Ryan Kujawinski and Kingston are tied for the OHL's final playoff spot with 1 game left (OHL Images)
First Ryan Kujawinski sent shards flying, then the Kingston Frontenacs faithful's hearts were left lying in shards.
Breaking a mirror? Seven years' bad luck. Breaking the glass as a member of the Fronts? That apparently means the franchise's hard luck dating back to the Seventies continues. Just kidding, but not really. It's all too easy to believe the hockey gods sent a message something sinister lurked for the Fronts on Friday when Kujawinski did his due diligence as a budding power foward by finishing his check. With the score tied late in the third period of a nearly must-win game for both Kingston and the Peterborough Petes on Friday, the NHL draft prospect drilled Colorado Avalanche selection Michael Clarke. The glass shattering resulted in a front-row fan requiring medical attention and an awesome visual.
Then Kujawinski was on the same side of the rink in overtime when he blew a tire and fell down, leading to an odd-man rush for Peterborough's winning goal. Since he had also scored a goal to help Kingston reach overtime, that completed the bizarro world hat trick. Goal, glass-shattering check, turnover leading to the game-winner? Is that the Dion Phaneuf hat trick?
Inexplicably, both Frontenacs defencemen, veterans Mike Moffatt and Mikko Vainonen, were ahead of the play instead of having one back in support.
Meantime, it's another twist in the Petes' run from 16 points out of a playoff position to likely sneaking into the post-season. It was their 10th overtime or shootout win of the season.
For Kingston and Kujawinski, at least it was only the second-last game of the regular season. There's time to recover.
The extra point gave Peterborough (59 pts.) sole possession of seventh place in the OHL's Eastern Conference. The Frontenacs and Mississauga Steelheads are tied for the final playoff berth at 58 points. Mississauga travels to play last-place Ottawa on Saturday at 2 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m., Kingston hosts those same 67's whereas Peterborough is at Brampton, which could rest players since it is locked into its playoff position.
That's rough for Kujawinski. By times, he was a force by times for his young team during an occasionally ragged but altogether riveting contest played in front of a raucous crowd of 5,243 in Kingston and the national Sportsnet TV audience. He was a reason Kingston had a chance to win. Then that happened.
Kujawinski with a glass shattering hit on Michael Clarke who goes off slowly. Good time to land a big hit #sportsnet
— Ryan Yessie (@RyanHPscout) March 16, 2013
Thanks to the players of both teams OHL Kingston/Peterborough for putting on a great show tonight. Just a great game!
— Greg Millen (@gregmillen) March 16, 2013
If the Steelheads and Frontenacs tie for eighth, a one-game playoff will be required. Kingston was involved in the last one in 2002, losing to the North Bay Centennials, who soon pulled up stakes to become the Saginaw Spirit. So the OHL held a tiebreaker during the last season it was first in North Bay and might have one again in its last season before returning to North Bay.
Here are a couple more angles on the check.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to email@example.com (videos: Sportsnet).
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