Published February 13, 2023

Colts pay price for miscues in loss to North Bay

Seven-game point streak comes to end
Colts pay price for miscues in loss to North Bay

Third-period mistakes proved costly for the Barrie Colts this weekend.

Anthony Romani took advantage of the latest miscue when he scored at 10:20 of the final period to snap a 2-2 tie and help lift the Battalion to a 4-2 win over the Colts, Sunday afternoon, at North Bay Memorial Gardens.

The loss was the second straight for Barrie (28-14-6-2) and snapped its seven-game run with at least a point.

More importantly, it dropped them eight points behind North Bay (35-14-1-1) in the race for top spot in the Central Division standings.

"I didn't like a couple of the goals, but overall we played with a lot of heart and kind of grinded out the game," said Colts head coach Marty Williamson," whose club is in the middle of a stretch of six games in nine days. "It was kind of a lively game with some fights and that kind of stuff."

The difference maker though was one that could have been prevented. Romani carried the puck over the Barrie blueline and appeared to lose it to Connor Punnett, but the defenceman couldn't handle the loose puck and Romani grabbed it back, walked in and beat West on a shot the Barrie goalie would likely prefer to have back.

Unlike their 4-3 loss at home to the Kitchener Rangers the night before, where Barrie fought back twice in the third after late miscues to get it into overtime, there was no forcing an extra frame on this day.

"The last goal was not a great (play) by our defenceman and I don't really know with the shot with our goalie, but you just can't make mistakes in a 2-2 game," Williamson added. "That's kind of playoff hockey.

"We've kind of done this the last couple of nights. Mistakes to give teams goals in third periods and then we got to fight so hard to come back. We had a couple of looks, but just couldn't do anything at the end."

Late mistakes are tough to come back from, especially when they come against talented teams like Kitchener and North Bay.

"This North Bay team is a hell of a team, too," said Williamson. "They're rested, and again it was a lot of heart by our guys too. It's 2-2 with six or seven minutes left in the game, and we battled hard and fought and hit, but we got to find ways to manage these things so we're a little bit better.

"The other disappointing part was we're getting some chances and missing nets. Everybody is going to look at the mistake we made, but that mistake is almost as bad as the guy missing the net in the slot. We got to bury those, because other teams are doing it to us."

The schedule which had a well-rested North Bay team sitting at home didn't favour the Colts.

"Obviously we had a three-game weekend so that was a little bit in their favour, but that's no excuse for us," said Punnett, who scored his 12th of the season and now has three goals in his last three games. "We got to come out every night prepared to play. If we want to be the best, we got to play with the best.

"That's a tough loss for us to take, but we'll reset."

The miscues also came early Sunday. An Artur Cholach turnover ended up on Jacob Therrien's stick and then in the back of the net to make it 1-0 just 2:14 in.

Dylan Wakely made it 2-0 a little more than six minutes in, but the Colts would roar back before the end of the first.

Punnett wired a shot from the point past Battalion goalie Dom DiVincentiis that went off the inside post and in and then rookie Carter Lowe, with just 22 seconds left in the first, teed off in the slot on a feed from Ethan Quick to tie it.

"A nice play by Punnett, he ripped a shot, and Lowe, there's a kid that hits the net with a shot in the slot. Some good things there," said Williamson. "Again, it was a pretty tight game. It wasn't like the shots were one-sided, one team was outplaying another team by a lot.

"It's not easy to go to overtime the night before and then hop on a bus at 8:30 in the morning, get up here and then go put everything on the line. It's difficult, so I'm proud of the guys."

Kyle MacDonald would seal the win for the Battalion with an empty-net goal with 1:11 remaining.   

"There's a lot of games left and still a lot of things that can happen," Punnett said of the race atop the division. "There's lot of time left."

The Colts will host the Battalion in their final meeting of the season back in Barrie this Saturday.

Williamson said while in a perfect world one wants to finish first and win the division, the focus for the Colts must be on taking control of their own game as they head down the stretch and into the playoffs.

"Yeah, closing in on them would be great, but we got to just maintain a real consistency during these last games," he said. "We got some winnable games coming up ahead of us, put a little streak together. We're coming off seven games where we've got at least a point in every game, so that's pretty impressive in this league and it got broken today.

"We got to get some rest and get back on the horse."

The Colts will get a couple of days off before facing the Niagara IceDogs Wednesday in St. Catharines.

They continue on the road Friday against the Hamilton Bulldogs, back home Saturday to host the Battalion before wrapping up the busy stretch Monday afternoon with a trip to face the Kingston Frontenacs.

"Yeah, 100 per cent," Williamson said of the importance of recharging the batteries. "Rest is extremely important in this league. These are still young guys, their bodies are growing. Making sure they're feeling 100 per cent is just as (important) as Xs and Os and structure and all that kind of stuff.

"We need to get home tonight and they'll get a day off (Monday). Tuesday we'll just be light at practice, touch up on a couple of things and get ready for that Wednesday game."

Game time Wednesday at Meridan Centre is 7 p.m.

ICE CHIPS: Reports that Brandt Clarke is involved in a trade between the LA Kings and Arizona Coyotes for Jakob Chychrun are false. Told Clarke is not involved in any NHL trade. . . With the game tied 2-2, Ty Nelson had a second-period goal called back on an offside. . . West is going through a bit of a tough stretch with four losses in his last five games. . . The Battalion outshot the Colts 30-26. . .Barrie was 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Troops were 0-for-1.

banner image: Terry Wilson/OHL Images

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