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Meriläinen, Edmonds and Wright fuel Frontenacs to a 5-4 shootout victory over Bulldogs

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Kingston made their first trip to FirstOntario Centre on Saturday afternoon in a wild Eastern Conference battle coming away with a 5-4 SO win. Lucas Edmonds, Shane Wright each scored twice on three points and Francesco Arcuri extended a point streak to seven games with three assists in the powerplay dominated game. Leevi Meriläinen remained perfect in shootouts with seven stops on a 26-save performance.

After a slow start for the visitors going 0-for-4 on the powerplay, the Fronts would get stronger as the game grew, scoring three straight powerplay goals taking a 4-3 lead after going down early outshooting the Bulldogs 40-30. A late goal by Hamilton sent the game to extra time taking the Fronts to overtime for a league-leading seventh time.

 

First Period

Kingston had the better opportunities and led on the shot clock during the opening period including four powerplays, but a Bulldogs goal was the difference.

Navran Mutter made a big bit on Costantino in the Fronts zone with Hamilton looking to play a physical game, setting the tone for things to come.

Kingston got the first of four-man advantages at 4:44, taking their seventh-overall ranked powerplay to the ice. Some good zone time and a couple shots on Marco Costantini gained some momentum for the Fronts who led 15-13 on the shot clock.

Meriläinen was big in the Kingston goal first stopping a Bulldog breakaway chance created off a big hit by Nathan Staios on Lucas Peric.

A second Bulldog penalty came midway through the stanza. Kingston had three solid chances including a nice Wright-to-Chromiak-to-Frasca passing play forcing the Hamilton goaltender into a tough save.

Kingston has scored the first goal only once in seven games and Hamilton continued that trend scoring at 12:14. The home side went up 1-0 after a crease crash goal by Avery Hayes (7) assisted by Ryan Humphrey and logan Morrison.

The Fronts third powerplay came seconds after the opening goal. Edmonds was stoned by Costantini and Frasca had a chance in close from the slot as Kingston continued to get opportunities to get their first in the Bulldog goal.

Staios on Meriläinen with a third big save with four minutes left in the period keeping Fronts within one.

For a fourth time the Bulldogs took a penalty after a retaliatory penalty after Nathan Poole made a hit on the Bulldog defender. Chromiak was stopped by diving Costantini as the Bulldog goalie dove wildly making a save. Meriläinen then saved a shorthanded breakaway to keep the Fronts within striking distance as the squads headed to intermission.

The game featured many big hits got rough late in the frame as rookie Jackson Stewart and Mutter got involved when the Kingston rookie made a hit in the neutral zone. Stewart was assessed a minor, five-minute major and a game misconduct with 14 seconds left. Kingston’s Braden Hache and Staios also received minors after the mixup. Mutter was also tossed, given a minor, 10-minute misconduct and match penalties. The Bulldogs would take 4:46 of powerplay time to the break on their first man advantage.

 

Second Period

The Frontenacs finally took advantage of the extra-skater scoring three times in under three minutes in the period ultimately taking a 3-2 lead to the third period. The period was heavily in favor of the visitors firing 14 shots on Costatini and continued its rough tone.

A Bulldogs fifth penalty nullified the Stewart major after Kingston had killed of the opening minutes. While on four-on-four, Fronts point and goal leader, third-star Lucas Edmonds (11) tied it up at 1-1 on a deflection off a Lucas Peric point shot. Jake Murray also got an assist at 4:14.

Meriläinen continued his strong game with another key save while on the four man aside play. Fifty-three seconds of PP time for Kingston turned the game around as Edmonds (12) finally scored a powerplay goal putting the Fronts up 2-1 just 1:08 after tying it. Shane Wright and Francesco Arcuri, extending his point streak to seven games, drew helpers at the 5:32 mark.

Kingston got a sixth powerplay chance not even halfway through the game and Wright (8) scored from the circle at 7:48 deflecting a shot off a Bulldog shinpad for a 3-1 lead. Martin Chromiak and Arcuri with his second point assisted on Kingston’s second powerplay goal.

Hamilton went to the man-advantage in the penalty filled game at 9:47 but went shotless as Kingston penalty killers played well in front of Meriläinen.

Thomas Budnick and Mark Duarte dropped the mitts with five minutes left.

The home side scored on another scramble at 16:14 as Hayes (8) had his second unassisted after ripping a shot from drawing the score to 3-2 setting up the third.

 

Third Period

A tighter start to the third saw a combined two shots in the opening five minutes but Hamilton tied it 3-3 when rookie Jonathan Melee (5) buried a shot from the slot after the puck had dropped in front of him at 13:54. Chandler Romeo assisted with Lucas Moore credited with his first OHL point with a helper.

Poole was hit late after a dump by Bulldogs defender Chandler Romeo and Kingston went back to a seventh man advantage chance. Poole returned after the hit skating off on his own power.

First star Wright (9) scored his second making the Bulldogs pay, with a top-shelf rifle from the top of the circle for the third powerplay goal for Kingston improving on its 25 percent efficiency mark entering the game.

However, Hamilton would not give in and tied it 4-4 on a wraparound gaol by Mark Duarte at 16:04 with assists to Jan Mysak and George Diaco.

Kingston got an eighth chance on the powerplay once again late looking to score a third-straight powerplay goal. Head coach Luca Caputi called a timeout to get his top offensive players rested. Wright hit the post with 45 seconds left on the chance almost putting the Fronts up.

 

Overtime

Both teams had good opportunities on three shots each with Wright having a good chance for a hattrick goal after backhand in front of Costatini in the opening seconds of the extra frame before Hayes was stoned twice by game star Meriläinen.


Shootout

Meriläinen came into the game having not allowed a shootout goal against on six shots and the Finnish netminder kept his perfect record stopping eight consecutive shots by Bulldogs shooters to now have a perfect 13-for-13 record. Costatini also stopped six of seven Kingston shooters before rookie Chris Thibodeau gave the Fronts a much needed and earned two points on the road trip with a nice deke on the Hamilton goalie.

 

BMW Kingston Hardest Worker Award

Francesco Arcuri (3A)

BMW Kingston Hardest Worker Award

 

Three Stars of the Game

  1. Shane Wright – KGN (2G,1A)
  2. Avery Hayes – HAM (2G)
  3. Lucas Edmonds – KGN (2G,1A)

Three Stars of the Game

 

Fronts Notes

  • Forward Maddox Callens left the game in the first period returning with a mask after an injury
  • Fronts Goaltender Mason Vaccari backstopped Canada Black saving 28 shots allowing two goals in a 7-2 win over Canada Red at Capital City Challenge in Ottawa
  • Forward Matthew Soto (Canada White) and Defenceman Quinton Burns (Canada Red) also made the trip with Vaccari and are gone until Dec 1
  • Frasca extended a six-game point streak versus North Bay (5G,5A)
  • Arcuri extended to a seven-game point streak (4G,5A)

 

Team Stat Pack – GP (18)

(10-5-3-0) – 23 points

 

Leaders (Top/3)

  • Goals – Edmonds (12), Frasca, Wright (9), Chromiak, Arcuri (7)
  • Assists – Edmonds (21), Chromiak (14), Wright, Arcuri (13)
  • Points – Edmonds (33), Wright (22), Frasca, Chromiak (21)
  • PIMs – Haché (27), Poole (25), Callens (17)
  • SOG – Edmonds (86), Wright (77), Chromiak (60)
  • Powerplay Points – Edmonds (12), Wright (10), Chromiak (8)
  • Rookie Points – Soto (14), Ludwinski (10), Thibodeau (6)

 

On The Front

The Frontenacs play a third consecutive road game on Thursday night in Peterborough to take on the recently returned Mason McTavish and the Petes.

The next home game is particularly special on Friday, December 3, with the Oshawa Generals making their second visit to the Leon’s Centre. The game is the Annual Teddy Bear toss and fans are encouraged to bring a teddy bear/stuffed animal to throw on the ice following the first Fronts goal. The bears will be donated to Salvation Army Kingston Citadel.

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 visiting the Leon’s Centre box office. Group Sales and Flex Packs are also available for fans at www.kingstonfrontenacs.com.

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