New Frontenacs get the point(s)

Gabe Vilardi thought three games in three days would be tough on him, considering he hadn’t played a hockey game since last May.

It hardly looked that way, however, on Sunday afternoon in St. Catharines.

The 18-year-old Kingston native scored the game’s first two goals and added two assists as the Kingston Frontenacs defeated the Niagara IceDogs 8-3 before a crowd of 5,008 at the Meridian Centre.

Vilardi finished his first three games with the Frontenacs with six points.

“We are just trying to get chemistry. We had a good three-in-three. It’s going good,” Vilardi said in a post-game interview on a cable television broadcast.

“[Gabe] is feeling his way back into it after being a long time away from playing. He sure did a good job for us today,” Frontenacs head coach Jay Varady said.

Jason Robertson followed Cliff Pu’s hat-trick performance in Saturday’s 6-4 win over the Barrie Colts with one of his own on Sunday.

Defenceman Sean Day, who came over with Vilardi in a deal with the Windsor Spitfires, had a goal and three assists. Pu had two assists.

“Look at the scoresheet and there are new names with lots of points next to [them]. These guys came in and have been able to contribute right away,” Varady said. “Over the past couple of games, we have found a couple of combinations that have been extremely hot. We have found a power play that has been able to find the back of the net [with five goals on nine power plays].

“It is the beginning of a process and we are going to continue to build the group.”

Linus Nyman and Brett Neumann also scored for the Frontenacs, who led 3-0 after the first and 6-1 after two periods.

Goaltender Jeremy Helvig made 31 saves in picking up his 16th win.

Helvig was involved in a momentum-stopper play in the second period after Niagara had scored to cut the Kingston lead to 3-1. Ben Jones, on an IceDogs penalty kill, broke in alone, but Helvig made a glove save.

The Frontenacs turned around and scored on the power play, with Robertson taking Vilardi’s pass and beating goaltender Stephen Dhillon.

Day scored his first as a Frontenac to make it 5-1 and then Nyman followed with his fifth goal in the past three games to end the second-period scoring.

Niagara’s Kirill Maksimov faces a league suspension after a head check on defenceman Conor Ali in the third period. Ali left the ice and missed a shift before returning to the game.

Maksimov went off for a five-minute major, during which the Frontenacs scored power-play goals by Robertson and Neumann.

On Saturday in Barrie, Pu’s second game for the Frontenacs was a huge one. Pu produced his first OHL hat trick in the win.

Helping out Pu was linemate Robertson, who assisted on five goals. That’s a career single-game high for assists for Robertson.

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