In what can only be described as a season of failed expectations even amongst the harshest critics, the Kingston Frontenacs start their final 10 games of the season on Friday Feb. 22, 2019 against league powerhouse Ottawa 67’s. Team management did a commendable job managing expectations after last seasons playoff run, however the performance and results have been alarming for Fronts loyalists.
The Fronts play seven of their final 10 games on the road in the race against Flint for last place in the league and the first overall selection in April’s Priority Selection Draft. This year, the first player selected in the draft is expected to be Shane Wright of the Don Mills Flyers. Wright has applied for exceptional status as an underage player. He’ll be 15 years old when next season begins. There have been a number of other players in the past who have entered the league under this designation including John Tavares with Oshawa and Aaron Eckblad with Barrie. Wright is viewed by many scouts as the best player in his age group during the past twenty plus years.
Following Friday’s game at the Leon’s Centre, the team hits the road for five games including a rare Sunday afternoon tilt against the Peterborough Petes at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. The Petes have been in a free fall since making a deal with the Guelph Storm in November that brought in mercurial NHL first round pick Ryan Merkley. The Petes are 7 – 17 since trading for the San Jose Sharks first selection in last June’s draft. Going into this weekend the Petes are on a four-game losing streak, have won two of their past 10 games, and are now only three points ahead of ninth place Barrie for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Next weekend the Fronts kick off their weekend on Friday, Mar. 1 against the Flint Thunderbirds in a game that will be a showdown for the first overall pick in the draft. In a twist befitting of the season, the loser of this game wins. Not unlike the Will Ferrell movie Semi Pro, this game is a real life version of the Flint Michigan Mega Bowl.
After the Flint game, the Fronts travel to Saginaw on Saturday before finishing up the trip with a Sunday afternoon game against the Spitfires in Windsor. The Frontenacs last five games of the season will all be against East Division rivals Peterborough, plus two games each against Oshawa and Ottawa.
Tim “The Coach” Cunningham has played every sport ever. His inside knowledge can be heard and seen on radio, television and in print across Canada. Follow him on twitter at @TheCoachTC.