Talk about a momentum killer.
First, the Kingston Frontenacs were all smiles after scoring goals just 24 seconds apart around the 17-minute mark of the first period to erase the 3-1 lead the home-ice North Bay Battalion had built in the first dozen minutes.
Then, a little over two minutes later it was Fronts frowns all around as the Battalion struck just eight seconds apart in the final minute of the first frame to effectively deflate Kingston, which went on to lose the Ontario Hockey League game, 8-3.
The loss was the third in two and a half days for the Frontenacs on their northern Ontario road swing. The trip began Friday night with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Soo Greyounds and was followed by a 2-0 blanking by the Sudbury Wolves on Saturday night.
Kingston dropped to 3-9-1-0 with the loss. The Frontenacs trailed the East Division’s fourth-place Oshawa Generals by four points heading into Sunday night’s action, which saw the Gens host the Peterborough Petes.
Justin Brazeau pretty well singlehandedly supplied the Battalion with their early 3-1 lead, scoring all three goals. His first came 53 seconds after the opening faceoff, and No. 2 was scored less than four minutes later. After Fronts forward Ryan Cranford’s second goal of the season made it a 2-1 lead at 8:36, Brazeau completed his hat trick three minutes later and chased rookie goaltender Ryan Dugas from the game after just six shots.
Then came probably Kingston’s most successful two dozen seconds of the season to date. Brett Neumann scored at 16:55 and 17:19 to make it a 3-3 game.
What followed 2:03 later, however, was probably Kingston’s worst eight seconds to date. Matthew Struthers put the Battalion in front at 19:22 and Egor Postnov added some insurance at 19:30.
A scoreless second period followed, before North Bay cemented its victory with three goals in a 5:10 span in the middle portion of the third period. Struthers, at 6:42, upped the margin to 6-3, Adam McMaster scored at 9:57 and Brad Chenier completed the assault at 11:52.
Three of North Bay’s goals — Brazeau’s final goal, Struthers’ second goal and Chenier’s tally — were of the power-play variety.
The teams finished with 31 shots apiece, with Kingston holding a narrow 22-18 advantage through two periods.
On Saturday night in Sudbury, the Wolves did more than enough scoring in a 30-second span just past the midway point of the first period to propel them to a 2-0 victory.
Carson Macauley broke a scoreless tie exactly 11 minutes into the opening frame with what proved to be the game-winning goal. Thirty seconds later, David Levin added an insurance marker.
The Frontenacs outshot Sudbury 29-28 in the game, but Finnish rookie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen turned aside all of Kingston’s shot to gain the shutout and improve his goals-against average to 2.39 and his won-lost record to 6-2.
Brendan Bonello absorbed the goaltending loss.
On Friday night, the Fronts opened the road swing with a 4-3 overtime loss in Sault Ste. Marie.
Frontenacs overager Ryan Hotchkiss had tied the game 3-3 with his first goal of the season, with 8:47 remaining in the third period.
Neumann and rookie defenceman Jacob Murray, with his first career OHL goal, were Kingston’s other goal scorers. Also scoring for the Soo were Hayton and Joe Carroll.
The Greyhounds held a 1-0 lead after the first period and were up 3-2 after two.
Kingston was outshot by the Soo by a wide margin in the first period — 16-4 — but the visitors turned it up a bit, outshooting the Greyhounds 17-4 in the second period. Kingston was outshot 31-24 overall.