The Kingston Frontenacs were in Kitchener to face the Rangers on Friday night looking for a much-needed win entering the night on an 11-game winless streak (0-10-1). Coming off a tough 3rd period last Saturday in Guelph where a 2-1 lead ultimately led to a 4-2 loss on the strength of two third-period Storm power-play goals, the team welcomed back Shane Wright and coach Kurtis Foster from the U-17 tournament.
Newly acquired goaltender Christian Propp got the start for Kingston after being acquired this week from the Soo Greyhounds and wore number 33. Propp was the goalie for North Bay Battalion (along with current Frontenac Nick King) in the 2018 playoff series vs Kingston and recorded 71 saves in the triple OT game won by the Frontenacs.
The first period and in particular the start was a point of emphasis for coach Foster heading into tonight’s game. The Frontenacs came out strong and were controlling the pace of play with the Rangers having trouble getting any sustained zone time on offence. Zayde Wisdom had his first of two great opportunities just 22 seconds in but was turned away by Rangers starter Lucas Pfiel. Jakob Brahaney and Shane Wright on a nice set-up by Dustin Hutton, also had high-quality chances but could not get that elusive first goal for Kingston.
Kingston was making life difficult on Kitchener playing a frustrating checking style causing turnovers forcing the Rangers to the outside, but with just over three minutes left the Rangers would strike for the 1-0 goal at 17:45. After a defensive zone turnover, the Rangers Liam Howell was able to make a backhand pass to a waiting Jonathan Yantsis who scored his 10th goal past Propp who had no chance. While the shots finished 11-7 for Kitchener, it was Kingston who played the better period but down the first goal again for the 14th time in 19 games.
In the second period, the Frontenacs would get a power-play early after Frontenacs Vitali Pinchuk was tripped hard into the boards at 1:28. Pinchuk would leave the game after limping off but returned later in the period. However, just 55 seconds into the power-play, Nick King was called for tripping as well and the teams went to four-on-four.
The Frontenacs started to play with fire after not taking any penalties in the 1st period. Kingston would get called for three more penalties in an eight-minute stretch after the King tripping call, including a double-minor to Wisdom for high-sticking. Coach Foster had stressed some things at practice during the week on the penalty kill, and while you never want to kill this many penalties in that short a time, the penalty-killing units did a good job. However, on the fourth power-play of the period for Kitchener, with Jordan Frasca in the box, the Rangers inevitably cashed in for a 2-0 lead at 14:59. The Greg Meireles goal from Riley Damiani and Axel Bergkvist put the Kitchener veteran into the Top-50 All-time in Rangers scoring.
Kingston would come storming back late in the period when things got back to even-strength scoring twice in the period’s last couple minutes. Dawson Baker scored his fourth to make it 2-1 off a beautiful pass by Frasca also assisted by Lucas Peric at 18:17 as Kingston didn’t fall back after all the penalties. Just 35 seconds later, Kingston would tie the game 2-2 with Zayde Wisdom’s team-leading 10th goal. It marked the 15th point for Frasca to lead Frontenacs in points scoring.
The third would have the Frontenacs take their first lead of the night at 9:46 when Jake Murray made a nice rush down the left side and centred a pass to Dustin Hutton giving the visitors the 3-2 lead. Lucas Rowe would also draw an assist on Hutton’s first goal in a Kingston uniform and third on the season.
Kingston played well to hold off any Rangers’ chances while having a couple of chances of their own to get a two-goal lead with the Wright, Hutton, and Wisdom line continuing to generate. However, with just 15 seconds left in the game, the Rangers would catch a break as Yantsis scored his second of the game by tipping in a point shot tying the game 3-3. It was a crushing goal against Kingston, who had been defending well and pushing for an insurance goal.
The overtime frame didn’t feature many scoring chances as both teams were playing hesitantly but Kingston would have the better chances to score including Wisdom almost ending it with a mini-break with just over a minute left. Lucas Peric was called for a misconduct penalty at the end of the period for shooting a puck late after the buzzer.
In the shootout, Kitchener would shoot first and Christian Propp gave Kingston the first advantage by making the save on the opening shooter. Shane Wright scored on Kingston’s first shot placing a nice shot past Pfeil. After Kitchener Meireles tied it, Francesco Arcuri again put Kingston back out in front of the shootout but Liam Hawel would put one past Propp to square things up again at two goals each.
When Hutton couldn’t get one past Pfeil, the Rangers Valaide scored on his chance to send it back to Kingston needing a goal to tie in the fourth round. After the Frontenacs next shooter Wisdom’s shot went wide, Kitchener took home the bonus-point for the 4-3 shootout-win.
Kingston continues its four-game road trip tomorrow night in Owen Sound against the Attack who are coming off two-consecutive games played tonight in a 3-2 overtime loss in Guelph and last night in an 8-5 loss in Barrie.
The Frontenacs next home game is Friday, November 22 at 7 PM vs the Sudbury Wolves. Tickets are available at the Leon’s Centre box office or at ticketmaster.ca.