The Barrie Colts threw just about everything they could Thursday night at Carter George, but the OHL’s hottest goaltender just wasn’t going to be beaten on this night.
With yet another stellar performance in the crease, George stopped all 50 shots he faced and recorded his second shutout in his last three games to lead that Attack to a 3-0 shutout of the Colts at Sadlon Arena.
The second-year goalie, who was named OHL Goaltender of the Week last week, picked right up where he left off and got all the offence he needed in the third period to help Owen Sound (11-9-2) win its fourth-straight game.
After dominating a scoreless opening period where they outshot the Attack 14-5, the Colts (10-10) rifled off 19 shots in the second and then 17 more in the third, but couldn’t get one past George, who has given up just two goals in his last three games.
“He’s played great here before, and he played great tonight,” Colts captain Connor Punnett said of George, who won his OHL debut last year in Barrie. “We fired 50 shots, and he stopped all of them. At the end of the day, when you run into a hot goalie, it’s hard to put the puck in the net. Credit to him.”
George lowered his goals-against average to 2.70 and increased his save percentage to .916 in 18 games with his brilliant performance and was clearly the difference in the game, earning first star honours.
“You got to tip your hat to him,” said Colts associate coach Phillip Barski. “He played a really good game We tried to do some things, had 50 shots on net, and we didn’t get the result we wanted.
“We killed a bunch of penalties, obviously not later in the game, but to get 50 shots in that amount of time is something maybe you can hang your hat on.”
The Attack ended a scoreless battle in third period on the strength of the league’s third-best power play unit (29.7 per cent efficiency).
With Barrie down a defenceman after Jack Brauti was handed a slew-footing major late in the second period, Punnett was handed a delay of game penalty early in the third. On the ensuring five-on-three, the Attack got all the offence they needed when Sam Sedley fed a cross-ice pass to Cedrick Guindon, who wired a one-timer past the left pad of a helpless Barrie goalie Ben West.
A little less than six minutes later the Owen Sound power play struck again, this time with Ethan Burroughs tapping in a cross-crease feed from Servac Petrovsky.
Declan Waddick would score late on a wrap-around from behind the net to seal the win.
“Five-on-threes in this league, they’re supposed to be automatic,” said Barksi. “You’re supposed to score on those and if you don’t it’s a huge momentum change to the other side, and we just weren’t able to kill that, and it changed the momentum.
“Then we got a little bit undisciplined, which obviously gave them more momentum and they were able to capitalize on the five-on-four.”
Owen Sound finished 2-for-5 on the power play to sink the Colts penalty kill to 18th overall. The Barrie power play failed to connect on its six chances.
“Obviously when you go down two men like that, it’s tough to be in those situations,” said Punnett. “You want to just soak pills and get in front of shots, but at the end of the day they made a good play, a good crossing pass to a one-timer that went in the back of our net.
“It’s unfortunate, but you got to live with some of that stuff.”
Barrie had several quality chances to get on the board, but George saw most of what was coming his way.
“In the pre-scout, we talked about getting guys in front of the net and taking his eyes away,” said Punnett. “I think we did an OK job of it, but we could have been better. A couple of pucks came to the point and the defence had clear lanes, but the goalie was seeing every puck we were shooting.
“That’s something we can work on and improve on.”
The Colts had won four of their last five coming into last night and while they ran into a hot goalie, they had plenty of jump and probably deserved a better fate.
“We have such good energy around the guys right now,” said Barski. “The guys are practising hard, and they’re really coming together as a group, but obviously we still got a ways to go here.”
Barrie closes out the weekend back at home Saturday night against the London Knights. The Knights have won seven of their last 10 games, and other than Kitchener and Sault Ste. Marie, have scored the most goals in the OHL.
“We’ve heard that the ticket sales are really great,” said Barski. “It’s obviously the London Knights. It’s a Saturday night. It feels very much like the NHL, so it’s a great test for our group, and we’re going to prepare diligently for it and make sure we put our best foot forward.”
It will especially be a big test for a young Barrie blue line that is playing shorthanded right now. Edmonton Oilers prospect (shoulder) is out for the season, Olivier Savard (dental) has missed the last two games and Brauti is facing an automatic two-game suspension for his slew-footing major.
Barrie is down to five blueliners, two of those rookies in Evan Passmore and Justin Handsor.
“We’re short a few men right now, which isn’t in our favour, but at the end of the day every team in this league can play with every team no matter whether you’re young or old, got bodies or don’t have bodies,” said Punnett. “We’ll show up to play Saturday night and we can play a good game. If we work hard, we can come out on top.”
Game time Saturday is 7:30 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: Saturday is also Fan Appreciation Night. Colts’ fans can purchase $1 hot dogs and 355 ml cans of Bud Light and Budweiser beer for $5 each. There will also be limited edition posters and prizes handed out throughout the night. . . Barrie native and Owen Sound interim head coach Darren Rumble collected his first OHL win behind the bench in Barrie. . . Final shots were 50-30 for Barrie. . . George has three shutouts on the year, second only to the four shutouts by Kitchener’s Jackson Parsons. . . Roenick Jodoin returned to the lineup after missing last Saturday’s contest.
banner image: Terry Wilson/OHL Images