Game Recap: Total Team Effort falls short in Sarnia

A two-game season series wrapped up with the Kingston Frontenacs (25-36-1-2) with a hard-fought battle, but were downed 4-3 by the Sarnia Sting (38-17-5-4) on Saturday night at Progressive Auto Sales.

Nolan Burke scored his 50th goal as Sarnia took a 1-0 lead early in the first period before rookie Jacob Battaglia sent the game to the first intermission at 1-1. Sarnia made it 3-1 on tallies 88 seconds apart in the middle frame, but a pair of shorthanded goals 59 seconds apart by Alec Belanger and Maddox Callens set up a 3-3 final stanza. The Sting took a third lead in the game with a 4-3 tally early in the final frame to wrap up the victory.

Ian Lemieux recorded a pair of assists for a second consecutive game and Ethan Miedema extended a point steak to three games.

Injuries continue to hinder the Kingston lineup with Tommy Budnick and Nathan Poole not dressing after leaving last nights game in London. Rookie Blueliner Vann Williamson was back in the Kingston lineup with usual defender Cal Uens slotted up front in support of the forwards. Ottawa Senators prospect Ben Roger left after a collision late in the first period in tonight’s game.

Kingston started Colorado Avalanche prospect Ivan Zhigalov making 33 saves on 37 shots in his 43rd appearance in a second star performance. Nicholas Surzycia took the Sting crease and made 19 stops off 22 shots.

The leagues’ best powerplay got the Sting out to a 1-0 lead on the milestone goal for the first star Burke (50) just 3:42 after the opening faceoff. Third star Luca Del Bel Belluz got a deflected shot from the point in front of the Kingston net to Burke for a tap in past an unfortunate Zhigalov. Burke’s 23rd powerplay goal tied NHL-star Steven Stamkos for the most powerplay tallies in a season for the franchise.

Shortly before the Fronts knotted the score, Maddox Callens was denied of a tying goal by the Sarnia netminder after Gage Heyes setup his teammate for an open shot in the slot that forced Surzycia into a great stop.

It was tied 1-1 as Kingston replied on their first man advantage when Battaglia (7) deflected a point shot by Ian Lemieux at 13:55, giving the rookie skater points in consecutive games. Miedema registered an assist to extend a point streak to three games, and Lemieux’s helper was his third in the last two games.

The already shorthanded Frontenacs saw Roger injured late in the frame after an awkward fall in a collision in the Fronts corner and was forced to leave for evaluation, not to return.

Sarnia hit the post late while on a nine-shot run, with Zhigalov making key saves to get to the first intermission all square 1-1 looking to add to a 27-4-3-2 record when scoring first.

The Sting scored twice in 88 seconds to take a two-goal lead. First, Del Bel Belluz (39) put the homeside up 2-1 with a shot from the faceoff circle for his second point of the game at 5:40 with a 24-14 lead on the shotclock. It was 3-1 at 7:07 when former Oshawa General Cooper Way (14) was able to beat Zhigalov with a wrist shot.

Former Frontenacs’ defenceman Ethan Ritchie appeared to have netted a broken play in front of the Kingston net by banging in a loose puck past an unfortunately bumped Zhigalov for a three-goal Sarnia lead. However, the Fronts challenged for goaltender interference as Zhigalov was unable to make a save after a tripped Sarnia forward had slid into him as the scoring shot was taken and the goal was reversed.

A night after Kingston allowed two tallies against while on a powerplay, the club responded with a pair of shorties themselves: against the OHL’s best powerplay. On the ensuing Kingston penalty off the disallowed goal play, Alec Belanger (7) first made it 3-2 after beating Surzycia over the left shoulder with a beauty shot at 18:46 finishing off a breakaway unassisted.

A second shorthanded tally in the same penalty-kill came 56 seconds later off a Callens (14) strike; tying a career high in goals and setting a career high in points to set up a 3-3 start to the third period. Lemieux earned a second helper, for a second consecutive game at 19:43.

Kingston took a 6-5-0-1 record to a tied final frame but were down a goal less than three minutes after faceoff. Marcus Limpar-Lantz (15) was setup for a breakaway chance in close and after deking against the grain off a nice setup pass by Easton Wainwright at 2:31 for the eventual 4-3 game-winner.

Sarnia continued to pressure, but Zhigalov continued to keep the Fronts within reach, as the Sting took a 7-1 shot lead midway through the third. The Sting defence held off the Fronts offence to just two shots over the last 18 minutes of the final frame to hold on to the one-goal 4-3 win.

The Black and Gold wrap up a three-game road trip tomorrow afternoon against the Kitchener Rangers at 2pm.

Battaglia (7), Belanger (7), Callens (14)
Burke (50), Del Bel Belluz (39), Way (14), Limpar-Lantz (15)

(1/3) – two shorthanded goals against

BMW of Kingston Hardest Worker

Three Star Awards

  1. Luca Del Bel belluz – (1A)
  2. Ivan Zhigalov KGN – (33 saves)
  3. Nolan Burke SAR – (1G)

Fronts Notes:

  • Kingston Frontenacs Hockey Club officially bid to host the 2024 Memorial Cup presented by Kia
  • F Ethan Miedema – pts in three straight gms (2G,1A)
  • D Ian Lemieux – pts in two straight gms (4A)
  • F Jacob Battaglia – pts in two straight gms (1G,1A)
  • F/D Alec Belanger – pts in five of last six games (3G,3A)

Team Stat Pack – G.P. (64) (25-36-1-2) 53 pts


Goals –Thibodeau (16), Outwater (15), Miedema, Callens (14)

PPG – Ludwinski, Soto, Miedema (5)

Assists – Miedema (30), Hemström (28), Ludwinski (25)

PPA – Hemström (12), Burns (9), Outwater (8)

Points – Miedema (44), Outwater, Hemström (38)

PPP – Ludwinski (12), Hemström (12), Soto (11)

SOG –Thibodeau (128), Miedema, Hemström (112)

PIMs – Burns (98), Budnick (64), Uens (50)


On The Front:

Kingston’s western trip ends with a visit to Kitchener taking on former Frontenac Francesco Arcuri and the Rangers tomorrow, Mar 19 at 2 pm.

The Black and Gold return to Leon’s Centre for a big East Division battle with heavy playoff implications against the Oshawa Generals on Wed, Mar 22, at 7 pm, for the second-last home regular season game.

96.3 Big FM and 104.3 Fresh Radio are your exclusive home for play-by-play with Jim Gilchrist and Kingston Frontenacs Hockey! Fans can listen live to all the games at Fans can also tune into the game at (subscription needed).

Fans are encouraged to follow the team’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media channels for live updates.

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