Brandt Clarke couldn’t hide his disappointment after a 5-4 overtime loss to the Peterborough Petes on Saturday night at Sadlon Arena.
For the 11th time in 14 games this season, the Barrie Colts gave up the first goal. Only this time, there’d be no pulling it out in the end.
Tucker Robertson walked into the slot 3:36 into the extra frame and fired a drive over the glove of Matteo Lalama to hand Barrie (7-5-2-0) only its second loss in the last seven games.
Clarke said the Colts have been wanting to get off to stronger starts, but that didn’t happen and this time they paid a price.
“We got to come out better right out of the gate, and we didn’t do that,” said the Los Angeles Kings top prospect who drew an assist to run his point streak to seven games. “We make it hard on ourselves. We always have to chase. We’ve been pulling it out recently, but you can’t win consistently like that.
“When we start playing a full 60 minutes, we’ll start racking up the wins and not have to go to overtime all the time.”
Colts head coach Marty Williamson didn’t like his team’s start to the game either. Barrie abandoned a tighter game that had helped them build a three-game win streak.
” I thought we were loose, but I thought we were loose for most of the game,” Williamson said. “We played tighter our last few games and then today we got back to some of our habits of trying to do too much when things aren’t there, and it just unbalances the game. Gives them more puck possession.
“We got to get it through our heads how we want to play consistently.”
The loss was a missed opportunity for Barrie.
They had a light weekend schedule and were on home ice facing a struggling team Petes (5-8-1-0) team that had lost four straight.
A win would have moved them into a first-place tie with the North Bay Battalion in the Central Division.
“We wanted this one really badly,” Clarke said. “We wanted to move up the standings and have a chance to jump up into first in our division, and we didn’t capitalize.
“It’s really demoralizing, but we’re going to have a real good week of practice. We got a division rival in Mississauga on Friday and we’re going to want those two points.”
Konnor Smith scored just 4:29 into the opening period and the chase was on.
Beau Jelsma scored his first of two to tie it at 7:50 of the second period, but J.R. Avon, with his first of two, restored the lead less than seven minutes later with the Petes on the power play.
Matthew Sredl brought the Colts even late in the same frame before Shawn Spearing scored a weird one that deflected off a body in front and went up and over Lalama.
Jelsma tied it again at 3-3 at 13:35 of the third on a beauty effort when he raced around Robertson, cut into the front of the net, and shoved it past Petes’ goalie Michael Simpson on the far side.
The Colts looked like they were going to pull out another comeback when Ethan Cardwell finished off a two-on-one with Evan Vierling with 3:32 remaining to give the home team its first lead of the night, but the Petes had other ideas.
Just 38 seconds later, Jelsma was kicked out of the faceoff circle in his own end forcing winger Cooper Matthews to take the draw.
Robertson beat Matthews cleanly and sent it back to Avon, who drove it past Lalama to send this one into overtime.
“Yeah, (Jelsma) been winning (draws), so we kind of went there. It’s a tough one,” Williamson said of his young centre being kicked out of faceoff by the linesman. “We kind of knew that faceoff play and we kind of left that one to our goalie. That if we lose, he’s got to make that save and we didn’t get it.”
Barrie had chances in the three-on-three overtime, but as it often happens one chance leads to one at the opposite end and Robertson made good when he was allowed to walk into the slot
“We told our guys there it usually comes off a transition,” Williamson said. “Something at one end, and then they’re going to go the other way, and then you can get a chance coming back.
“We’ve been pretty good in overtime, but we let this one slide away from us.”
It’s another light week coming up for the Colts. Barrie travels to Mississauga on Friday, before returning home Saturday night to host the Niagara IceDogs.
“We got four practices this week,” Williamson said. “We’ll try and balance them out and get ourselves peaking for a Mississauga team which is playing well. They’d won five in a row before losing in overtime today (5-4 in Kingston).
“We had two close games against them, so that will be a good test and then we got Niagara coming back in here.”
ICE CHIPS: The Colts remain two wins away from their 900th franchise win. . . Barrie outshot Peterborough, 39-27. . . The Petes went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Colts were held scoreless on five chances with the man advantage. . . Artur Cholach (hit to the head) missed his sixth game, but Williamson said he expects the defenceman will return to action this week.
feature image: Terry Wilson/OHL Images