Fronts – Week Two
After debuting the 2020-21 Ontario Hockey league season with a 1-2-0-0 record on opening weekend, the Kingston Frontenacs got back on the winning track collecting consecutive wins during the second week versus the Central Division Sudbury Wolves and East Division rival Peterborough Petes.
The Frontenacs opened the season on the Canadian Hockey League Top-Ten list as the 4th ranked team in the country. After the two defeats, the team remained on the list heading into last weekend’s play, falling to the 9th spot. After the consecutive wins last weekend, Kingston remains amongst one of the country’s top junior teams still sitting in the 9th position.
Staving of Sudbury
The Frontenacs hald 4-0 and 5-1 leads before ultimately staving off a late-game push in the 5-4 win over the Wolves last Friday. Jordan Frasca had a pair of goals to lead the way, with rookie skaters Chris Thibodeau and Matthew Soto both getting on an OHL scoresheet for the first time with goals. Soto added an assist for his first career multi-point game.
Kingston played on a second consecutive day for the fourth time early in the season in a 3-1 comeback victory in Peterborough on Saturday. After going down early in the second period, Leevi Meriläinen would shut the door the rest of the way, making 21 saves for his third win.
Down 1-0 heading into the final frame, head coach Luca Caputi’s group held the marron and white to just four shots on goal. Early in the third, Soto and fellow freshman Paul Ludwinski potted goals four minutes apart for the 2-1 lead before Ethan Ritchie put it away in the closing minutes with his first goal of the year. Forward Lucas Edmonds added a pair of assists for the second consecutive game.
Rookie Chris Thibodeau is showing big things come in small packages. One of the smaller players in the OHL, the 5-foot-9, 135-pound forward, has been outstanding early in his first season. The Charleston, SC native not only scored a beautiful first career OHL goal over the weekend, but also proved he won’t back down from any situation.
After taking a high hit versus Sudbury, Thibodeau shook it off and got back in the play, ultimately scoring a beauty breakaway goal for his 1st career marker. “I took one in the teeth, but I decided I have to play through,” he said after the game. “I got fortunate to get a breakaway and just put it in. The puck was rolling, and I thought I couldn’t really deke, so I was thinking of shooting as hard as possible. It’s awesome, and it’s a dream come true.”
Scoring his first at home in front of the Leon’s Centre faithful was a dream come true. He added, “I don’t know what to say about being able to look up and see everyone on their feet.”
Thibodeau and Sudbury’s much larger 6-foot-2, 203-pound Liam Ross would engage midway through the third, but the energetic and tough rookie proved he would not back down, taking on the much larger Wolves opponent.
Thibodeau is not intimidated on playing larger players, saying: “I use my shiftiness and speed. I try not to think about it. We are all the same out there to me.
There is an incredible amount of new talent around the league, and early in the season, Paul Ludwinski finds himself one of the best. The rookie skater sits third in freshman scoring with six points(2G,4A) and showing a solid two-way game; he’s also third in OHL plus/minus with a +6 rating. With coach Luca Caputi tasking his players to play hard in all areas, Ludwinski is executing the game plan well during his first five career games.
Lucas Edmonds’s first year with Kingston is translating to great success on the ice; though not officially classified as an OHL rookie skater. The Fronts selected the North Bay, ON, born forward in the 7th round at the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. Edmonds had been toiling in Sweden with dual citizen status until this season, including time with the professional Vaxjo Lakers HC.
He is currently on a three-game point streak (1g,4A) and has registered four multi-point games already. His three goals and nine points place him in a tie for second amongst OHL scorers after five games with Callum Ritchie Oshawa Generals, sitting two back of Sudbury Wolves Jack Thompson (11). The 5-foot-11, 183-pounder is one of the smoother passers on the team, with four assists coming on the power play, which has him sitting atop the league for assists on the man-advantage.
With a propensity to help set up teammates, the assistant captain also displays a knack for getting pucks on the net. His 26 shots place him 3rd for the overall league shooting, just two back of the leader.
News and Notes:
Lucas Peric was suspended (5 games) and is eligible to return Oct 30th versus Ottawa.
In the “not-a-surprise realm,” team captain Shane Wright was officially classified as an “A” prospect by NHL Central Scouting this week. “(He) is the best prospect sitting at the top going into the 2021-22 season and there will be some others looking to unseat him for the No. 1 slot to make this year interesting,” commented director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr. Paul Ludwinski was also included on the list a “B” prospect, but based on his play, that letter could rise quickly.
Current Point Streaks:
3 Games – Edmonds – (1G,4A), Chromiak (1G,4A)
2 Games – Frasca (2G,2A), Soto (2G,2A), Wright (1G,2A)
Team Stat Pack – GP (5)
Goals – Edmonds (3), Frasca, Chromiak, Ludwinski, Soto, Wright, Arcuri(2)
Assists – Edmonds (6), Frasca (5), Chromiak, Wright (4)
Points – Edmonds (9), Frasca (7), Chromiak, Wright, Ludwinski (6)
PIMs – Poole (14), Burns (8), Peric (7)
SOG – Edmonds (26), Chromiak (22), Frasca (18)
Plus/Minus – Ludwinski (+6), Wright (+4), Arcuri, Burns, Murray (+3)
(3-2-0-0) 2nd East Division/ 2nd Eastern Conference
Power-Play (6-25) 24% – 8th in OHL
Penalty-Kill (13 -18) 72% – 14th in OHL
11.0 Penalty Mins/game – 8th least in OHL
On the Front
The Frontenacs play their next game at home on Friday, October 22nd, in an East Division showdown with the Peterborough Petes. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM at Leon’s Centre.
Listen to all the action on 104.3 Fresh Radio with Frontenacs play-by-play voice Jim Gilchrist. Fans can also follow along with team social media channels at Twitter, Facebook and IG for updates.
The arena is now operating at 100% capacity, following all Provincial health guidelines.
All home game tickets are available online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by visiting the Leon’s Centre box office.
Group sales and flex packs are also available for fans to purchase at www.kingstonfrontenacs.com.