Better effort still not good enough in Colts’ loss to Ottawa

The effort was good, but thanks in large part to Will Cranley the result wasn’t there for the Barrie Colts.

The Colts outplayed, out-chanced, and outshot Ottawa, but it still wasn’t enough as the 67’s goaltender kicked aside all 28 shots he faced to lead the visitors to a 3-0 shutout win in a nationally televised contest on CBC, Saturday afternoon, at Sadlon Arena.

The loss was the second straight for the Colts (2-4-1) who find themselves off to a slow start his season. Even when they do play well, they are still losing hockey games.

Cranley was clearly the difference this time.

Ottawa’s Will Cranley was outstanding in leading the 67’s to a 3-0 blanking of the Barrie Colts, Saturday afternoon, at Sadlon Arena. 

“It’s a tough time to come at. You want to get rewarded for the chances we had and some breakaways and that, but you got to tip your hat to the kid in net over there,” Colts head coach Marty Williamson said. “He did a great job for them, and that’s what happens in hockey. That’s why they drop the puck.

“We might have been the better team in some areas, but they came out on top.”

While the effort was there, Colts forward Ethan Cardwell knows it still wasn’t enough and he and his teammates have to be better.

“For sure, it’s real disappointing,” said the San Jose prospect who was robbed by a Cranley glove hand stop in close in the opening period and then rung one off the post in the second. “We put in the effort, we made a few turnovers that were costly, but I thought we played a half-decent game overall. We just have to limit turnovers and capitalize on our chances.

“I feel like we’ve been getting a lot of teams’ best lately and we have to bring our ‘A’ game every night if we’re going to win in this league.”

Barrie came out strong, with the 67’s (5-3) not getting their first shot on goal until 11:49 of the first period. Ottawa had few chances but went ahead at 13:42 of the second on a backhand that got through Matteo Lalama.

Then seconds after Cardwell rang the post on a breakaway late in the second, the 67’s came right back down the ice on 3-on-2 with Jack Beck burying a feed from Vinzenz Rohrer to double the lead.

Cameron Tolnai would seal the contest with an empty-net goal with just three seconds remaining.

“It’s always important to get the first goal and we haven’t been finding that lately,” Cardwell said.

“We brought the energy early, but didn’t get the first one and that first one is so huge, especially when you’re playing against a good goaltender like Cranley.”

Barrie had plenty of chances, but Cranley was equal to the task. Even when they did get it past him, the Colts couldn’t beat the iron.

“I think it was three posts and a crossbar,” Williamson said. “Everything tests your mettle and your approach and we’re being tested early. Everything is going to get thrown at you come playoff time, you got to be able to handle things.
“When you have these kinds of games, you got to bear down. Unfortunately, we did make a couple of mistakes and gave up some three-on-twos, but that’s what we have to even get better at.”

The effort defensively was a vast improvement after Barrie kicked off the weekend with an 8-5 loss against Niagara. The Colts gave up just 18 shots to Ottawa.

“Obviously we needed to wake up defensively after letting eight in,” Cardwell said. “It’s a whole team effort and today we were a little bit better, but not good enough.”

“The effort was pretty solid from the guys, it’s just you didn’t get results and that’s what happens sometimes,” Williamson said. “The results will come our way. This is a good hockey team and we’ll get through this.”

If there is a good time for the Colts to get back on track, this week’s schedule would be that time with games against three Central Division rivals.

The Colts kick off their three-in-three weekend at home Thursday night to the Sudbury Wolves, before hitting the road the next night to take on the Mississauga Steelheads.

The Colts wrap things up when they host the North Bay Battalion on Saturday night.

“We just need to keep working hard,” Williamson said. “There’s a couple of things that we got to fix, but we just need a good week of practice and then we get three games.

“I said this league is about a new day every day and we got a bunch of games (this) week and this is behind us. Get focused for those ones.”

Cardwell knows the importance of being able to put the early-season struggles behind them and the veteran winger is confident Barrie will do just that.

“We’re seven games in. Don’t panic we still have 61 left,” Cardwell hopes to convey to his younger teammates. “It’s a long season ahead of us, we just got to find our chemistry and I think everything will take care of itself.

“Our guys are working hard every day throughout the lineup, so no complaints there. We’re working hard and things will turn.”

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

ICE CHIPS: The Colts have been held to three or fewer goals in four of their first seven games this season. . . Ottawa has now shut-out Barrie the last two times they faced them. The 67’s won 6-0 back on March 7, 2020.

feature image: Colts’ Ethan Cardwell – Terry Wilson/OHL Images