The Kingston Frontenacs (18-9-3-0) came away with a 5-2 win over the rival Hamilton Bulldogs (18-10-2-2) to end a four-game winless skid playing just their sixth game since Dec 12 during a trying intermittent schedule on Friday night. Jordan Frasca (2G,1A) and Martin Chromiak (1G,1A) led the offence for Kingston while third star Leevi Meriläinen made 33 saves, including two penalty shots, to bring Kingston back within one point of the Bulldogs in the East Division.
Special teams are always of importance and the Frontenacs got a bonus with a shorthanded marker and took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission playing with a sense of purpose and physical play, holding the majority of play in the first 20 minutes.
The teams played back and forth hockey for the opening five minutes with just two faceoffs. Shots were at a premium early with both teams having only a pair eight minutes into action. Kingston came out the more physical of the teams with Nathan Poole and Thomas Budnick both laying solid checks and continued throughout the game.
Kingston struck early after a give away that Zayde Wisdom took advantage of. The Flyers prospect picked off an errant pass in the Hamilton zone and fed a waiting Martin Chromiak (15) who whistled it past Marco Costantini for the 1-0 goal at 8:27.
Jackson Stewart and Poole continued the physical presence with two more solid hits; however, Kingston was called on the games first penalty at 10:50 with Budnick heading off for two.
It would be 2-0 when Kingston’s penalty killing unit with a shorthanded marker by Lucas Edmonds (19) at 11:52 for Kingston’s third shorty of the season. Another turnover at the Bulldog blueline allowed Jordan Frasca to feed Edmonds who wired a low shot past the Hamilton goaltender for the sixth shorthanded goal against on the Bulldog powerplay.
Edmonds almost made it a three-goal lead with a grade-A chance from the slot that Costantini had to be solid on with four minutes left. The line of Wright, Wisdom and Chromiak had an excellent offensive zone shift again pushing the Dogs on their heels. Meriläinen made a good glove save off a Hamilton partial breakaway with 2:28 left
Rookie skaters Matthew Soto and Paul Ludwinski (7) hooked up to make it 3-0 with a great give-and-go play. Soto had made an excellent play to chip down a lofted pass before racing down on the Hamilton net with Ludwinski. Maddox Callens also drew an assist at 18:03 on the eventual game-winner.
Kingston got their first powerplay chance with 10 secs left on the clock and would take the balance of the remaining seconds to the intermission with the three-goal lead and a 10-8 shot advantage.
After Kingston would register the first seven of eight shots on goal to open the middle frame, it was the Bulldogs scoring twice in 28 seconds bringing the game back to a one-goal lead for Kingston and making things interesting.
Lawson Sherk (7) scored at 5:18 from Mark Duarte and Patrick Thomas for the Bulldogs first marker. Team point leader Logan Morrison (16) followed up with a nifty toe-drag shot at 5:46 from Colton Kammerer and Nathan Staois.
Hamilton had a good chance from five-feet on Meriläinen shortly after, but the Kingston netminder kept it a one-goal Kingston lead to stem the momentum.
Kingston had their second powerplay chance in the second half of the period, but it was Hamilton with three shots on the Kingston goal. Meriläinen had to be good on another semi-break by Ethan Sims with five minutes left.
Caputi took a timeout with a minute left on a defensive zone faceoff as the coach rested a tired line. The move paid off as Kingston won the important draw and took the one-goal lead to the second intermission.
Kingston had a couple opportunities to open their one-goal lead early with Chromiak setting up Wisdom from in close 15 seconds into the period before Edmonds appeared to have scored his second of the night after Frasca set up the winger, but an official’s review deemed the play offside.
Hamilton had a penalty shot opportunity after a breakaway, but Meriläinen was able to thwart Avery Hayes to keep his team ahead.
The Frontenacs had a pair of powerplay chances midway through the frame. The first at 7:14 spending most of the time in the Bulldog zone, but the Hamilton penalty killers did an excellent job keeping Kingston shooters outside the goal perimeter. Another chance with the man advantage came seconds after at 9:35.
During the Kingston powerplay, Hamilton drew a second penalty shot with 9:51 left but Meriläinen (who is 13 for 13 in shootouts) stood tall stoning Marc Duarte to keep the Fronts one-goal lead intact. The save was of even greater importance when after the save, Frasca (21) scored a powerplay goal, tipping a Chromiak shot into the Hamilton net. Wright also assisted at 11:01 to make it 4-2.
Meriläinen continued his solid play making a toe save off Ryan Winterton with 3:40 left. A Kingston double-minor penalty with 2:20 remaining had some additional pressure put on the Kingston net, but again Meriläinen was solid keeping a Hamilton crease crash chance out.
Frasca (22) would score shorthanded into an empty net rounding out the 5-2 score at with his second of the game unassisted at 19:04.
BMW Kingston Hardest Worker
Three Star Awards
- Jordan Frasca – KGN (2G,1A)
- Leevi Meriläinen – KGN (33 saves)
- Martin Chromiak – (1G,1A)
Team Stat Pack – GP (30)
(18-9-3-0) 39 pts
2nd East Div (HAM-40)
4th Eastern Conf (MISS -50
- Goals – Frasca (22), Edmonds, (19), Chromiak (15)
- Assists – Edmonds (36), Chromiak (24), Wright (20)
- Points – Edmonds (55), Frasca (41), Chromiak (39)
- PIMs – Haché (40), Poole, Budnick (31), Callens (23)
- Shots– Edmonds (138), Chromiak (108), Wright (96)
- Powerplay Points – Edmonds (19), Chromiak (15), Wright (13)
- Rookie Points – Ludwinski (20), Soto (18), Thibodeau (8)
- Defence Points – Murray, Peric (18), Belanger (7), Budnick (6),
- Plus/Minus – Frasca (+16), Edmonds(+15), Murray (+14)
On The Front
The Frontenacs play two of three games at home this weekend. The next home game against the Niagara IceDogs is tomorrow, January 22, for a 7:00 pm puck drop.
Kingston will hit the road for the third game in three days on Sunday, January 23, heading to Tribute Communities Centre, taking on the Oshawa Generals at 6:05 pm.
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.
Fans can also catch the action on CHL TV/OHL Live and YourTV.