Billy Jenkins’ second goal of the game at 13:54 of the third period snapped a 6-6 tie and the Kingston Frontenacs defeated the Plymouth Whalers, 7-6, in an Ontario Hockey League game played Friday night before 3,161 at Compuware Arena.
Plymouth remains in first place in the OHL West Division with a record of 12-8-3-1, good for 28 points. The Whalers are two points ahead of Sarnia (12-11-0-2), who lost, 5-0, in Kitchener tonight.
Kingston improves to 13-10-0-0 and is in third place in the East Division of the OHL’s Eastern Conference.
First star Darcy Greenaway led Kingston with the hat trick (12-13-14) and an assist. Besides Jenkins’ pair (8-9), Cody Alcock (9) and Henri Ikonen (9) scored single goals for the Frontenacs.
Second star Matt Mistele led Plymouth with his first-ever OHL hat trick (8-9-10). Third star Alex Aleardi added two goals (11-12) and two assists and was +3. Michael Whaley (2) scored the other Plymouth goal. Whalers defenseman Mitch Jones was +4.
Alcock opened the scoring at 0:32 to give Kingston a 1-0 lead, scoring on their first shot of the game from the left circle. But Plymouth replied when Tom Wilson banked a shot off Kingston goaltender Colin Furlong's pads and the puck pinballed to Mistele, who scored from the right circle at 3:39. In the final minute of the first period, Whaley followed up Aleardi's rush and scored on a rebound just outside the Kingston blue ice at 19:08 and the Whalers led, 2-1, after one period.
Plymouth at times dominated the second period, outshooting Kingston, 22-12, in the period. After Greenaway tied the game for Kingston at 2-2 at 3:40, Aleardi went to work in a big way, finishing a rush with his typical speed with a shot to score from the right hahmark at 6:06, converting Simon Karlsson's bank shot off the back boards at 9:57 and setting up Mistele for his second goal of the evening at 13:14. Plymouth led, 5-2, at that point.
But Kingston didn't quit. Greenaway scored a pair - at 14:20 and 18:59 respectively - to cut the Plymouth lead to 5-4 after forty minutes.
Jenkins got Kingston even at 5-5 at 1:40 of the third period, launching a shot from the high slot that seemed to deflect off a Whaler skate before beating Plymouth goaltender Matt Mahalak. Plymouth replied on Mistele's first-ever hat trick goal at 7:54, coverting a three-way passing play with linemate Tom Wilson and Ryan Hartman and popping the water bottle from the lower rim of the left circle at 7:54.
But again, Kingston kept coming and got goals from Ikonen at 10:39 and Jenkins at 13:54 to lead for the first time at 7-6 since Alcock's first shot of the game way back in the first period.
After Jenkins' goal, Plymouth head coach Mike Vellucci pulled Mahalak for Alex Nedeljkovic, who played the rest of the way. Nedeljkovic was pulled in the final minute, but the Whalers couldn't find the equalizer.
Mahalak stopped 25-of-32 shots he faced, while Nedeljkovic stopped both shots he faced.
Plymouth had more than 50 shots in a game for the second straight game. After pelting Windsor's Jarolslav Pavelka with 52 shots on Wednesday in a 3-0 win, the Whalers had a 53-34 edge on the shot clock tonight.
The Whalers are off until next Wednesday when they play in Erie against the Otters (6:45 pm, 88.1FM WSDP). Plymouth returns home on Friday to host Ottawa at 7:05 p.m. at Compuware Arena and will host Kitchener on Sat. Dec.1 at 7:05 p.m. in the Whalers’ annual Teddy Bear Toss game at Compuware Arena.