Colts Hang Tough, But Fall Late In London

Sporting plenty of changes, Colts let the third period get away from them

With the winds of change blowing heavily through their lineup this week, the Barrie Colts might need a little time to settle in.

With another pair of new faces in the lineup acquired before Friday’s noon OHL Trade Deadline, the Colts found themselves a few hours later hanging tough for two periods against a very good Knights team in London.

London, though, would put it away early in the third, scoring twice a little more than a minute apart en route to a 5-2 win over Barrie at Budweiser Gardens.

 The game marked the Barrie debuts of forward Ethan Cardwell and blue liner Connor Punnett, acquired earlier in the day in the Ryan Suzuki blockbuster.

Both newcomers finished with an assist.

“I’m happy with the effort,” Colts head coach Warren Rychel said. “Caldwell and Punnett, I was really impressed by their debut. I think Punnett had eight blocks and played really good defence. We’re short staffed and they’re stacked for a run, and it’s just the way this league works.

“We played hard and I give my guys a lot of credit.”

Luke Bignell, who was named the new captain earlier in the day, and Aidan Brown scored for the Colts (16-18-2-1) in the loss.

Ryan Merkley, with a pair, Matvey Guskov, Alec Regula and Liam Foudy found the net for the Knights (24-12-1-1), who have now won five straight.

After a week full of roster changes, Rychel noted it may take a little time for the team to gel. Barrie has five new faces in the lineup.

Former captain Jason Willms, who made his debut for London, was one of six veterans shipped out by the team at the deadline.  

“We had a nice meeting before the game, but we got to get used to each other and people get used to playing different systems,” Rychel said. “(Arturs Silovs) was good in net. We had a pretty good effort, but they’re a deep team.”

Silovs turned aside 47 of 51 shots in an impressive effort.

Barrie caps off its tough three-in-three weekend Saturday night at home against the Kitchener Rangers. Things don’t get any easier for the young club against a Rangers team that leads the Midwest Division standings and have won eight of their last 10 games.

“They’re stacked too and we just got to come out and play a smart game,” Rychel said.

Game time tonight at Sadlon Arena is 7:30 p.m.

ICE CHIPS: The Colts had only five defencemen in the lineup last night. Nathan Allensen was handed a three-game suspension earlier in the day for a spearing major against Sudbury on Thursday, while rookie Brandt Clarke will miss the second of a two-game suspension for a slew foot late in the same game. . . Willms had a solid performance in his first game as a Knight, with five shots and nine wins on 19 faceoff attempts. The game also marked what could be overager forward Josh Nelson’s last trip to Budweiser Gardens. Nelson was acquired along with a pair of picks by Barrie in the Willms deal.