I went with the upset in calling for the sixth-seeded Kingston Frontenacs to upend the third-place North Bay Battalion in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference playoffs.
Given their 8-2 record over the final 10 games of the regular season — a mark that coincided with the return of star centre Sam Bennett from a season-long injury — I figured that the Frontenacs just might be poised to take the best-of-seven series from the favoured Battalion.
Other than an 8-0 blowout loss in the series opener, Kingston did make it close against North Bay — just not nearly close enough.
The Battalion rode the seven-point, series efforts of top scorers Mike Amadio and Nick Paul and the .966 save percentage goaltending of Jake Smith en route to a sweep of the Frontenacs.
Smith faced 119 shots in the four games and allowed only four for a 1.00 goals against average.
After winning the opener 8-0, the North Bay did just enough to get past Kingston with 3-2, 3-1 (with an empty-net goal) and 3-1 victories to send the Frontenacs packing.
The Battalion was able to hold Bennett at bay, limiting the first-round, National Hockey League draft pick of the Calgary Flames to three assists and a -4 plus-minus rating in the four games.
PHOTO: North Bay and Kingston players, in the traditional, end-of-series handshake. (Photo by Kingston Whig-Standard.)