Neumann sends the bears flying in annual Teddy Bear Toss

An already successful home stand continued on Friday night when the Kingston Frontenacs hosted the Niagara IceDogs on teddy bear toss night at the Rogers K-Rock Centre. Kingston was playing their fourth consecutive home game after recording 5 of 6 points in the first three games. Niagara came to Kingston fresh off a win over the London Knights on Thursday. Kingston and Niagara only had one meeting so far this season. That game was a positive result for the Frontenacs as they left St. Catharines with a 4-2 victory on November 16.

The fans were eager to see who would be the goal scorer that allowed them to fire their teddy bears on the ice, but the IceDogs had other ideas. It was Oliver Castleman who opened the scoring for Niagara when he beat Jeremy Helvig on the blocker side from the slot. Kingston hasn’t spent much time trailing on home ice this season, but they found themselves down 1-0 early in this game. That didn’t last long, however, because Matt Hotchkiss found Brett Neumann skating hard to the net to tie the game 1-1. As soon as the puck crossed the line the teddy bears started to fly. Volunteers, staff and players themselves helped clean up the bears that would be donated to The Salvation Army toy drive. Once the ice was clear, the game would resume, but no more goals would be scored in the period. After one, it was 1-1.

Early in the second period, Niagara took the lead for the second time in the game. It was a complete mess in front of the Kingston net during a Niagara power play, and Danial Singer managed to get the puck over the goal line to put his team ahead 2-1. It wasn’t until later in the period that Kingston started to move the puck and play the way we are used to seeing. Eventually they started to come around and get some pressure, but Colton Incze made some incredible saves to keep the Frontenacs from tying the game. After two periods of play, Kingston was trailing 2-1 and looking for a third period comeback.

Kingston came out in the third period determined to tie the game. They played their best period of the hockey game and had plenty of quality scoring chances. On a power play at the midway point, Jason Robertson looked like he was prepared to put the team on his back, but Colton Incze continued to shut him and the rest of the Frontenacs down. With 1:15 to go, Jay Varady elected to pull Helvig for the extra attacker, but Kirill Maksimov hit the empty net from inside his own blue line to seal the deal. The Frontenacs would lose this game by a score of 3-1.

The win by Niagara tied the season series at a game each. It also ended a 6-game point streak for Kingston.

Kingston will wrap up their five-game home stand tomorrow night when they host the Sudbury Wolves. It will be the final home game before the Christmas break. Next weekend the Frontenacs will head to Guelph, Owen Sound and Kitchener for games Friday through Sunday to wrap up the first half of the season.

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