Published February 10, 2024

Late Steelheads goal spoils milestone night for Colts’ coach

Williamson becomes seventh OHL coach to hit 1,000-game mark
Barrie Colts' Marty Williamson

The Barrie Colts wanted to win one for their coach, but a costly penalty resulted in a late power-play goal and put a damper on a historic night Friday in Mississauga.

Parker Von Richter scored with just 2:08 remaining to break a tie and give the host Steelheads a 5-4 win on a night Marty Williamson became just the seventh coach in OHL history to work 1,000 regular season games behind the bench.

The Colts looked like they might make the memorable game a special one for Williamson when Roenick Jodoin’s power-play marker with 5:06 remaining evened things up.

But a little more than a minute later, rookie Jack Brauti, engaged in a scrum in front of his own net after the whistle went, drew a minor for cross-checking.

On the ensuing power play, Von Richter took a pass inside the Barrie blue line, stepped to the top of the faceoff circle, and wired a shot over the glove of goalie Sam Hillebrandt to give Mississauga its first win over Barrie at home in three tries this season.

“It’s one of those things we have to learn from,” associate coach Phillip Barski said of the unnecessary costly penalty. “We have to acknowledge that we made a mistake there and then learn from it, grow from it and make sure we don’t make that same mistake and put our team in that position where we have to kill a penalty with three minutes left in the game.”

It was a disappointing end to a contest where Barrie fought back twice to tie it in the third period, only to not be able to hand Williamson his 554th regular season win in 15 seasons combined with Barrie (nine) and the Niagara Ice Dogs (six).  

“We talked before the game and we wanted to get that win for him,” said Jelsma. “At the end of the day, it’s an honour to be coached by a coach who has coached 1,000 games in this league.

“We’re not happy we didn’t do it for him tonight, so we got to come back strong Saturday night (against Kingston).”

Williamson, who was first hired by the Colts for the 2004-05 season, joins Dale Hunter, Brian Kilrea, Bert Templeton, Stan Butler, Larry Mavety and George Burnett as the only coaches to hit the 1,000-game milestone.

The winningest coach in Barrie Colts history, Williamson spent six seasons with Barrie before leaving to coach Niagara for six seasons in 2010. After a tenure behind the bench with Brock University, he returned to the club and took over as general manager and head coach in 2021.

“Marty is one of the best,” said Barski. “He’s a legend and we would have all liked to make his 1,000 game a memorable one with a win and obviously that didn’t happen.

“Since the trade deadline happened, we have a lot of high-integrity people and they continue to stay in games, find ways to chip away at things and give ourselves a chance to be successful at the end of the day.”

In a game dominated by special teams, thanks to a slew of minor penalties called, the Colts (20-25-3-0) got off to a great start with power-play goals by Jelsma and Tai York just a little more than five minutes into the game.

Dean Loukus cut the lead in half two minutes later and then Lucas Karmis and Loukus, with his second, scored four minutes apart early in the second period to give Mississauga (26-20-4-0) a lead they would carry into the third.

Cole Beaudoin, with his team-leading 23rd goal of the season, evened things up just 45 seconds in, before Angus MacDonnell’s shorthanded marker put the Steelheads back on top.

Barrie would tie it up once again on a beautiful setup by rookie Shamar Mosley with Barrie on the man advantage. Parked in front, Moses slipped a loose puck between his legs and behind him to Jodoin who fired it past Ryerson Leenders.

“He really goes about his path the right way,” Barski said of Moses. “He does a good job, sort of day in and day out, to find ways to get better. He’s going to be a good player in this league for many years to come.”

Von Richter, though, would spoil things with Mississauga’s third power-play goal of the night on four chances.

Seven of the game’s nine goals came on a power play.

“Penalties decided this game today,” said Jelsma. “We scored two power-play goals at the start of the game and kind of had a break and they did too. That penalty was unfortunate at the end. That stuff happens and it ended up costing us.”

Barrie was 3-for-7 with the man advantage and has now moved up from dead last in 20th spot to 15th overall (18 per cent efficiency).

“We did some things on the power play that we’ve been working on and the execution pieces were there,” said Barski, who has been working on the specialty units with assistant coach Dylan Smoskowitz. “Obviously, giving up the shorthanded goal was a structure mistake that again we have to learn from and grow from, but it was nice to see the balance of both the units.

“We have a first and second unit and both of them are chipping in now, and that’s what’s really helping us rise in the rankings on the power play.”

Barrie remained five points ahead of Peterborough with two games in hand for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after the Petes fell 6-1 last night in Ottawa.

Though with the loss, the Colts now trail Kingston by six points for seventh spot after the Frontenacs rallied to beat Kitchener 5-4 at home.

The Frontenacs roll into the Sadlon Arena Saturday night in what is a big game for both teams with 21 games remaining in the regular season.

“That’s our goal,” Jelsma said of tracking down Kingston. “We’ve been talking about it all week. We would have liked to get two points tonight and we didn’t, and it kind of sets us back a little more.

“(Saturday) is a big game for us and we need to come out there and play our game, and hopefully we can get the two points.”

 Since Christmas, Barrie has drawn over 4,000 fans in six of nine games at home.

“Our home fans have been phenomenal this year,” said Barski. “We continue to draw great support and we really feed off that, especially as a young group. Kingston is a heck of a hockey team, so we’re going to have to press the reset button here and be ready to go tomorrow night.”

Game time is 7:30 p.m.

ICE CHIPS: Williamson was unavailable after the game. The Colts will hold a special pregame ceremony for the coach before Saturday’s game. . Mississauga outshot Barrie 45-23. . . Colts blueliner Kashawn Aitcheson drew a clear win in a fight with Reed Gee late in the second period. . . Beaudoin’s goal improved his season-high scoring streak to 11 games (7-9-16) . . . York added a pair of assists and now has seven goals and 15 points in his last 11 games. . . Riley Patterson also had two helpers to improve his scoring streak to seven games (5-7-12).

Banner image via Sam Hossack - Barrie Colts' Marty Williamson became just the seventh head coach in OHL history to work his 1,000 game behind the bench in Friday's 5-4 loss to the Mississauga Steelheads at Paramount Fine Foods Centre.

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