On a night where the Barrie Colts cooled off their streaking Highway 26 rivals from Owen Sound, it was their depth players who grabbed the spotlight and led the way.
Michael Derbidge scored twice and Blair Scott and rookie Jaiden Newton both recorded their first goals in a Colts uniform to power them to a 7-3 win and help snap the Attack’s three-game winning streak, Thursday night, at Sadlon Arena.
With the line of Cole Beaudoin, Riley Patterson and Tai York tasked with going up against Owen Sound’s big line of Winnipeg Jets prospect Colby Barlow, Deni Goure and Ethan Burroughs, Barrie got plenty of offensive help from its secondary scorers.
Derbidge and linemates Zach Wigle (1G, 1A) and Kyle Morey (1A) combined for five points and Scott, who was acquired from the Kitchener Rangers at the OHL trade deadline, pinched in with another two points from the point.
“It’s huge. For a team like this, we need it from everybody,” said Colts head coach Marty Williamson after the win. “We just can’t count on (Beau) Jelsma or Beaudoin and Patterson, we need to get some balanced scoring and they did a great job. Wigle’s line had an outstanding night for us and really did a good job. Morey is a quiet, but really effective player out there for us, so to have the three lines like that (helped).
“We had tough matchups with Cobo’s line going against their big line, and they didn’t score a lot, but they did a great job for us. That was a big night for them too.”
With the win, Barrie (17-23-1-0), which also got goals from Roenick Jodoin and Jelsma, moved into a tie with the Peterborough Petes for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Petes, who have played two more games than Barrie, fell 4-2 to the Ottawa 67’s last night at home.
“Everyone knows that we’re trying to make the playoffs here,” said Derbidge. “I think every single line is important on this team, but it definitely helps when every line is going. Every line tonight was hustling, and they did their job.”
Derbidge appears to have found a home in Barrie.
The winger, who was drafted by the Sudbury Wolves in the fifth round of the 2021 OHL Priority Selection, has also had brief stints last year with the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League and Stouffville Spirit in the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
He’s certainly found good chemistry playing with Wigle and Morey.
“One hundred per cent, and I think it’s that way because it’s positive, said the 18-year-old, who now has three goals and an assist in eight games with Barrie. “Every time one of us makes a mistake, there’s no harping on each other. It’s nice. It’s a good atmosphere, so we just kind of build off each other.”
Derbidge had his best game in a Barrie uniform and Williamson certainly noticed.
“He’s one of those guys we had around at the beginning of the year, and he made such an impression because of the way he hangs out and the character with his teammates, and what kind of guys he is,” said Williamson. “We had the opportunity to get him back and he’s paying rewards for us.”
Down 4-0 early in the second, the Attack (21-20-2-1), Ben Cormier and Barlow, on the power play, cut the lead in half, but it was Derbidge and his linemates who would give Barrie back some breathing room and quell the momentum.
Morey forced the turnover in the along the boards and fed Wigle at the side of the net and he threw it in front to Derbidge who beat Matthew Koprowski, who was making his OHL debut after replacing Owen Sound starter Corbin Votary early in the second.
“The Wigle to Derbidge goal was really big for us,” said Williamson. “They got a couple of goals and we got the next one back, so that was kind of important.”
Owen Sound cut the lead to 5-3 in the final minute of the second on a goal by Sam McCue, but failed to build on that momentum in the third.
Barrie held Owen Sound to just 10 shots and even fewer good scoring chances in third. Sam Hillebrandt, who was especially strong in the first, was seldom tested.
Jelsma and Derbidge scored 42 seconds apart late to put this one away.
“It was a fairly routine period for Hillebrandt and that’s what I said to them I was most proud of,” said Williamson. “How we answered that third period, it just shows some maturity, and that’s a great thing from a young team. We are starting to see some maturity.”
Derbidge’s second of the night was even nicer than his first. The veteran knocked the puck away from Sam Sedley at his own blueline and beat Taos Jordan to the lose puck at the Owen Sound blue line before firing it over the right pad of Koprowski.
“It was a nice feeling,” he said of his second goal. “I saw he was going to go (defenceman) to (defenceman) and that was my guy, so I just got a lucky bounce and worked my (butt) off to try and get the puck, and when I saw it go in the net it was a really good feeling.
“It was also a good feeling to know that security for the win was there.”
The Colts tough weekend continues when former captain Conner Punnett and the Oshawa Generals drop in on Saturday night before kicking off a six-game road swing in North Bay on Sunday afternoon.
“This team had won three in a row, they were on a hot streak and we wanted to start the weekend off well,” said Williamson. “We know Oshawa is coming in and they’re playing really well right now and North Bay is one of the better teams in the league.
“We knew it was going to be a tough weekend, so it’s a great way to start it.”
Game time Saturday night at Sadlon Arena is 7:30 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: Konnor Smith appeared to open the scoring four minutes in for Owen Sound, but his goal was disallowed after a review found Hillebrandt was interfered with in front of the net. Wigle would score a shorthanded marker minutes later to put Barrie up for good. . . Despite playing in Wednesday night’s NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game and getting on a plane this morning for the long flight from Moncton, N.B., Beaudoin still played Thursday. “To have that kind of energy to hop off planes and basically demanding to me that he’s playing today and not taking a game off is quite something,” said Williamson, laughing aloud. “He’s quite a character and we’re pretty proud to have him.” . . . Hillebrandt finished with 41 saves for his second straight win. Votary gave up four goals on 12 shots before he was replaced. Koprowski stopped 26 of 29 shots. . . Jelsma’s 18th goal of the season and assist extended his scoring streak to five games (3G, 7A). . . Twelve of Barrie’s 18 skaters got in on the scoring. . . The Attack drew no penalties and were 1-for-4 on the power play.
banner image courtesy The Barrie Colts