Colts ‘engaged’ in 4-3 comeback win over Wolves

Down 3-1 just past midway through the first period, Ben West slammed the door shut in goal

The slumping Barrie Colts needed this one and they did it in an impressive fashion.

Down 3-1 just past midway through the first period, Ben West slammed the door shut in goal and his teammates responded with three straight unanswered goals, including a pair in the third, to pull out a 4-3 win over the Sudbury Wolves in front of a packed Sudbury Community Arena. 

Barrie limped into this one with just two wins in its last nine games and was facing a Sudbury team that had won its last four games. New Wolves head coach Derek MacKenzie was also making his OHL coaching debut in front of an announced crowd of 4,727 fans.

Yet, the Colts found a way to shake off the rough start and battle back to get a much-needed win.

“It really is,” said Williamson of a game his struggling team needed. “There was a different vibe on the bench. Even when it got to 3-1, there was a real positive vibe. We were pushing for each other, cheering each other on simple plays when we made good hits or blocked shots.

“I just thought the team was very engaged in this game and I’m real happy with them.”

Tai York got the comeback rolling with his fifth of the season with just over five minutes remaining in the opening period to cut the lead to one.

Goals by Evan Vierling, beating Sudbury goalie Joe Ranger on a breakaway, and Chris Grisolia, his second of the game and game-winner, a little more than a minute apart past the midway point of the third put Barrie (8-6-2-1) in front, 4-3.

West held a frantic Wolves team at bay, making 42 saves in all to give the Colts a third win in three games against their Central Division rivals.

“I thought he was outstanding,” said Williamson of West. “He played real well for us. It was kind of crazy there at the end when he lost his (skate) blade and we couldn’t get a whistle for him. It was pretty funny, but he did a great job.

“I thought the whole team did a great job. There was battle right from the beginning. We made a couple of mistakes and it cost us goals, but we got better as the game went along and did a lot of good things.”

David Goyette scored twice for Sudbury (6-9-2) and now has five goals in his last five games. Quentin Musty had the other marker for the Wolves.

Grisolia’s game-winner was the first of his career and just his fourth of the season.

His two-goal effort was a spark the Colts needed.

“It puts a big smile on everyone’s face. We all know how hard he works,” Williamson said of watching the gritty winger get rewarded. “Sometimes he’s been snake bitten. He’s had about two or three goals that have been disallowed on him that probably should have counted, so for him to bang in a couple and be first star those performances are ones that inspire the whole team.

“We’re real happy for him.”

The Colts return home Saturday night to host the Sarnia Sting. The Sting have lost just twice in regulation in their last 10 games and they bolstered their lineup in a big way this week with the acquisition of Anaheim Ducks prospect Sasha Pastujov from the Guelph Storm.

Sarnia, which also signed defenceman Lukas Fisher this week and has the OHL’s top scorer in Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ty Voit (6-26-32), should be a good test for the Colts.

Barrie will also be looking to improve on a disappointing 3-4-0-1 record on home ice.

“I think they’re one of the strongest teams in the West,” said Williamson of Sarnia. “Our performances on home ice haven’t been as good as I wanted, so hopefully we can build on this and understand the good things that we did and play a solid game.”

Game time at Sadlon Arena is 7:30 p.m.

ICE CHIPS: The Colts penalty kill came up big in this one, killing all six Sudbury power-play opportunities including three in the third. Barrie was 0-for-2 with the man advantage. . . While the Colts still have until Jan. 9 to get down from four to three overagers on the roster, it’s a situation they are going to live with says Williamson. Defenceman Ian Lemieux was scratched Friday night. “It’s tough for the guys, but until there can be a trade for one of them. . . We’re just not going to discard them,” he said. “There could be an injury, there could be different things that happen. So, we’ve got to keep the flexibility. The guys know that it’s not perfect, but they’re not letting it bother them. They’re all contributing, so it’s a good sign that way.” . . . It’s been a disappointing start offensively for captain Declan McDonnell. After scoring 28 goals and 62 points in 63 games last year between Kitchener and Barrie, the overager currently has just one goal and five points in 16 games. . . Tonight’s contest marks the first time goalie Anson Thornton faces his old club. Thornton was acquired from Sarnia before the start of this season. 

Banner image via Terry Wilson/OHL Images

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