There was no final-day drama in the Ontario Hockey League after all playoff positions had been decided on Saturday night.
Ten teams, including the Kingston Frontenacs and their Sunday afternoon opponents, the Sudbury Wolves, were left to skate out the regular season.
The Wolves (36-26-4-2) put an all-done stamp on Kingston’s last-place Eastern Conference finish by defeating the Frontenacs 5-1 before 2,241 fans at the K-Rock Centre.
Once the siren sounded to end their season, the Frontenacs (19-41-3-5) stood at centre ice with their sticks held aloft before fans who stayed until the end to give an appreciative and loud ovation to the players.
“We’ve got a really bright future,” said Wilton’s Darcy Greenaway, who scored 27 goals and had a team-leading 51 points in his first Ontario Hockey League season.
“Obviously it was a bit of a tough year, but I don’t think I could of picked a better group of guys to go through it with. So we have a bright future and I’m looking forward to it.”
Head coach Todd Gill, in his post-game dressing room address to his players, thanked them for battling hard to the end.
“You all know what you have to do to get better. Have yourself a good summer and work hard,” Gill told his charges.
Gill felt his team gave a solid effort in the finale.
“I thought (Sunday) was one of the times where the final score didn’t indicate what kind of game (the Frontenacs played),” Gill said.
“They worked hard right to the end. We rung the doorbell (Kingston had four goal posts), we just couldn’t get them by (goaltender Johan Mattsson),” Gill said.
The young line of Ryan Kujawinski, Billy Jenkins and Trevor Morbeck was out for the last minute, which could have been interpreted as a look-to-the-future moment by coach Gill.
“They are part of the young (group) who came in and played hard and did some great things for us,” Gill said.
“I am looking forward to coming back to coach this team next year.”
The Frontenacs, of course, have known since the beginning of the month there would be no post-Sunday play for them.
The Wolves, fifth in the Eastern Conference, will go up against the Brampton Battalion in the first round beginning Thursday.
Despite Sunday’s game meaning nothing in the standings, the Wolves’ Michael Sgarbossa was going for the OHL scoring title. Sgarbossa, who had his NHL rights traded by San Jose to Colorado last month, blew past Ottawa 67’s star Tyler Toffoli with a three-goal, one assist game to hit 102 points. Toffoli, meanwhile, was held to one assist in Ottawa’s 4-3 loss to the Brampton Battalion and lost the chance to win his second straight scoring title. He finished with 100 points.
Two of Sgarbossa’s goals came on the power play. It was a physical affair, at least for the first two periods, despite the it-doesn’t-matter game status. There were 22 infractions called over the first two periods, including Warren Steele’s check in to the head major against Sgarbossa in the second period. Steele received a game misconduct.
Captain Cody Alcock’s power-play goal was all that got past Mattsson.
Alcock, who had a career-high 24 goals, is counting on playing his overage season for Kingston next year.
“We had lots of downs but we also had a lots of ups as well,” Alcock said.
“I plan on coming back here, being an overager and wearing the ‘C’ with honour. With the young guys we had come in here and the couple of high draft picks coming, we are just getting deeper and deeper as a team.”
Kujawinski, who left immediately after the game to travel home to Iroquois Falls, produced 30 points in 30 games for the Frontenacs after coming over in a trade for Ryan Spooner.
“It was just great to get the opportunity from (general manager) Doug (Gilmour), Todd (Gill) and (assistant coach) Darren (Keily) and the organization. I was really happy they brought me in. I just tried to make the best of the opportunity.”
Kujawinski, 16, already is looking ahead to next season.
“Going to next year the guys will be a lot smarter, a lot stronger, a lot more mature,” he said. “With some new additions, the first rounders, I think it will be an exciting year to look forward to.”
The Frontenacs held a well-attended awards banquet on Saturday night. There were some great video presentations and pictures to go along with the awards. Wilton’s Darcy Greenaway was a double winner, as the team scoring leader with 52 points and the hardest worker. Not surprisingly, Igor Bobkov was the team MVP. Warren Steele was top defenceman, Ryan Kujawinski top rookie and the top scholar award was shared by Jacob Smith and Jean Dupuy. The Springer family award for off-ice contributions to the organization went to Arlene Adams, billet-co-ordinator. … Jack Nevins, still healing from his shoulder injury, was back out of the lineup for the finale. Also not dressed were David Mazurek and Petr Beranek. … Former Kingston Voyageurs goaltender Joel Vienneau was the backup for Mattsson. Vienneau played in Belleville on Saturday night. In 29 starts for Sudbury, he had a 13-11-1-1 record, a shutout (over Brampton) and a 3.26 goals-against average. … Former Frontenacs player Trent Cull, Sudbury’s coach, is now 2-for-2 in getting the Wolves to the post-season. Cull, 39, got the Wolves to the second round last season.