Published September 30, 2022

Muddy start for Colts in season-opening loss to Oshawa

Colts first-round pick Cole Beaudoin was scoreless in his OHL debut
Barrie Colts Oshawa Generals

Marty Williamson isn't sure where the team he had enjoyed coaching the last month disappeared to, but the Barrie Colts squad that hit the ice in Thursday night's OHL season opener at Sadlon Arena certainly bared little resemblance to them.

Looking nothing like the team many pundits picked to finish atop the Eastern Conference standings this season, the Colts opened with a stinker, falling 2-1 to the Oshawa Generals at Sadlon Arena.

From sloppy play and running around in their own end to generating little offensively, the Colts might want to burn the game tape of this one.

It certainly wasn't the way they wanted to start his season.

"It looked like we were skating in mud," said Colts head coach Marty Williamson, not hiding his disappointment with his team's effort. "Pre-season we were free and I don't know why we seemed so tight and had no ability to connect two plays together.

"It was very dysfunctional out there and not a very good game, except for our goaltender."

Making his Colts debut, Anson Thornton didn't disappoint. The Colts goaltender, who was acquired from Sarnia in the off-season, stopped 24 shots and gave his team a chance to win.

Offensively, Barrie created few prime scoring opportunities with its 25 shots and instead spent a good amount of time in the second period pinned in its own end.

Down a goal late in the third, the Colts showed little desperation trying to get the equalizer. They pretty much spent the final three minutes of the contest in their own end.

"There was no continuation of play," said Williamson. "We didn't make two passes in a row and just seemed late on everything. It was just a bad hockey game. It wasn't a good game."

The Generals opened the scoring late in the first period when eighth overall pick Beckett Sennecke potted his first OHL goal. The rookie forward raced in on goal and redirected a perfect feed from Stuart Rolofs at 14:14.

Oshawa nearly doubled the lead late in the second when Luca Marrelli fired a shot that found its way past Thornton. The play would be reviewed and ruled no goal. Replays showed Arturs Cholach got his stick on it, before Thornton reached back with his glovehand to keep the puck from crossing the goal line.

Dylan Roobroeck, in his first game since being acquired from Niagara, would score the eventual game-winner at 7:07 of the third.

Hunter Haight, just back from NHL camp with the Minnesota Wild, cut the lead in half a little more than four minutes later when he walked into the slot and fired a high shot through traffic over Oshawa goalie Patrick Leaver.

It was as close as they would come. The goal did nothing to ignite a flat Barrie team.

"I think at times we weren't playing to our strengths," said Haight. "It's early, we're building. It's expected at the start of the year, but we got to get better."

Barrie had little sustained pressure on a young Oshawa defence.

"We talked about it all week, to hound their defence," said Williamson. "We just didn't have any pressure and nothing consistent at all." 

The Colts will have little time to lick their wounds. They hit the road for the first time Friday night (Sept. 30) when they take on the Sudbury Wolves.

Barrie can ill afford another effort like this one, especially against a Wolves team that boasts more firepower than the Generals.

"They're a higher scoring team than Oshawa. Sudbury will score a lot," said Williamson. "We need to be ready and just to free ourselves up. We were just late on everything.

"Hopefully we get this first one behind us and go out with a better effort. I think it's a good thing we're playing right away."

For Haight, the Colts need to get out the work boots.

"I think we need to work a little harder," said the 18-year-old centre. "We were getting outworked to pucks and losing battles. I think just burying down on those little details, that's what we're looking for (Friday)."

Game time at Sudbury Arena is 7:05 p.m.

ICE CHIPS: Colts first-round pick Cole Beaudoin was scoreless in his OHL debut. He didn't register a shot and won four of 12 faceoffs. . . Other players making their Barrie debut included Callum Chisholm and Josh Kavanagh. . . Brandt Clarke (LA), Evan Vierling (CLB) and Ethan Cardwell (SJ) remain at NHL camps. . . With Clarke away, overage forward Declan McDonnell was sporting the captain's 'C'. . . Both teams were 0-for-1 on the power play.

Banner image via Terry Wilson/OHL Images

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