Special team goals lead to win
After a team-building exercise on Saturday, the Kingston Frontenacs went out and constructed a big 6-2 win over the Barrie Colts Sunday afternoon.
The base of the win came from three special-team goals and the victory was buffed up nicely by spreading the scoring around, much to the delight of 2,920 at the Rogers K-Rock Centre
Two-goal scorer Matt Hotchkiss thought the team-building component deserved an assist in the win over the Ontario Hockey League Central Division-leading Colts.
“I think the team is feeling great right now. We had a great team building day, which I think really played a big part in [Sunday’s] win,” Hotchkiss said.
“I think the guys feel really close together after it, had lots of energy and I think it showed on the ice.”
The two goals by Hotchkiss came in the third period. Also scoring were Brett Neumann, Tyler Burnie, Ryan Cranford and Nathan Dunkley.
Defenceman Eemeli Rasanen added three assists and goaltender Jeremy Helvig made 41 saves.
“There were some spots where we got away from our identity but good teams find a way to get two points no matter what. I think we did that today,” said Frontenacs defenceman Liam Murray.
“We’ve got guys that are starting to heat up [scoring], which is a key. That secondary scoring is awesome.”
The win enabled the Frontenacs (15-7-3-3) to stay within two points of the first-place Hamilton Bulldogs, who won 5-3 over the Mississauga Steelheads Sunday.
Other than his team giving up too many shots, Kingston head coach Jay Varady was happy enough with the win.
“I thought our power play started out a little sluggish and [Barrie] had unbelievable jump on their penalty kill,’’ Varady said.
“Somehow we found our way into two power-play goals and [Neumann] does a great job on the shortie. So we had a 3-1 edge on special teams,” he said.
“Our best five-on-five player was Jeremy Helvig. We gave up way too many shots to my liking. But, hey, we will get back to work on it.”
The teams traded power-play goals in the second period – Burnie for the Frontenacs and Zachary Magwood for the Colts (15-9-2-1) – but it was an even-strength score late in the period that was the big one for Kingston.
Burnie came out from behind the net and centred across to Cranford, who had the puck bounce off him past goaltender Leo Lazarev.
Burnie’s power-play goal was his fifth of the season on the extra-man unit. He tops the team in that category.
Jason Robertson passed to the six-foot-four Burnie, who had planted his big frame in front. He received and turned and with a second effort got the puck past Lazarev.