Kingston wins via shootout
NORTH BAY, Ont. — Cliff Pu and Jason Robertson scored in a shootout as the Kingston Frontenacs snapped a four-game Ontario Hockey League losing streak with a 4-3 victory Sunday over the North Bay Battalion.
Gabriel Vilardi scored two goals and added one assist and Robertson also scored in regulation time for Kingston, which improved its won-lost-extended record to 33-20-9 for 75 points, second in the East Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Goaltender Jeremy Helvig faced 36 shots through overtime for the Frontenacs, who won for the first time since a 5-2 decision Feb. 19 over the visiting Barrie Colts.
Brandon Coe, Justin Brazeau and Jesse Saban scored for North Bay, 28-25-10 for 66 points, third in the Central Division and sixth in the conference, one point behind the idle Oshawa Generals. Goaltender Julian Sime stopped 34 shots through overtime before 2,406 at Memorial Gardens.
“It was a pretty even game,” said coach Stan Butler, whose Troops clinched a playoff berth when the Peterborough Petes lost 9-3 Saturday night to the host Erie Otters. “They took it to us early and were playing a three-in-three, and in the third period we seemed to have a little more energy. The guys played a pretty solid game.”
The Battalion trailed 3-2 before Saban scored at 4:08 of the third period, lifting a shot from the blue line that found its way through a maze in front of Helvig. The goal, defenceman Saban’s third of the season, was assisted by Luke Moncada.
The Troops carried the play for much of the frame, outshooting the visitors 16-6. Helvig was sharp on opportunities for Jake Henderson, Andy Baker, Matthew Struthers and Rhys Forhan. Pu produced Kingston’s best chances.
North Bay outshot Kingston 5-4 in overtime, with Brad Chenier enjoying two good scoring chances, while Brazeau and Luke Burghardt also tested Helvig. Pu and Linus Nyman had the best chances for Kingston.
In the shootout, Pu and Robertson beat Sime before he denied Vilardi. Brazeau was foiled before Adam Thilander scored. Helvig then turned away Coe to seal the victory.
Coe opened the scoring at 7:10 of the first period, putting home the rebound of Braden Henderson’s drive from the blue line. Moncada also assisted on rookie Coe’s ninth goal.
The Frontenacs replied at 12:26 just as a crosschecking penalty to Chenier expired. Vilardi sent a cross-ice pass to Robertson, who beat Sime to the stick side from the left-wing circle. It was Robertson’s team-leading 39th goal.
Kingston took the lead at 1:21 of the second period. Vilardi won a faceoff in the neutral zone, charged into Battalion territory with Struthers in tow and snapped off a wrister that beat Sime to the stick side.
Brazeau tied it at 6:15 when Struthers delivered a pass from the right circle toward the middle of the ice and Brazeau blasted a low drive past Helvig for a team-high 38th goal. Vilardi restored Kingston’s lead on the power play at 8:06, finishing off a three-way passing play with Nyman and Pu.
The Battalion plays host to the Sudbury Wolves at 7 p.m. Thursday on Bruce Power Night.
BATTALION BULLETS: Fan Appreciation Day, sponsored by the Boots & Hearts Festival, saw one fan win two passes to the festival Aug. 9-12 in the Township of Oro-Medonte. Prizes also were awarded by Nice Dreams Sleep Centre, Speedy Auto Service and Shark Mobile … The teams complete their season series March 16 at Kingston. The Battalion is 1-1-1 against the Frontenacs … Captain Riley Bruce played a 264th game, eclipsing Mike Amadio for sole possession of seventh place on the Battalion’s franchise list … Sime saw his first action since a 5-4 overtime loss Feb. 19 at Oshawa … Moncada played his 100th OHL game. It was his 63rd with the Battalion after a trade June 27 from the Guelph Storm. Moncada was a third-round pick by Guelph in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection … North Bay went 0-for-2 on the power play. Kingston was 1-for-2 … Opening lines featured Struthers centring left winger Burghardt and right winger Brazeau, Kyle Potts centring Baker on left wing and right winger Jake Henderson and Moncada pivoting left winger Chenier and right winger Coe. Centre Patrick Brown and right winger Forhan had various linemates … The Battalion, which dressed seven defencemen, scratched Daniel Walker, Kurtis Evans and Adam McMaster … Kingston’s Mitchell Byrne turned 20 on Sunday … The referees were Darcy Burchell and Mike Hamilton.