Thanks to ol’ Double-M, the Kingston Frontenacs, outplayed and outskated for long stretches, outshot in every period during regulation and by a decisive 8-1 count in the overtime, nevertheless escaped their home pond with a 4-3 shootout win over the visiting Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
“Mike Morrison should’ve been first, second and third star,” Kingston coach Todd Gill noted on his 20-year-old goalkeeper, who backstopped the host club to an improbable
Ontario Hockey League victory during which his team was nearly outshot two to one. “Mo was outstanding.”
Morrison saved his best for last in the Sunday matinee at the K-Rock Centre, namely the five-minute extra period and an eight-player shootout. Mind you, the latter isn’t necessary if MM isn’t lights out during the former.
Consecutive minor penalties in overtime to Ryan Kujawinski and Sam Povorozniouk effectively turned the Kingston cage into a shooting gallery.
“(The Soo) got a ton of shots during those four-on-threes in overtime, but Mo saw ’em all,” said Gill, “and even when they missed the net, he had everything covered and our guys were getting into the shooting lanes.”
Roland McKeown, Cody Alcock and Povorozniouk tallied for the victors, who improved to 20-17-2.
Ryan Sproul, Trent Mallette and Tyler Gaudet replied for the ‘Hounds (20-18-2-1).
In the shootout after the first six snipers were stymied, Henri Ikonen buried a backhand shot past Soo goaler Justin Nichols.
Kingston collected two points when the fourth Soo shooter, Jared McCann, shot wide.
“Mo was solid as usual,” said Darcy Greenaway, who looked fully recovered from a recent stomach muscle injury. “For some reason we didn’t have a great start, but Mo kept us in there like he has all season.”
Morrison, who spent Christmas holidays way up north at his parents’ lakefront retirement home west of Hearst, not far from Santa’s workshop, was his usual humble self after his stellar outing.
“Our penalty killers were unbelievable, guys going down to block shots, a real team effort.”
He pointed out that his best saves were the eight made in overtime, “because if one of them gets by me, it’s over. Those saves carried over to the shootout.”
The Frontenacs opened the scoring nine minutes into the game, McKeown stepping into a shot from 20 feet out that no one — including netminder Nichols — saw until the puck had lodged in the bottom corner of the net.
It remained a 1-0 game until the Greyhounds potted two goals in the opening half of the middle period.
“They were all over us for the first period and a half,” observed Gill, who between periods wondered aloud to his charges where all the zip and zest, so aptly illustrated in Friday’s win over Oshawa, had gone. “We weren’t moving our feet or playing with any of the confidence we showed on Friday.
“After the 10-minute mark of the second we started to play like we’re capable of playing, at least for a little while.”
Alcock, with his 14th, and Povorozniouk, with his sixth, scored 52 seconds apart to give Kingston a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.
The Greyhounds notched the equalizer five minutes into the final frame, Gaudet, uncovered in front, converting Nick Halagian’s nifty, no-look centring feed.
The Soo, coming off a 6-2 pasting Saturday in Belleville, outshot the Frontenacs 46-24.
Neither team exploited manpower opportunities. Kingston was 1-7 with a man to the good, the Soo 1-8.
Article Courtesy of The Whig-Standard