Published October 28, 2022

Colts blow big lead, fall 6-5 in shootout to Owen Sound

Had a 5-1 lead midway through the second period
Colts blow big lead, fall 6-5 in shootout to Owen Sound

A little less than a week ago on the same ice, the Barrie Colts celebrated being on the winning end of a huge 6-5 rally over the Mississauga Steelheads.

Thursday night they found out what it's like to be on the other end.

Up comfortably 5-1 midway through the second, the Colts gave up four straight goals and then watched as Julian Fantino buried his team's eighth shootout attempt to put a cherry on top of a stunning comeback by a similar score at Sadlon Arena.

It was only last Saturday when Barrie scored four times in a little more than six minutes late in the third to erase a 5-2 Mississauga lead. 

"It's the OHL. It's a league where no lead is safe," said Colts overage forward Ethan Cardwell who had a goal and three assists in the loss. "We saw it the other night against Mississauga when we did it to them, and tonight we kind of fell on the other end of things.

"It's not a good feeling, but some things just don't go your way some nights and I think it adds more fuel to the fire Saturday (against Kingston)."

Barrie found itself in complete control when Beau Akey's power-play goal at 9:12 of the second gave them a four-goal lead and ended the night for Owen Sound starting goalie Corbin Votary.

If Attack coach Greg Walters was looking for a spark when he brought in rookie Carter George to make his OHL debut, it's exactly what he got.

Deni Goure and Matthew Papais scored less than three minutes apart in the second to cut the lead to 5-3 before Kaleb Lawrence's second of the game three minutes into the third got it to within one.

Cedrick Guindon would send the game into overtime when he tied it with 2:24 remaining before Fantino finally beat Anson Thornton on the eighth shootout attempt to cap off a wild finish.

"In this league, you have to come to play every single night," said Colt's overager Evan Vierling, who scored twice and finished with a four-point night in his return to the lineup after being scratched the last two games.

"You got to play 60 minutes. If you don't do that, that kind of stuff will happen."

Zach Wigle also scored for the Colts (5-2-1-1).

It was a huge night for George, who was outstanding in the shootout and stopped all eight Barrie attempts to earn his first OHL win.

"You got to give credit to their backup tonight," Cardwell said of the 16-year-old. "To come in on the road and kind of hold down the fort was impressive. He played well, so you got to give a lot of credit to him."

The Colt's failure to play a full 60 minutes proved costly. They had chances to win the contest in the third and overtime, but Owen Sound was playing with house money and made sure to cash in.   

"We just got to bare down on our chances. We had them," said Cardwell. "Some nights it's just not meant to be, but I think it was just a little lapse in our game for a few minutes at a time. We played a great game in the first half of the game and then a little lapse, and then we got our feet back under us. It just didn't work out at the end."

It was a big night for the line of Vierling and wingers Cole Beaudoin and Cardwell. Combined the trio had three goals and nine points, including Beaudoin's first OHL point on an assist.

The game also marked the return of Vierling. With one too many overagers on the roster and Ian Lemieux needed on the blueline thanks to injuries, the playmaker was forced to miss the last two games.

Vierling made the message clear he wants to be in the lineup every night.

"For sure," he said of wanting to play. "I think I just have to keep producing and doing my best, and everything else will fall into place."

Cardwell was happy to be teamed up with Vierling.

"It's always nice to have a really good playmaker on your line like that and for him to find the back of the net twice (tonight) was good to see as well," said the San Jose Sharks prospect.

"We're just looking to build some chemistry there and kind of keep things rolling as a line, and just try to contribute to wins as much as we can."

Cardwell has been on his own tear since returning from AHL camp in San Jose. The overager has two goals and 10 points overall in just four games in Barrie.

"Obviously a little disappointing coming back, but I think we got a great opportunity to do some damage here. I'm super excited to be back in Barrie with the guys and just grind it out every night," said the Sharks' fourth-round pick (121st overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft.

"Just go and put my best foot forward and let the chips fall where they may."

The Colts will look to get back on track Saturday night when they host Kingston for the first time this season. While they have collected seven of eight points on the road, they boast a disappointing 2-2-0-1 record at home.

Taking advantage of these home dates is important.

"We definitely want to get that going for sure," said Vierling. "We're obviously still over .500, but with this team we should be doing a little bit better than we are. With this group, I know we're going to get going."

Game time is 7:30 p.m.

ICE CHIPS: With Arturs Cholach and Lemieux both injured, the Colts moved winger Callum Chisholm back to defence and the rugged forward held his own, finishing the night with a plus 2. . . .Votary gave up five goals on 20 shots, before being replaced by George. The rookie stopped all 14 shots he faced, as well as all eight in the shootout. Thornton made 24 saves for Barrie. . . The Colts finished the night 2-for-4 on the power play, while the Attack had one goal on six chances. . . Orillia native and Owen Sound forward Colby Barlow, who was a scratch Thursday, is one of only three 'A' rated (potential first-round pick) OHL players included on NHL Central Scouting's October 'Players to Watch' List. Akey is rated a 'B' (potential second or third round) on the list.

banner image: Terry Wilson/OHL Images

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