A pair of wins on home ice have the Kingston Frontenacs back on even ground with the Barrie Colts in their Eastern Conference semifinal.
Gabriel Vilardi scored twice and Cliff Pu added a goal and assist to lead the Frontenacs to a 4-2 win over the Colts, April 10, at the Rogers K-Rock Centre.
The win evened the best-of-seven series at two games apiece, with game five scheduled for April 12 back at the Barrie Molson Centre.
Vilardi’s two-point night moved the Los Angeles Kings prospect into the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) playoff scoring lead with nine goals and nine assists for 18 points, two points ahead of Barrie overager Aaron Luchuk and Kitchener Rangers forward Logan Brown.
Trailing 2-1 past the midway point of the game, Vilardi notched his second of the night when Eemeli Rasanen’s pass into the slot was kicked ahead by Colts defenceman, Justin Murray. The puck went right to Vilardi, who snapped it past Colts goalie Leo Lazarev to tie the game.
The Frontenacs, who dropped the opening two games of the series in Barrie, notched the winning goal a little more than three minutes later, when Linus Nyman picked up a loose puck in the left faceoff circle and wired a shot over the right shoulder of Lazarev. Pu’s empty-net goal sealed the win with just 14 seconds remaining in regulation time.
Lucas Chiodo, with Barrie on the power play, opened the scoring at 16:34 of the first period on a beautiful cross-crease setup by Andrei Svechnikov. Vilardi tied it, early in the second, when he knocked in a loose puck at the side of the net.
Dmitry Sokolov put Barrie back on top midway through the second. Aaron Luchuk won the draw and Svechnikov slid the puck back to Sokolov, who hammered a shot over the right shoulder of Kingston goaltender Jeremy Helvig.
Helvig made 39 saves to pick up his second-straight win in net, while Lazarev kicked aside 32 of the 35 shots he faced.
Game time April 12 is 7:30 p.m.
Photo: OHL Playoff scoring leader Gabriel Vilardi has the Kingston Frontenacs back on even ground with the Barrie Colts. Game five is April 12 back at the Barrie Molson Centre. Terry Wilson/OHL Images photo