Home-ice advantage is key

There is no wish list when it comes to a playoff opponent for the Kingston Frontenacs, who are in the closing-out stage of their 68-game Ontario Hockey League regular season schedule.

The odds are likely that from the Frontenacs’ four opponents over their final six games will come their first-round challenger. The Frontenacs play the Oshawa Generals twice, have another two games against the Ottawa 67’s and singles against the North Bay Battalion and Mississauga Steelheads.

“We are not talking about the playoffs or looking ahead to the playoffs right now. We are living in the moment,” Frontenacs head coach Jay Varady said.

Goaltender Jeremy Helvig said it is not about who the Frontenacs play in the first round of the playoffs but rather where they play. A Kingston win in Oshawa on Wednesday in a game that begins at 7:05 p.m. would mean no worse than a fourth-place finish for the team.

The top four teams in the Eastern Conference — Hamilton has already wrapped up first place in the conference and Barrie is the No. 2 seed because the Colts are first in the Central Division — will have home-ice advantage in the first round.

“Home ice is important. This year we have been playing great on home ice. It would be great to have home-ice advantage in the playoffs,” Helvig said.

The statistics certainly back Helvig’s statement. The Frontenacs, when the 20-year-old Helvig is in net at home, are 19-4-6.

Helvig, drafted by the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, said it’s important for the Frontenacs to keep building on their mindset of playing to their identity over the closing six games.

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