Fronts look to tap luck of Irish

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

Jim Hulton figures his Kingston Frontenacs have put themselves into the hole they're in so it's only right they rely on themselves to get out of it.

With the Ontario Hockey League 2004-05 regular season in its final days, only the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference are up for grabs, and it doesn't look great for the Frontenacs. Kingston is in ninth place in the conference with 61 points, four behind the St. Michael's Majors and five back of the Belleville Bulls.

The Frontenacs, who have three games remaining to the Majors' two, are at St. Mike's tomorrow night for a St. Patrick's Day tilt with the Majors. Hulton wants no part of crying in his green beer afterward.

"As poorly as we have played in the past 20 games, we're fortunate this is still in our hands," Hulton, the Kingston coach, said. "It's not as easy as saying it has been one thing. It has been a combination. We've given up soft goals at the wrong times and we keep waiting for someone to be a difference-maker (on offence). We haven't got it yet."

Scarborough native Anthony Stewart has been unable to parlay his signing with the Florida Panthers last September into consistent play. Stewart leads the Fronts with 63 points in 59 games but more was expected from a guy who was a first-round NHL pick in 2003. Second-leading scorer Evan Kotsopoulos, meanwhile, has one goal in two months.

Hulton knows his job could be in jeopardy if the Frontenacs miss the playoffs but he's not thinking about that now. Kingston plays host to the Oshawa Generals on Friday and visits the Ottawa 67's on Sunday.

"It's pretty simple," Hulton said. "If we win all three of our games, the worst that will happen is we'll play in a one-game sudden-death to get into the playoffs. It's maddening because we have put ourselves in this position."

The situation is not as frustrating for the Majors, who would get into the post-season with a win versus Kingston.

"Nothing looks good until the final game," said Majors leading scorer Darryl Boyce. "We know the game against Kingston will be like a playoff game. It's all the eggs in one basket."

BRIEFLY

Could the OHL have its first season since 1965-66 without a 50-goal scorer? The London Knights' Corey Perry, with 47, is the closest to the plateau. The Knights have three games left ... Brampton Battalion winger Wojtek Wolski is riding a 16-game point streak, the longest current run in the OHL ... Saginaw has been awarded the 2007 OHL all-star game.

RANGERS 4, STORM 0

In last night's lone OHL game at Guelph, Andre Benoit scored a goal and added an assist to help the Kitchener Rangers blank the Guelph Storm.

Michael Richards, Patrick Davis and Mike Duco also scored for the Rangers (33-20-9-4).

Kitchener goalie Dan Turple stopped 10 shots for the shutout.

Ryan MacDonald deflected 25 shots for the Storm (22-32-10-1).


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