Barrie Colts defenceman Beau Akey added to his already impressive top prospect resume with a career first and in doing so ensured there’d be no huge Attack comeback, Friday night, in Owen Sound.
With Barrie on the power play, the CHL Top Prospects Game invite hammered home his first game-winner with just 45 seconds remaining in overtime to help the Colts hold off the Attack and improve their point streak to nine games with a 5-4 victory at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
The second-year Colt and ‘A’ rated NHL draft prospect took a pass from McDonnell at the top of the left faceoff circle and wired it short-side over the glove of Owen Sound goalie Corbin Votary for his first OHL game-winning goal.
Akey is one of 40 players selected to take part in the Wednesday, January 25 prospects game in Vancouver, B.C. featuring the top CHL draft talent available for this year’s NHL Entry Draft being held June 28-29 in Nashville.
“I just wanted to score. I haven’t got a game winner yet in my career,” said the 17-year-old, who had a goal and two assists and now has six goals and 26 points, placing him in the Top-10 in league scoring among defencemen.
“I really wanted that one bad (and) I got it. It was an excellent opportunity and I put it in the back of the net.”
The Attack trailed 3-0 after the first period and then 4-2 after the second, but rallied to tie it with goals by Tomislav Brennan, just four seconds into the third, and Colby Barlow.
Owen Sound appeared to have taken the lead moments later after a shot in front hit Julian Fantino and went in, but the goal was waved off after a review showed Barrie goalie Anson Thornton was pushed in the crease.
The rally brought to mind earlier this year when Owen Sound stormed back from a 5-1 second-period deficit for a 6-5 overtime win in Barrie, but Akey was determined to not let that happen again.
“Yeah, I was scared there for a bit, obviously, when they started reviewing that goal and they could have gone up 5-4, but I’m glad the goal didn’t count and we were able to score in OT,” said Akey, who is fighting off a cold and had a hoarse voice.
Ethan Cardwell, Declan McDonnell, Jacob Frasca and Zach Wigle also scored for the Colts (16-9-4-2), who have gone 6-0-2-1 during their nine-game point streak.
“After that Windsor game we lost (5-2 on Dec. 3), we just flicked the on switch and we were like, ‘OK, we are sick of losing’ and the team came together and we didn’t want to lose anymore,” said Akey.
“We haven’t not come to play in nine games. We flicked the on-switch and we’re all dedicated and dialed into this, so it’s been really good.”
Nolan Seed and Gavin Bryant also scored for the Attack (17-12-3-1), which was looking for its 1,000 franchise win.
After the start the Colts had in this one, a loss would have been tough to swallow.
“It’s a big win. I thought we battled all night even though we gave up a couple of goals here and there,” said Colts head coach Marty Williamson. “After having a 3-0 lead in the first and then 4-2 after the second and not come out with two points would have been disappointing.
“The power play came through big. It was actually the second unit that got out there and it was a great shot by Akey.”
The Colts power play has played a leading role in their winning ways of late. After struggling early on and sitting near the bottom of the league, Barrie is now ranked third overall with the man advantage (24.3 per cent).
“You need the power play to win games and our power play is stepping up right now,” said McDonnell, who along with his teammates went 2-for-5 with the man advantage.
Akey said the Colts are just taking advantage of what other teams are giving them.
“As a power play unit we’ve got smarter and we’ve took what other teams have gave us,” he said. “We’ve stuck to the program and I think we are playing the defence in front of us, feeding off the penalty kill instead of trying to run set plays or forcing things.”
The Colts will ring in the New Year on Saturday night with a date against the Guelph Storm in their traditional New Year’s Eve contest on home ice.
The Colts won 3-2 in overtime in Guelph just before the holiday break.
“We can have a real good New Years and finish off the year with another win,” said Williamson. “It was a hard-fought win in there. They played a very tight game, so we’re going to have to play that way and not give goals away.”
Puck drop at Sadlon Arena is 7:30 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: Beau Jelsma also deserved some credit for the winning goal when his drive to the net drew the hooking call on Seed that led to the power play. . . Thornton made 36 saves to earn his fourth win in the last five games. “There were a lot of good things,” Williamson said of the win. Owen Sound starter Nick Chenard was pulled after the opening period, giving up three goals on 11 shots. Votary stopped 27 of 29 the rest of the way. . . Evan Vierling had his goal-scoring streak snapped at six games (7G), but recorded an assist to improve his point streak to seven games (7G, 7A). . . Frasca’s goal was his fourth in the last six games. . . McDonnell now has four goals, four assists in his last seven games. . . Barrie’s first two goals by Cardwell and McDonnell were the result off rebounds off the backboards in front to them. “It’s funny we were talking about how lively the boards were and to get ready if it comes to us,” said Williamson. “The first two goals were off the backboards and our guys were ready, so it was good to see.”
Banner image via Terry Wilson/OHL Images