This was supposed to be a night to celebrate.
For the first time in franchise history the Kingston Frontenacs could complete a four-game playoff sweep and more importantly actually win a playoff series for the first time in 18 seasons. Kingston was cruising with a 3-0 lead in Oshawa early in the second period, when the old playoff demons came back to haunt them. Kingston letting a three goal lead slip away, losing 4-3 in overtime to give Oshawa new life in this series.
Worse than that, the best goalie tandem in the OHL is now two guys with no confidence and no idea who is going back in goal for game five. And that’s on the coaches.
Don’t get me wrong, this won’t be Peterborough all over again. Two years ago the Fronts let a similar 3-0 series lead evaporate against the Petes in a shocking first round defeat.
This Kingston team is just way too strong for that to happen again, but Oshawa lives another day as a direct result of a trigger happy coach. You thought Mike Keenan was a goalie’s worst nightmare.
The goalie on my son’s Novice house league team ( Wolfe Island’s seven-year-old Kale Hulton by the way), could have stopped that overtime winner. Lucas Perissini inexplicably letting in a weak shot that was just thrown at the net from the corner. Hardly the kind of play you’d expect from the OHL’s best goalie a year ago. However, how confident was he after already been pulled once earlier in the night after giving up two quick Oshawa power play goals late in the second. Did I mention they were power play goals? Jeremy Helvig goes in to finish the last 90-seconds, but after the intermission Perissini is back in there.
I am sure Perissini is still miffed as to why he didn’t start the series? Helvig was better down the stretch, but it’s a pretty strong statement when you won’t give the veteran number-one guy at least the opportunity to start and see how it goes against the eighth seeded team. In game three, it’s tied 2-2 early in the third and Helvig gets the hook after giving up the go ahead Oshawa goal. When is the last time you saw that? Clearly the coach was overthinking things. Perissini comes in and the Fronts go on to win on a late goal by Dal Colle.
It’s a pretty safe bet both goalies are perplexed by the decisions being made behind the Kingston bench. It’s hard to play with confidence when you’re thinking one soft one and I’m gone.
This is the same coaching staff that left Helvig 63 minutes shy of playing time to qualify for the league goalie awards. He had the best goals against average and save percentage in the OHL, but won’t get recognized for it because they couldn’t find him 63 minutes of playing time after clinching the Eastern Conference.
You don’t go deep in the post-season by jerking around both your goalies and you sure as hell should know who your go to guy is after 68 games. But apparently they don’t.
They’ve got 24 hours to figure it out.