The Kingston Frontenacs travelled for the first time early in the 2021-22 campaign to take on the 67’s at TD Place in Ottawa’s home-opener. It would be a 3-2 loss for the visitors in a much closer affair than when the two teams met less than 48 hours ago.
Playing their third game in as many days, including a quick turnover from Saturday night’s 7-2 loss at home to Mississauga, it would be a stiff test for the visitors. For the second consecutive game, Kingston would also play on back-to-back nights against a fresh squad. Ottawa had the day off on Saturday to rest and prepare for the rematch.
Leevi Meriläinen was back in the Black and Gold crease in the NHL city he currently has a contract with and for the second time would face counterpart Will Cranley for the barber-poles.
With emphasis on having a better start than the previous game against Mississauga, the Frontenacs found themselves down 1-0 just over a minute into the game on a Vsevolod Gaidamak tally. After scoring early themselves versus the 67’s in their season-opening win, the Frontenacs would now face some adversity on the road during the opponent’s home opener.
After the teams traded power play chances, Shane Wright potted his second of the year at 12:40 squaring the game up 1-1. Martin Chromick set Wright up on the tying goal.
Both teams registered power play goals to close out the opening period. Less than three minutes after Brenden Sirizzotti scored while Thomas Budnick was off for roughing to put the home-squad up 2-1, Kingston would post their own power play goal with under a minute to go. Lucas Edmonds wired his third on the season at 19:03 sending the teams to the first intermission all square at 2-2. Ludwinski assisted with Chromiak drawing his second point of the game.
Meriläinen would be called upon to make a tough save just seconds before the buzzer to ensure the Fronts could come out and reset themselves for the second period.
Both teams had opportunities in a scoreless middle-frame, but there was more structured play. The ice was tilted in Kingston’s favor for much of the first half of the middle stanza with the Black and Gold firing eight shots off before the period was seven-minutes old. Ludwinski had an excellent chance on a breakaway, but a bouncing puck prevented him from getting a good backhand shot off as Cranley deflected it away to keep the game tied.
Ottawa pushed back later in the frame earning a late power play, but the Fronts penalty-killing units did a good job not allowing any shots against as the game stayed wrapped at a deuce each going into the second intermission. It was a period played with some more physical energy by both teams.
Jack Beck gave the 67’s the 3-2 less than five-minutes into the third to finish the scoring. After collecting a loose puck directly in front of the Kingston goal, the veteran forward put it past the Kingston netminder who had no time to react despite a valiant sprawl.
Meriläinen would make two great saves off Cameron Tolnai to keep his team within striking distance facing less shots but from more of a scoring zone.
A late power play for delay-of-game had Kingston trying to get the third and tying goal. There was early pressure by Kingston’s first unit, but they were unable to get a goal as the buzzer sounded and the final score read 3-2 Ottawa.
Jackson Stewart suited up for his first OHL game for Kingston. Jackson is the son of former Kingston Frontenacs defenceman, Dave Stewart. Dave played for the team from 1989 to 1992, serving as team captain in his final season.
Paul Ludwinski’s assist gave him four points on the season and is the early rookie scoring leader in the Ontario Hockey League.
Kingston plays the next game at home on October 15th, 2021 at Leon’s Centre at 7:00pm. The Sudbury Wolves come to the Limestone City as the Frontenacs welcome Frontline Workers to the venue to celebrate. The venue is now operating at 100% capacity following all Provincial Health guidelines.
Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.ca or at the venue box office. Group tickets and flex packs are also available now at www.kingstonfrontenacs.com.