The Frontenacs entered play on Friday night in need of just one win to reach the Eastern conference finals. Their outstanding home record gave fans plenty of optimism and a nearly sold out Rogers K-Rock Centre showed how excited people were. The Hamilton Bulldogs had already defeated the Niagara IceDogs and were awaiting the winner of the Kingston and Barrie series. The Frontenacs didn’t want to miss a chance to close out a series on home ice and have to head back to Barrie for game seven on Monday night.
It wasn’t as goal filled as game five the night before, but Kingston had another great start in game six. Barrie had the first power play of the game, which Kingston killed off thanks to a couple of big saves from Jeremy Helvig. Just after the midway point of the period Kingston scored the opening goal of the game. Brett Neumann directed a puck towards Leo Lazarev with his skate. Lazarev stopped the initial shot but the puck remained loose in the crease area. Neumann circled the net and jammed away at the loose puck. Eventually it crossed the goal line and Kingston had a lead. They would kill off another penalty before the period ended to hold their lead. After the first period, the shots were 11-5 and Kingston was ahead 1-0.
Barrie looked like a team that wasn’t prepared for their season to end in the second. They turned up the intensity and had more puck possession than we saw in the first. Jeremy Helvig continued to play a strong game, but eventually Aaron Luchuk tied the game. It was during 4 on 4 play and Luchuk found some space and beat Helvig over the glove for the tying goal. Kingston looked to be on their heels a bit throughout the second half of the period, but with one rush the game changed quickly. Ted Nichol broke down the wing and put an innocent looking shot on net that pinballed off some skates and bounced up and over Lazarev to put Kingston back in front. Despite not having their best period, Kingston still took a 2-1 lead into the third period as they looked to close out the series.
Barrie came out for the third period flying. The pressure was on Kingston and Jeremy Helvig to have a great defensive period. The Colts put everything they could on net and Jeremy Helvig stopped every one of those shots. He made an incredible glove save on Dmitry Sokolov in the closing minutes that brought the crowd of over 5100 to their feet for a standing ovation. With Lazarev on the bench, Barrie continued to pressure, but Kingston held them to the outside and limited the scoring chances against. In the end Kingston would hold on to a 2-1 lead and advance to round three to face the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The Frontenacs will participate in the third round for the first time since 1993. Friday the 13th has been great to the Frontenacs on home ice. Although they had never played a playoff game on that date, they now have an all-time record of 15-3-2-1 on home ice on the “unlucky” day.
A schedule has yet to be announced for round three, but the series will start in Hamilton for games one and two before shifting back to Kingston for games three and four.