The Barrie Colts were good, but not good enough Saturday night in Windsor.
Rookie Cole Beaudoin scored his first OHL goal and Ethan Cardwell buried a penalty shot as the Colts came up with a solid performance in one of the league’s toughest buildings to play in, but they still came up short in a 5-2 loss to the host Spitfires at the WFCU Centre.
Down 2-1, the Colts appeared to have tied it just 34 seconds into the third period on an Evan Vierling wraparound from behind the net.
But Windsor goalie Mathias Onuska bumped into Ethan Cardwell trying to get back across the crease and after a lengthy review, the goal was disallowed.
Ethan Miedema would get what proved to be the game-winner just four minutes later to hand Barrie (10-9-2-1) its third loss in the last four games.
“It’s one of those games,” said Colts head coach Marty Williamson. “Close, but no cigar.”
With the win, the Spitfires (15-6-3-1) now hold a 9-2-2-1 record on home ice. Only Ottawa (12-1) has been better at home.
“I thought we came in here and did a good job,” said Williamson. “I really liked our first period. I was hoping we could build on it, but we kind of set ourselves back (in the second). It was only 2-1 and we were still in this thing. “Then the emotions of scoring a goal and having it taken away from us, and all of a sudden it’s a 3-1 game. We did get the penalty shot to get it back and we had nine minutes on the clock, so we had life. Then the two empty-net goals, we just couldn’t get possession and make a play at the end to get a quality shot on net.”
The Colts had the lone goal of the opening period and it was a long-time coming for Beaudoin.
Barrie’s 10th overall pick in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection has had his chances and he finally broke through 8:32 into his 17th game.
“It was definitely an amazing feeling getting that first one,” said the six-foot-two, 199-pound centre. “I’ve been working and haven’t really got the bounces, so it feels good to get the monkey off the back and just get it.”
On his goal, Beaudoin was kicked out of the faceoff circle before Zach Wigle won the draw to Cooper Matthews.
He fed the rookie, who would wire one over the blocker of Onuska.
“Coop made a nice pass and I just tried to get it off quick,” said Beaudoin. “I actually didn’t know it went in at first and then everybody started celebrating, and then I knew it went in.”
Williamson was happy to see the young forward finally rewarded for his hard work.
“It was a heck of a shot and a heck of a play,” he said. “He’s going to be everything that we want from him down the road. For now, I know there was a weight on him and hopefully it’s gone and we can get so more goals from him.
“We’re obviously impressed how this young man is handling himself. The work ethic he brings and just the smile on his face, he’s a pleasure to have on this team and coach.”
Beaudoin knew it would come. He just had to continue to play his game.
“You just got to keep working at it,” he said. “I wasn’t going to change anything. It’s just about time and when it finally went in it was nice.”
Windsor would grab the lead midway through the second period on goals by Noah Morneau and Oliver Peer less than two minutes apart.
Miedema got around rookie defenceman Kashawn Aitcheson and was stopped by Colts goalie Ben West, but Morneau buried the rebound to let the Teddy Bears rain on Teddy Bear night.
Windsor then took the lead when Alex Christopoulos, from behind the net, found Oliver Peer in front and he spun around and fired it over the right blocker of West.
Barrie had two great chances late in the frame, but finished the first 40 minutes with only 11 shots.
“I thought we played a very good first and third, but I didn’t like our second period so much,” said Williamson. “We lost a little jump and we weren’t taking advantage of offensive opportunities and we were just kind of playing defence.
“We played in our own zone for most of the period and gave up the two goals.”
After Vierling’s goal was disallowed, Miedema would pot the winner when he jumped past Callum Chisholm along the boards, cut to the faceoff dot and wired it over West’s glovehand.
Jacob Maillet and Colton Smith each scored their 10th of the season into an empty net to ice the win for Windsor.
“It definitely sucks getting the goal called back. It was a tough loss,” said Beaudoin. “The boys kept working, but we just got to keep going for the full 60 and hope we get some wins out of here, but it definitely sucks we lost.
“Just move on, play Sunday and hope we get a win there.”
The Colts will now look to salvage something out of this weekend when they travel to Sarnia on Sunday afternoon. Barrie edged the Sting 3-2 in overtime at home two weeks ago on the strength of Anson Thornton’s play in net against his former team.
“These two points would be huge,” said Williamson. “It’s a tough matchup, they’re such an offensive juggernaut with (OHL leading scorer) Ty Voit and the group they have there.
“We’re going to need Thornton to go in and do a good job for us. We got to play strong defence and can’t allow them to get many goals, because it will be hard for us.”
Game time at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena is 2:05 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: Beau Akey sat his final game of a two-game suspension. . . With his 12th goal of the season, Ethan Cardwell improved his point streak to nine games (9-5-14). . . Connor Punnett had his five-game assist streak broken. . . Windsor outshot Barrie, 34-20. . . Barrie has been outshot in its last three games and has recorded more than 30 shots just once in its last five games.
Banner image via Terry Wilson/OHL Images