Published February 4, 2023

Colts stay the course in comeback win over Generals

Barrie reeled off four-straight goals
Barrie Colts Oshawa Generals

Perseverance paid off for the Barrie Colts Friday night in Oshawa.

Despite a dominating opening period where they outshot the Generals 22-7, it was the Colts who trailed 2-0 at intermission.

Barrie, though, would stay the course, reeling off four-straight goals en route to a 4-3 win at the Tribute Communities Centre.

"We were down 2-0, which we knew wasn't a big deal. We knew we could come back," said Colts forward Tai York who notched his 10th and 11th goals of the season in the win. "We had 22 shots in the first period, so (Colts head coach Marty Williamson) told us to keep shooting the puck and get in the right areas and they (the goals) would come.

"Just don't let up and they started coming."

Ethan Cardwell and Beau Jelsma, with the game-winner early in the third, scored for Barrie (26-13-4-2), which has now won three straight.

"I was pretty happy with the game," said Williamson. "These kids played awfully well. I was pretty worried coming in here. They (Oshawa) have been hot as heck and I knew we were going to have to play real good.

I was pretty proud of the guys. It was a good way to start the weekend."

Oshawa (18-22-1-3) had won six of its last eight games and goaltender Jacob Oester was coming off back-to-back shutouts.

The Colts dominated from the drop of the puck, but a misplay of the puck behind the net by goalie Anson Thornton resulted in Stuart Rolofs firing it into the empty net for a 1-0 lead just under three minutes in. Cameron Butler would double the lead with just three seconds remaining in the first and Barrie found itself trailing despite heavily outplaying their opponents.

Williamson told his club at intermission to stick with it.

"We said just keep playing the right way." he said. "When things come to us, we're going to take advantage. But we sure can't give them the third (goal) and make the hill even higher to climb.

"I thought we had a good balance of pushing, but not being silly about it. That we were so desperate to score a goal that we were going to give up one."

They had to do it against a goaltender who was coming off a 4-0 win over red hot North Bay, had stopped all 49 shots he faced over the last 120 minutes and then stood tall against a barrage of Barrie shots in the opening 20 minutes on Friday.

Rookie Ethan Quick and York, though, would help the Colts finally break through early in the second on a two-on-one.

"You come out of the first period with 22 shots and this kid is coming off two shutouts and you're kind of going 'is anything going to get by him,'" said Williamson. "So, that first goal was real big for us. Quick makes a nice play and York finishes it.

"It just kind of broke it and then from then on it just seemed like we were more comfortable scoring goals on them."

Cardwell would even things up midway through the frame, before goals by York and Jelsma, just 56 seconds apart early in the third gave Barrie the lead for good.

York's second of the game came when he parked himself in front and then pounced on a rebound off a Braden Haché blast from the point.

"Just get the puck down low and go from there," said York.

Jelsma's breakaway proved to be the difference maker after Beckett Sennecke scored with just 23 seconds remaining and Oshawa on the power play.

The Generals pushed late, but the hosts, who were outshot 41-28, generated little on offence.

"We were really solid," Williamson said about his team's ability to limit the scoring chances against. "It was the power-play goal at the end that got them back within one. I thought five-on-five, we were doing a great job."

The win over Oshawa kicked off another three-in-three weekend for Barrie. A jam-packed February will see the Colts play 13 times in 22 days and Williamson knows he's going to need the minutes and production from his third and fourth lines like he got from Chris Grisolia, York and Quick Friday night if they are going to get weather this busy schedule.

"It's a busy schedule with three-in-threes, three-in-four for the next three to four weeks. You need to play your lineup, you just can't run two lines," he said. "You need to play all four lines and it was great to get contribution.

"They (Grisolia, York, Quick) were pretty sound defensively. They were on the ice for one goal, but they were sound defensively for us."

Barrie heads home Saturday night to host the Kingston Frontenacs, before wrapping up the weekend Sunday afternoon in Sudbury.

The Frontenacs are coming off a 5-2 win over Peterborough on Friday and now sit just six points behind the Petes for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Williamson knows his team can't afford to take the foot off the pedal and will need another effort like tonight's.

"They've been playing really sound hockey," he said of Kingston. "We can't come in with that attitude to play that kind of game with races and battles. . . these teams are winning. Oshawa is hot, Sudbury is winning. These teams are winning, so for us to keep playing well against these teams that's what's going to be important for us."

ICE CHIPS: Barrie sits 10 points behind North Bay for top spot in the Central Division, but has three games in hand and play the Troop twice more. "Those three games in hand can help us in the long run," said York. "We just have to keep pushing to the wire.". . . Captain Brandt Clarke had his four-game scoring streak (6-2-8) end. Friday was just the second time in 10 games (10-10-20) since he's returned that he didn't hit the scoresheet. . . Quick has only got into five games since his trade from Ottawa, but the rookie is off to a solid start with two goals and three points for his new team. . . Jelsma dominated in the faceoff circle, winning eight of 10 draws. He also has five goals in his last eight games and has hit the 20-goal mark for a second straight season. 

Banner image via Terry Wilson / OHL Images

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