Colts late rally in 6-5 win over Mississauga just ‘awesome’

Barrie trailed 5-2 in a contest that looked all but over

Some 10 minutes after the Barrie Colts had completed a stunning late four-goal rally to beat the Mississauga Steelheads, Beau Jelsma and his teammates were still buzzing.

“That was awesome,” the Colts forwards said of the come-from-behind 6-5 win over their Central Division rivals, Saturday night, at Sadlon Arena.

Trailing 5-2 in a contest that looked all but over, Jelsma scored his second of the game with a little less than eight minutes remaining and sparked an outburst that finished with Barrie scoring four times in a little more than six minutes to win it and snap Mississauga’s six-game win streak.

While it didn’t quite atone for last year’s first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Steelheads, it certainly felt good.

“We had a chip on our shoulders there,” admitted Jelsma, who added an assist to finish the night with three points. “We went down 4-1 there in the first period and we came in the room and (said) ‘We’re not going to give up’ and we didn’t.

“We came back in the third and you know what, it was awesome. It was a great experience.”

Ethan Cardwell, who added two assists for a three-point night, Connor Punnett, Josh Kavanagh and Tai York, with the game-winner with 1:16 remaining, also scored for the Colts (5-2-0-0), who have now won three straight.

Owen Beck, with a pair, Zander Veccia, Brice Cooke and Luca DelBelBelluz replied for the Steelheads (7-2-0-0), who scored four times in a little more than six minutes in the opening period to take a commanding lead.

The early Mississauga outburst brought an end to the night in goal for Barrie’s Ben West who was replaced by Anson Thornton to start the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots.

“I thought we deserved a better fate in the first period,” said Colts head coach Marty Williamson. “I think we screened (West) on about three of them. I liked our energy early. I thought we came ready to play and I saw things I wanted to see. I told them win the second period and you never know what happens in the third.

“I didn’t think it’d be quite as crazy as that, but you know you find a way to stick around in a game and you get a couple of lucky breaks and opportunities and you can win a hockey game. They got them in the first and we got them in the third.”

And what a third period it was.

A turnover by Cardwell ended up in the back of Barrie’s net on a shot by DelBelBelluz to make it a three-goal lead just before the halfway mark of the period.

The Colts, who had few good chances since the opening period and would finish with just 24 shots in total on Steelheads goalie Alessio Beglieri, got the spark they needed when Jelsma came right back three minutes later to cut the lead to two goals.

Barrie then caught a break just under three minutes later when Cardwell’s slapshot from the corner went off the skate of Mississauga’s Chas Sharpe right to Kavanagh in front and the former Peterborough Petes defenceman buried his first as a Colt.

“You know what? A goal is a goal,” said Jelsma of the fortunate bounce. “We found a way to get it done and I couldn’t be more proud of the group tonight. I felt we really showed who we are. It’s a really good stepping stone for us.”

Cardwell would atone for his earlier giveaway when he took a pass from Zach Wigle and raced down the right boards before ripping a rocket from the faceoff dot over the right shoulder of Beglieri to tie it with 1:39 remaining.

“That was a big goal by Jelsma,” said Williamson. “Then funny how the hockey Gods work. Cardwell gave them one and then he took one right back, so it’s nice to see. That’s what he can do. He can make those big plays for us.”

York would complete the comeback just 34 seconds later when the rebound off a Jelsma shot from just inside the blueline went right to York and he buried it into the open cage.

“This is the great thing about Tai, the puck seems to follow him at times,” said Williamson. “I thought he had a sputtering kind of game and then he ends up with two points (assist and a goal). That’s what Tai can do.”

The Colts, to a man, never quit and were rewarded.

“Everyone was a leader on this team tonight,” said Jelsma. “We all said we’re not going to give up. The way this group played tonight, it was awesome. It was just awesome.”

The Colts couldn’t really get any kind of sustained pressure, but they stayed out and their hard work paid off.

“That’s the only way you can beat that hockey team. They’re a real good team over there,” said Williamson. “Those little bump passes down low and you need to have bodies down there to be able to battle them. At times we moved too far away and weren’t close enough to the play and you kind of get caught in no man’s land.

Barrie wraps up a big weekend against two of their biggest division rivals when they travel to North Bay on Sunday afternoon/ Williamson knows his club is in for another battle, especially with the Battalion coming off a 4-2 loss at home to the Ottawa 67’s on Thursday.

“I think you’re just going to see a lot of close games in this division,” he said. “Whether it’s 6-5 or 2-1, you got to find ways to win these games if you want to keep in contention or keep at the top of the latter. We need to go up to North Bay and we know they’re a heck of a team.

“Ottawa went in there and beat them and they’re going to be primed to give us a heck of a game. It’s a quick turnaround, but no excuses. Go up there and work.”

Puck drop at the North Bay Memorial Gardens is 2 p.m.

ICE CHIPS: After scoring 27 goals last season, Jelsma had just an assist in six games before last night. “I’ve been in a little slump lately,” said the 18-year-old, who got the money off his back in a big way with his goal early in the first. “I’m getting the chances but not having them go in, so to get that goal it was like, ‘I feel good’ and I’m ready to keep going.”. . . Williamson said injured defenceman Artur Cholach is likely to miss at least another two weeks. . . Mississauga outshot Barrie 42-24, including 17-7 in the third. . . Evan Vierling was scratched as the extra overager. . . Beck, who tied a Mississauga franchise record in an 8-2 thrashing over Hamilton on Friday with six points (1G, 5A), added three points last night and now has six goals and six assists in just seven games since returning from NHL camp with the Montreal Canadiens. 

Banner image via Terry Wilson/OHL Images

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