Recent moves made by Beau Jelsma and Blair Scott are proving to be quite beneficial for the Barrie Colts these days.
Jelsma, who has found a new home on the left wing, scored twice and Scott, who was moved here from Kitchener at the OHL trade deadline, fired home his third marker since his arrival to continue their hot scoring touch of late and power the Colts to a key 4-3 win over the Kingston Frontenacs, Saturday night, in front of standing room only crowd of 4,239 at Sadlon Arena
The win helped move Barrie (21-15-3-0) to within four points of seventh-place Kingston (24-24-1-0) in the Eastern Conference standings and seven points ahead of the Peterborough Petes for eighth place and the final playoff berth.
“I’ve always believed in myself and believe I’m a good player, and I kind of waited my turn I guess,” said Scott, whose second goal in his last three games proved to be the game winner. “In Kitchener the opportunity never came, but it came here in Barrie and I’m just looking to take full advantage of it.”
Scott got into just 15 games with the Rangers this season. In Barrie, he’s found a regular role on the blueline and has even found a home on the team’s second power-play unit.
“He’s given us real quality minutes as he continues to work on his defensive game,” said associate coach Phillip Barski. “He’s got a really sneaky, hard, accurate shot and it’s finding the back of the net, and he continues to find ways to help us win hockey games.”
Jelsma, who was named captain after Connor Punnett was traded to Oshawa, has not only taken on a bigger leadership role, but the centre’s move to the left side on a line with Zach Wigle and Michael Derbidge has ignited his scoring of late.
He’s now scored in four straight games and his 22nd and 23rd goals last night gave him five over the stretch.
“I’ve always wondered about him playing the wing because he can just cause so much havoc with his speed and with his slash and scaring defencemen, similar to what (Roenick Jodoin) does a little bit,” said Colts head coach Marty Williamson.
“The great thing about him is he’s so willing to do what’s best for the team. I kind of felt this was a better balance for us and, credit to him, he doesn’t bat an eyelash and goes out there wherever I play him and plays hard. He’s done a great job for us.”
The Frontenacs dominated the play in the first period, but it was the Colts who held the lead thanks to a late goal by Wigle. Barrie would break things open early in the second with three goals in a little more than three minutes.
It would get all the offence it needed when Jelsma scored a shorthanded marker just 44 seconds into the period and then added a power-play goal a little under two minutes later.
Scott would make it 4-0 when his high-rising shot from the high slot ended Kingston goaltender Kyle Downey’s night on just the 12th shot at 3:17. He was replaced by veteran Mason Vaccari.
With heavy traffic in front of the net, the defenceman needled it through.
“I believe in my shot and, as long as I put it on net, I believe I got a real good chance of putting it in the back of the net,” said Scott.
The Colts survived a slow start in the first thanks in large part to the play of goaltender Ben West, who would turn aside 18 shots alone in the frame and 43 of 46 in total to pick up his third-straight win.
“I sure didn’t like our first period,” said Williamson. “I thought we were slow, but boy they responded well. We became a really fast team in the second and third and closed off lanes much, much better. Obviously, you don’t get through a fist period like that without West being phenomenal.
“Really, it could have been 5-3. We missed two breakaways and we gave up 18 shots, it was a crazy first period. I just didn’t like anything about our game. When teams can respond and get themselves going when they’re having tough times, that’s a good sign.”
Kingston, which had won three straight coming in, would end up making it close.
Jax Dubois got the Frontenacs on the board early in the second and then made it a game with his second of the night with less than three minutes remaining.
Poole would make it a one-goal game with the Kingston net empty a little minute more than a minute later and then would nearly tie it when Luke McNamara, left all alone in front, would take a pass from Dubois and rip one, but West moved to his left across the crease to snare the shot with his glove hand and preserve the win.
“Honestly, at the end of the day, as long as we get the two points that’s really what matters,” said Scott of the late Kingston rally. “A little scary at the end there obviously, but at the end of the day we got the two points and we really did play a good game.”
The Colts return to action on Thursday when they host the Saginaw Spirit. Game time is 7 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: The Colts held a special presentation before the game to pay tribute to Williamson’s 1,000th OHL game behind the bench Friday night in Mississauga. Williamson, who had his wife, daughter, and son out on the ice, received a jersey with the No. 1,000 on the back. “I do think it has gone by quickly,” said Williamson of the 15 years spent on the bench between Barrie and Niagara. “I had a lot of guys reach out, like (Kyle) Clifford and (Richard) Clune and guys from the original Barrie days, and then you think, ‘Wow, it’s been a long time,’ because it was a long time ago when I coached those guys. It’s been a great ride and, as I said to the guys, they’re the ones that make it the most fun every year.” . . . The Colts were sporting black jerseys designed by a youngster named Grady as part of the CHL Jersey Contest. . . Derbidge left the game Saturday after taking a puck to the face. “We’re crossing our fingers with Derbidge,” said Williamson. “He’s going for x-rays, and they’re worried about a broken jaw. We’re playing really well, but we can’t take many pieces away from this puzzle. We’re not deep enough.” . . . Chris Grisolia, who has been out since Dec. 30 after suffering a high ankle sprain, is nearing a return. “I don’t think he’ll be ready for next week, but we’re hoping for the weekend after,” said Williamson. “He’ll see some practice this week.” . . . Cole Beaudoin had an assist to improve his scoring streak to 12 games (7-10-17). Patterson also had an assist to increase his scoring streak to eight games (5-8-13).
Banner image via Sam Hosack / Barrie Colts – Blair Scott and his teammates celebrate after he scored his second goal in the last three games to help lead the Barrie Colts to a 4-3 win over the Kingston Frontenacs, Saturday night, at Sadlon Arena.