With the Kingston Frontenacs mired well in last place entering the Ontario Hockey League's holiday break, head coach Doug Gilmour is starting to question the commitment of some of his players.
The Frontenacs surrendered two soft third-period goals in a span of just over two minutes and saw their losing streak extended to four games in a 5-2 loss to the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors on Wednesday.
The Frontenacs (7-23-4-2) enter the 11-day break with no momentum, and Gilmour put the blame on some of his players.
"Some guys are working their (butts) off and some guys think it's easy," Gilmour told the Kingston Whig-Standard. "But it's not. They have the opportunity to make something out of this and they're just throwing it away."
Gilmour will be doing some scouting on Boxing Day and Dec. 27 in Toronto and he might want to keep his eyes on the top OHL prospects at the Marlboros minor midget tournament. The Frontenacs have the look and feel of a team that is bound to finish last in the league, which would give them the first pick in the 2009 priority selection.
The second-worst team in the league, the Kitchener Rangers, is eight points in front of the Frontenacs and has played five fewer games than Kingston. The Frontenacs sit 12 points out of a playoff spot with 32 games left.
Gilmour, meanwhile, promised to be more demanding after the break.
"Some guys do it, some guys don't," he said. "The guys that don't won't be playing, bottom line."
In other OHL action Wednesday, it was: Plymouth 2 Owen Sound 1; and Belleville 3 Niagara 2.
At Kingston, Ont., Andris Dzerins scored two goals for the Frontenacs, while Rob Flick, Kyle Neuber, Jared Gomes, Zac Rinaldo and Kingston-born Corey Bureau scored for the Majors.
After a horrible first period, the Frontenacs turned the tables in the second and cut the lead to 3-2 when Dzerins deposited a rebound on the power play.
Dzerins, after a slow start to the season, seems to be finding his game. The Latvian has three goals and two assists in his past three games, giving him 10 for the season, half of his 20-goal total from last year.
A strong forecheck and a willingness to battle resulted in the Frontenacs winning the race for many loose pucks and gave them a big territorial edge for much of the second period.
It was a much different in the story in the first when the Frontenacs played with no energy and the Majors had a 2-0 lead before the game was two minutes old.
The second goal was not one for Mavric Parks' highlight reel as a Neuber slapshot went off his glove and into the net, continuing the goaltender's shaky December.
After Dzerins made a nice individual move to elude a defender and score on a backhand, the Majors restored their two-goal edge on a power play as Gomes cashed in on a rebound.
Whalers 2 Attack 1
At Owen Sound, Ont., Matt Hackett stopped 36 shots in Plymouth's win over the Attack.
AJ Jenks and Joe Gaynor had goals for Plymouth (15-14-3-0), winners of two straight.
Andrew Wilkins scored and Scott Stajcer made 26 saves for Owen Sound (13-13-4-3).
Bulls 3 IceDogs 2
At Belleville, Ont., Nick Palmeiri's third-period game winner led the Bulls past Niagara.
Cory Tanaka and Shawn Lalonde added goals for Belleville (23-10-2-2).
Freddie Hamilton and Chris DeSousa replied for the IceDogs (12-16-4-4).