The way the Kingston Frontenacs are playing over their final 20 games of the Ontario Hockey League season raises both hope and disappointment.
There is hope in the sense that the team is improving heading into next season, but there is disappointment because of the team's inability to play this way earlier in the season.
The Frontenacs, after spotting the Niagara IceDogs a 2-0 lead last night, roared back with four consecutive goals in the second half of the game to register a 4-2 victory.
It was the Frontenacs' second win in a row and the team is 5-4-2 in its past 11 games.
Although the late-season winning has brightened the mood around the team, the Frontenacs are resigned to the fact that there isn't going to be a playoff appearance.
"It's tough that we are not going to make the playoffs but with the team we have and Dougie (coach Doug Gilmour) coming behind the bench I've got a real good feeling about next year." said goaltender John Cullen, who beat his old team for the first time in three tries, making 27 saves.
"It feels good, real good to beat the old team. We played a great game from forward back to defence."
Defenceman Erik Gudbranson's second goal of the season broke a 2-2 tie in the third and Nathan Moon, with his 10th goal in the last nine games, added an insurance marker.
"Again our power play got us going. We're moving the puck well on it," Gilmour said. "Once these guys get some confidence and move the puck it starts to snowball. Good things are happening."
Gilmour shrugged off the suggestion that it still is a disappointing time for the team, despite the recent wins, because it is out of a playoff spot.
"We can't even worry about disappointment now," Gilmour said. "That part is over with. Our goaltending is playing better, everyone is playing a lot better. What is important is for these guys to understand what we want to do each and every night. They are going to be rewarded at the end of this. We're going to continue to work hard."
Cullen said he wants to close out the season as well as possible.
"We're won a lot of games lately," he said. "The only thing we can do is compete hard the rest of the way."
Elsewhere in the OHL, it was: Saginaw 6, Erie 4; Guelph 6, Owen Sound 0; Windsor 6, London 3; Ottawa 5, Kitchener 4; Plymouth 8, Sarnia 3; Barrie 6, Sault Ste Marie 0; and Mississauga 4, Sudbury 3.
At Kingston, Ont., both teams paid attention to their defensive duties in an intense first period. James Marsden and Zack Fenwick stirred the crowd with a couple of big-time hits.
Nobody was getting free space in front of the nets and both teams were at their best when cycling the puck along the boards.
The closest either team came to a goal was when the Frontenacs' George Lovatsis rang a wrist shot off the crossbar behind goalie Jeremy Smith.
It got a lot more offensive in the second, though, as the teams each had 17 shots and came out of the period tied at two.
The IceDogs got the jump on goals from Patrick Lee and Drew Schiestel to go up 2-0 by the 5:14 mark.
In a repeat of Thursday's victory against the Oshawa Generals, the Frontenacs used their power play to get back on even terms.
Colt Kennedy banged in his eighth of the season off a rebound allowed by Smith. It appeared that would be it until the dying seconds of the period when the Frontenacs performed well on another power play. Corbin Crawford pounded the puck from the point and the surging Moon wrapped in the rebound at 19:55 for his first of two goals on the night.
Spirit 6, Otters 4
At Saginaw, Mich., Tyler Murovich had two goals and two assists for Saginaw (31-20-2-4) as the Spirit jumped out to a 4-0 lead before having to hold on to beat Erie (29-26-2-1).
Storm 6, Attack 0
At Guelph, Ont., Brandon Buck had two goals and two assists and Brandon Foote made 31 saves as the Storm (30-21-3-3) hammered the Attack.
Spitfires 6, Knights 3
At London, Ont., John Tavares scored two goals and added an assist but it wasn't enough as the Windsor (52-6-0-1) doubled up London (40-16-1-2).
67's 5, Rangers 4
At Ottawa, Thomas Nesbitt had a goal and two assists to help Ottawa (33-19-4-2) edge past Kitchener (23-29-3-2).
Whalers 8, Sting 3
At Sarnia, Ont., Michal Jordan got a hat trick, while Matt Caria and Chris Terry both scored two goals and added a pair of assists as Plymouth (30-22-5-0) beat Sarnia (28-23-3-3).
Colts 6, Greyhounds 0
At Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Alex Hutchings scored a pair and Michael Hutchinson made 25 saves as Barrie (27-27-3-1) blanked Sault Ste. Marie (17-38-2-2).
Majors 4, Wolves 3
At Sudbury, Blake Parlett and Kaspars Daugavins both had a goal and an assist as Mississauga (32-24-1-2) edged Sudbury (23-30-2-4).