Colts spoil Punnett’s return to Barrie, rally to beat Oshawa in shootout

Jodoin scores shootout winner to give Barrie three straight wins

The Barrie Colts celebrated the return of their former captain Saturday night and then topped off the special evening with a thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 shootout win over the Oshawa Generals.

Connor Punnett was honoured with a special video montage early in the first period and then helped the red hot Generals take a 2-0 second period lead, but Roenick Jodoin would steal the spotlight and bring a crowd of 4,235 fans at Sadlon Arena to its feet when he scored the lone goal of the shootout to cap off the rally and give a Barrie team fighting for a playoff spot its third straight win.

The game also marked the first time defenceman Thomas Stewart has faced his old teammates since the trade deadline deal earlier this month that brought him and two draft picks to Barrie for Punnett.

“It was a good time seeing Punner out there,” said Jodoin, who helped the Colts (18-23-1-0) move into a tie with the Peterborough Petes for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. “I’ve been buddies with him since I first got here, but it was good to see him out there. Stewart had a great game, and we’re glad we got the win for him.”

After each team was stopped on its first three shootout attempts, Jodoin would notch the winner when he danced in and lifted a backhand over Oshawa goalie Noah Bender. Sam Hillebrandt would then turn aside Callum Ritchie to seal the win.

“I practiced that quite a few times in practice the last week,” said Jodoin. “I’ve been practicing it, so thank God it worked out!”

Jodoin actually lost control of the puck in front, but remained composed and brought it back before making his impressive moves to help cool off Oshawa (23-16-3-2), which had won eight of its previous nine games.

“I guess I got lucky it didn’t bounce away there, but it was a good bounce and I’m glad we got the win there,” he added.

Colts head coach Marty Williamson said he tried to follow all what Jodoin was doing as he moved in.

“There was a lot of moves going on there,” he said before bursting out in laughter. “I’m not quite sure what happened, but it was nice to see it go in there.”

Williamson was also happy to see his former defenceman get recognition for his four years in Barrie and checked out the highlights of Punnett shown on the scoreboard during a break six minutes into the game.

“I think the world of Punny,” said the Colts coach. “He gave me a nice wink when we crossed paths at one point. I hope he does fantastic, just not against us.”

The Generals dominated the opening period, outshooting the Colts 22-11 and taking a 1-0 lead on a Tristan Delisle goal at 8:14.

The Colts would come out much better in the second, but it was the Generals who would add to their lead at 4:48 when Stuart Rolofs walked over the blueline, stopped at the top of the faceoff circle to the right of Hillebrandt and fired a wicked shot past his glovehand.

The Colts would come right back just under two minutes later when Michael Derbidge dropped a pass to Zach Wigle behind him and the veteran would wire one over the glove hand of Bender for his third goal in the last four games.

“That’s one of the best things, when you can self-reflect and realize we had a very poor period and then come out and have a really good period,” said Williamson. “That’s a nice attribute a team can have because you are going to have some downs and not want to yell at each other and be negative, and (instead) be able to rebound and have a real strong period to give ourselves a chance to get a point or two points out of the game.

“I’m really proud of the guys.”

After a big night Thursday against Owen Sound, the line of Wigle, Derbidge and Kyle Morey were productive once again.

“Wigle is playing some of his best hockey and Derbidge has been a great addition, and Morey is one of those guys that goes unnoticed, but he doesn’t make many bad plays,” added Williamson. “He makes good plays, positive plays, whether he’s just getting it in or making a good pass.

“That’s why there’s some good chemistry there.”

Barrie would get the equalizer just 2:17 into the third period when Cole Beaudoin skated over the Oshawa blueline, hit the breaks and spun around to slide it across the slot to Riley Patterson, who fired it far side past Bender.

The Colts had a power play over the final two minutes of the game with Punnett off for slashing, but despite pressure couldn’t capitalize.

After a scoreless overtime, Jodoin completed the comeback in the shootout and showed why despite trading away key pieces in Frasca, Eduard Sale and Punnett, the Colts believe they remain a competitive team.

“We’re still a great team, a very skilled team, a very hardworking team,” he said. “We’re in a groove right now and we’re going to keep it going and keep winning.”  

The Colts kick off a long road swing Sunday afternoon when they travel to the North Bay Memorial Gardens for a 2 p.m. game against a Battalion team that has lost three straight.

Barrie’s six-game road trek will also include stops in Owen Sound, Flint, Saginaw, Erie, and Mississauga. A tough task for a club that has gone just 3-15 away from home this season.

“We’ll try some different things,” said Williamson. “Line changes so that we can maybe not get exposed a little bit like teams have been doing to us on the road. But maybe our balance is a little better with what you’re seeing with the third line and we can kind of avoid the mishaps that we’ve kind of had on the road.”

ICE CHIPS: Hillebrandt stopped 40 of 42 shots to even his record at 11-11 and earn first star honours. “What a great effort he gave us in net,” said Williamson. Oshawa outshot Barrie 42-40. . . Colts’ rookie Shamar Moses, who is six-foot-one, gave his team a lift when he dropped the gloves with six-foot-seven forward Dylan Roobroeck late in the second. . . The Colts continue to draw big crowds at home since Christmas. “The crowds have been fantastic, but I also think the games have also been very entertaining,” said Williamson. “If you come watch these hockey games they’ve been good hockey games, and even the game against Owen Sound and last weekend. They’re getting their money’s worth, so it’s great.” . . . Punnett spent part of his pregame warmup at centre ice greeting his former teammates, including Kashawn Aitcheson, Grayson Tiller, and Moses. Stewart got a big hug from former Oshawa teammate and goalie Jacob Oster after the game.

Banner image via Josh Kim / Barrie Colts – goaltender Sam Hillebrandt celebrates after stopping Callum Ritchie in the shootout to seal a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Oshawa Generals, Saturday night, at Sadlon Arena.