Published March 13, 2024

Colts lose another in Ottawa, while appeal changes 'bounty' suspensions to Sudbury players

By Gene Pereira

Visits to our Nation’s Capital have been far from pleasant for the Barrie Colts over the last two seasons.

Tuesday afternoon’s stop at TD Place wasn’t any different.

The Ottawa 67’s continued their mastery over the Colts on home ice, digging themselves out of an early 3-1 hole with five straight goals en route to a 6-4 win.

The defeat in the capital was the fourth straight for Barrie and a closer look at the numbers over the last two years isn’t pretty. The 67’s have outscored the Colts 25-9 at home.

“It’s been a tough building to play in,” said Colts forward and local Kanata native Cole Beaudoin, who scored his 27th of the season in the loss. “I’m not sure of what the scores were last year, but they weren’t too good. We’ve definitely struggled in this arena, and I’m not sure why we do, but we need to sharpen up.

“We came down early, had a day off and there’s no excuses why we can’t perform and come out with a win, or at least put up a really good fight. We let in some goals we shouldn’t have and obviously we got one back at the end, but it was too short, too late to start pushing.”

Barrie (26-31-4-0) has a single 4-3 overtime win (last year) to show in seven games against Ottawa over the last two seasons. Colts head coach Marty Williamson felt his club didn’t do itself any favours with the way they played Tuesday.

“It was just one of those games. Too many mistakes and they capitalized,” said the Colts’ bench boss. “That’s the way it goes when you make too many mistakes. Sometimes you get away with them, other times you don’t, and we made too many of them.”

The loss wasn’t the only disappointment for the Colts on this day.

In a late afternoon announcement, the OHL revealed the results of an appeal process regarding suspensions assessed to Sudbury Wolves forwards Nathan Villeneuve and Evan Konyen from their roles in a violation of the league’s Social Media Policy.

The league has modified the initial suspensions handed out to the Sudbury players regarding comments made after an incident involving Colts’ defenceman Kashawn Aitcheson in a game between the two teams back on Jan. 10.

Villeneuve, who was originally handed a 15-games suspension, including six playoff games, will have the length of his suspension upheld, but will not miss any playoff games. He will be able to serve the final six games next season.

Konyen has had his 10-game suspension reduced to six and will not have to miss a playoff game.

The modification of the suspensions was announced by Tim Lukenda, Chairman of the OHL Board of Governors, and member of the League’s Appeal Panel.

“We agreed whole heartily with Dave Branch and the OHL that this was serious and that the length of the suspensions were justified,” said Williamson. “For there to be an appeal process that didn’t talk to Kayshawn Aitcheson, didn’t talk to any of us about the effect this had, and for them to reduce the suspensions and say that the bounty isn’t as serious as it was, it makes no sense to me at all.

“For the chairman, Tim Lukenda or whoever, to reduce this, it’s unacceptable.”

The afternoon looked pretty good for the Colts after Bradley Horner’s goal just 4:44 into the first period. Thomas Stewart’s blast tied the game at 12:16 and the overager gave Barrie the lead a little less than two minutes later when he banged in his second of the period in front of the net.

Beaudoin would make it three goals 1:21 apart when he took a Tai York pass in front and moved to his backhand before sliding it under Ottawa goalie Ian Michelone.

The 3-1 lead was short lived. Luca Pinelli beat Ben West for his 44th of the season a little more than two minutes later and then Will Gerrior drew Ottawa (34-22-5-2) back even with 1:43 left in the first.

“We did some good things and then they had a push and just didn’t answer the next two, three and four shifts,” said Williamson. “We didn’t make simple passes, simple plays to make breakouts out of our zone.

“The corners are tough and we aren’t quite used to it, but I just thought our breakouts are very poor and that caused us a lot of problems. We could have relieved pressure and not let them have such sustained kind of zone time on us for multiple shifts there and that’s what really kind of hurt instead of carrying the lead into the second period.”

After replacing Michelone with backup Mike MacKenzie to start the second, the 67’s took control. Horner scored his second at 7:22 to make it 4-3 and then Gerrior’s second with just 40 seconds left in the frame would prove to be the winner.

Samuel Mayer would double the lead just 52 seconds into the third. Beau Jelsma, who also had an earlier assist to run his scoring streak to 16 games (17-13-30), would post his team-leading 35th of the season with 1:59 remaining, but it was too little, too late.

“I thought the one late in the second period hurt us, 4-3 is a different kind of a third period,” said Williamson. “That’s two games in a row we’ve given up goals late in the second period. It made the hill awfully tough to climb in the third. There’s no quit in this team, but again I thought we weren’t detailed enough to win a hockey game against a deep team like they are.

“They played everybody and we just didn’t get enough consistency from our lineup.”

 The Colts will have a chance to get back at the 67’s when they complete the home-and-home set Thursday night at Sadlon Arena.

More importantly, it will give them a chance to move closer to clinching a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. Barrie holds a 10-point lead on Peterborough for eighth place and still has a game in hand on the Petes who have just six games remaining.

“We’re playing them again, so it’s going to be a familiar battle,” Beaudoin said of the Ottawa rematch. “It could get chippy. It was getting chippy at the end (Tuesday). We just need to stick to our game. We have a young team, so we need to work hard the whole 60 minutes and we can’t let up. We let up for a short time there (late in first period) and they put up two quick goals on us, so we can’t let that happen.

“We’ll go into Thursday with our minds fresh and prepared to put up a good fight.”

Game time Thursday at Sadlon Arena is 7 p.m.

ICE CHIPS: Stewart, who also had an assist to go with his two goals, now has five goals and 14 points for Barrie in 26 games since coming over from Oshawa the trade deadline. His five goals surpass his career high of four in 61 games last season. . . Sam Hillebrandt was slated to start Tuesday’s game, but the rookie “tweaked” something. “We decided to go back-to-back with (West) just to give Hillebrandt a couple of more days. I think Hillebrandt will be fine for Thursday.” . . . Ottawa outshot Barrie 42-35. MacKenzie stopped 20 of 21 shots over the last two periods to record his 13th victory. . .  York and Riley Patterson each added a pair of assists. Patterson sits three points up (60) on Brantford’s Jake O’Brien (57) in the rookie scoring race. . . With Ottawa’s win, six points separate the top six teams in the Eastern Conference.


What do you think of this article?

Have a breaking story?

Share it with us!
Share Your Story

What Barrie's talking about!

From breaking news to the best slice of pizza in town! Get everything Barrie’s talking about delivered right to your inbox every day. Don’t worry, we won’t spam you. We promise :)
Subscription Form
Consent Info

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Central Ontario Broadcasting, 431 Huronia Rd, Barrie, Ontario, CA, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Related Stories