On record-tying night for Clarke, Chisholm plays hero for Colts in win over Wolves
Rugged winger scores game winner in third
On a night their star player was finding his way back into the team record book, the biggest contribution the Barrie Colts got came from a hardworking depth forward who is beginning to make a little noise himself.
Red-hot Brandt Clarke scored twice to tie the single-season franchise record for goals by a defenceman, but it was Callum Chisholm who potted the winner midway through the third to help the Colts wrap up their regular season home schedule with a 4-2 win over the Sudbury Wolves, Thursday night, at Sadlon Arena.
It was Chisholm’s fourth goal in the last three games.
“It’s nice. I like showing that I can do a whole bunch of different things,” said the hulking six-foot-four, 229-pound winger who now has 10 goals on the season. “I can play physical. I’ve learned this year I can jump on the back end if I need, and now, I think I’m showing people a little that I can generate some offence, so I’m enjoying it.
“The team is playing well, and I just want to keep it up.”
A little more than three minutes after Chase Coughlan had tied the game at 2-2 for Sudbury, Chisholm took a feed out of the corner from Roenick Jodoin, spun around to face the net and fired a seeing-eye shot that found its way through Wolves goaltender Kevyn Brassard.
“I just saw a little pocket open between his arm and his hip there,” said the first-year Colt, who was a free agent pickup from Mississauga before the season. “I didn’t see any passes open, so I just went for it and the puck went in.”
Chisholm, who did a solid job earlier in the year filling in on the blue line when injuries hit, has battled to stay in the lineup.
“He’s scoring some timely goals. He’s a big body for us. That’s what we need from Chisholm,” said Colts head coach Marty Williamson. “He can impact the game. He’s got different ways. We just want that consistency from him. It’s nice to see him chip in for us.”
While the North Bay Battalion made it official and wrapped up the Central Division title with a 4-0 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Colts still had plenty to celebrate on this night, thanks in large part to a captain who is on an unbelievable tear.
Coming off last Saturday when he recorded a hat trick and five points, Clarke scored twice in the first period to give him 23 goals and equal the franchise record for defenceman set by Aaron Ekblad (2013-14) and Andrew Marshall (2005-06).
Already the all-time franchise scoring leader among defencemen, the LA Kings prospect also extended his point streak to 16 games (13-22-35).
Oh, and he did it all in just half a season after being returned to junior in early January.
“I wasn’t here for Ekblad, but Clarke’s the best defenceman I’ve seen in a Colts uniform. He’s phenomenal,” Williamson said of his star who tied the record in just 31 games. “You respect an Ekblad, you respect a Marshall, but you think the games they did it in compared to what he did it in, and it’s his record.”
Clarke has 23 goals and 38 assists for 61 points, but he won’t be able to set the franchise record. With the remaining two games in Kingston on Friday and Saturday afternoon in Ottawa meaningless in the standings, Clarke won’t dress until the playoffs.
“He won’t play another game,” said Williamson, who isn’t taking any chances. He’s done.”
Beau Jelsma’s empty-netter with 1:37 remaining iced the win for Barrie (41-16-6-3), who got another strong effort in goal from Anson Thornton.
Noah Collins and Chase Coughlan scored for Sudbury (29-28-6-3), which remains in seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings and could be a first-round opponent for Barrie.
The Colts chased the Battalion all season atop the division standings, but despite coming as close as a point could never run them down.
“We’re proud of this team,” Williamson said of himself and his coaching staff. “If it goes to the second round and goes to Game 7, then (North Bay) earned it. Other than that, we’ll take on whomever we have to play.”
Chisholm in the meantime is just doing what he can to be part of the lineup come playoffs.
“I know that I have to play hard every game, I have to play my best every game,” he said. “If I don’t, maybe with the depth of the team I’m going to fall down in the lineup. I just need to keep playing the way I am right now and keep it up into the playoffs.”
Released by the Steelheads this summer, Chisholm has made the most of his opportunity.
An opportunity he is grateful for.
“I’m really thankful for Marty and all the coaching staff, they’ve been amazing to me,” said Chisholm. “I came from Mississauga and they didn’t carry me like maybe they could have. They treated me like a hitter and that’s it.
“(Barrie) has given me the opportunity. I’ve really enjoyed it and put in the work. Now I’m starting to show people that I can play.”
Game time tonight at the Leon’s Centre is 7 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: Clarke won’t be the only veteran getting a breather this weekend. Jelsma and Declan McDonnell will also sit out Friday night, while Barrie’s top line of Evan Vierling, Ethan Cardwell and Jacob Frasca won’t play in Ottawa. “We’re going to move our lineup around,” said Williamson. “We’ll have a good one for Kingston.” The Frontenacs trail Oshawa by a single point for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. . . Connor Punnett was hurt and left the game after delivering a check to Coughlan. “He seems like he’s OK,” said Williamson said of his veteran defenceman. “They took him out for precaution. He’s saying he could play again if we need him this weekend, but we’ll rest him to now. From what I’m told, unless it turns differently, he’ll be ready for playoffs.” . . . Vierling had a pair of assists to improve his scoring streak to 15 games (12-22-34). While Cardwell’s seven-game goal streak came to an end, he earned an assist to run his point streak to 12 games (14-9-23).
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