The way things have gone on the road for the Barrie Colts this season, they’ll gladly take the point, even if victory was in their grasp Wednesday night.
In a wild contest where the Attack scored five straight goals to erase a 4-1 deficit only to have Barrie reply twice with the goalie out to force overtime, Deni Goure buried his second of the game 3:38 into the extra frame to give the hosts a 7-6 win at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
It was the 12th straight loss away from home for the Colts (18-24-2-0), who haven’t won a road game since Nov. 10th.
Despite blowing an early lead, goals by Riley Patterson, his second of the game, and Thomas Stewart just 52 seconds apart with goaltender Sam Hillebrandt on the bench in the last two minutes sent the game into overtime and gave the Colts a crucial point in their race to earn a playoff spot.
“We don’t have a crystal ball until the end of end of the year, but the point is maybe the point that gets us into the playoffs,” said Colts head coach Marty Williamson, whose club moved a point ahead of Peterborough — with a game in hand — in the race for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
“Just the fact that our guys hung in there, through a lot of junk.”
Goure, who had two good chances to end the game in overtime earlier, made good on his third crack. The overager, who earned first star on the night with two goals and two assists, got in behind the Barrie defence on a long feed from Ethan Burroughs and fired one over the right shoulder of Hillebrandt for the winner.
“Goure made a nice veteran play and got our guy to stumble and got the advantage,” said Williamson. “They made a nice pass and a good finish.”
Despite coughing up a lead and losing, Williamson credited his team with fighting back for their first point on the road since Nov. 10th.
“It was a weird game,” said Williamson. “It’s a tough building, a tight building in here. Pucks are bouncing all over the place. We had a couple of defencemen make mistakes and that contributed to that three-goal outburst, but our guys hung in there. They never quit.
“I’m proud. We haven’t got many points on the road, so we got a point and let’s build off that for the weekend.”
Goals by Patterson, Tai York, Jack Brauti, shorthanded, and Bode Stewart helped Barrie build a 4-1 lead before things came apart nearing the midway point of the second period.
Orillia native and Winnipeg Jets prospect Colby Barlow and Sam McCue cut the lead to 4-3 and then a trio of goals by Braedyn Rogers, Ethan Burroughs, and Goure just 1:48 apart midway through the third put the Attack (23-20-3-1) on top.
“It wasn’t our best,” Williamson said of the third period which had been a strong point for Barrie of late. “We played a really good first and I thought the second started to get away from us at times. In the third, we played about nine minutes of really good hockey and then when they scored the one it seemed like we got on our heels.
“We got a defenceman not ready for a faceoff and he loses coverage and then a pretty simple play going up the ice and the defenceman just takes off and leaves the guy wide open behind them. They need to learn these lessons that you got to play the entire game.”
Williamson told his team heading into the game they had to keep their focus in this building, and they didn’t at times and it cost them.
“You really got to keep your focus and I thought we had a few guys lose it, but that’s how games go sometimes,” he said. “They have the wherewithal to not give up and to hang in there right to the end, and I’m proud of them for that.”
Trailing 6-4, the Colts pulled Hillebrandt with less than three minutes remaining and appeared like they were going to get a two-man advantage when Servac Petrovsky was called for hooking, but Roenick Jodoin mistakenly jumped on the ice for the extra attacker thinking Hillebrandt was coming off when he already had.
“It’s one of those kind of silly mistakes that he jumped on the ice, but the guys bared down anyway when we got the goalie out and had the two five-on-four goals,” said Williamson.
Patterson would get the Colts within one with 1:16 remaining when he deflected a Thomas Stewart point shot and then Patterson returned the favour with 24 seconds left in the game when, from the corner, he found Stewart creeping up in the slot and the overager hammered one past Owen Sound goalie Carter George.
“There was a huge race, it looked like they were going to get the puck out and Stewart and Beaudoin, and a couple of guys, absolutely raced as hard as they could to keep that puck in and that was really the reason we got the last goal,” said Williamson.
The Colts six-game road trek continues with a trip south of the border. Barrie travels to Flint on Friday, to Saginaw on Saturday and then Erie on Monday for a makeup game.
“You know, you got to play right to the end and we did,” said Williamson. “We ended up getting a point out of it. Yes, it’s not two points, but it’s a big point to start this road trip off. We’ll take the positives.”
Game time Friday at the Dort Financial Center is 7 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: Owen Sound outshot Barrie 58-36. . . Patterson, who leads all rookies with 16 goals, also added a pair of assists to finish with four points. He now has four goals and 12 points in his last seven games. Kashawn Aitcheson had three assists, while Thomas Stewart had a pair. . . Barrie Colts rookie Jaiden Newton, 16, was named the OHL Central Division Academic Player of the Month for January. Newton is currently holding an “A” average in two Grade 11 courses, including an 85 percent average in Transportation Technology, an 82 percent average in High Performance Athlete Co-op, as well as a 78 percent average in Grade 12 Business Leadership at Innisdale Secondary School.
“J.D.’s teachers have remarked that he is a hard-working student who attends his classes regularly and always submits his work on time,” said Colts Academic Advisor Chris Cudmore.
banner image: Terry Wilson, OHL Images