciting.
Things remained close in the third period. Kingston had a big penalty kill early. Tyler Burnie had an amazing blocked shot after he lost his stick that cleared the zone. Unfortunately, just after the penalty expired Hamilton took the lead. Isaac Nurse fired one by Helvig on the blocker side to put his team ahead. Kingston continued to work hard to tie the game once more. Jeremy Helvig went to the bench for the extra attacker with just under two minutes left. Kingston had multiple scoring chances, but Kaden Fulcher stood tall. Eventually Brandon Saigeon would hit the empty Kingston net to clinch the game for the Bulldogs. They took game three by a score of 3-1.
The Frontenacs now trail the best of seven series 3-0. The good news is they have won four games in a row twice already in these playoffs. They will need to make it three times if they want their season to continue.
Game four is Tuesday night at 7 PM at the Rogers K-Rock Centre. Tickets are available for that game now.