Barrie Colts forward Ryan Del Monte was told before Thursday night’s contest against the Owen Sound Attack he would score his first OHL goal.
Linemate Victor Hadfield, who provided him with the prediction, wasn’t kidding.
Del Monte would actually score twice, along with Jacob Frasca, as the pair of rookies led the way for Barrie in an 8-5 win over Owen Sound at the Colts Centre.
Barrie’s second-round pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, Del Monte put Barrie ahead 4-2 late in the second period when he buried the rebound off a Hadfield shot on goal. Del Monte was smiling ear-to-ear after his first goal and was still sporting a huge grin after the contest.
“It felt amazing,” Del Monte said of his first OHL marker. “I was really excited.”
The rookie also might want to get his linemate to pick out his lottery numbers. Hadfield was also correct on himself being the setup man.
“Before the game Hadfield told me I’d get my first tonight and he’d get the assist, and it turned out so I’m pretty happy,” he said.
Hadfield wasn’t the only prognosticator taking credit on this night. Jason Willms actually told Del Monte he would snipe his first last Saturday against the Erie Otters. While it may have been a game later, the Colts captain was quick to point out the rookie’s two goals show it was worth the wait.
“I remember I actually told him Saturday you’re actually getting one tonight,” explained Willms, who also had a pair of goals in the win over the Attack. “I was one game a little late, but I’m sure he would take two (goals) the next game than one then, so it was great to see the smiles on (Del Monte’s and Frasca’s) faces.”
With their top forward Ryan Suzuki still out of the lineup with an eye injury, the Colts are looking for others to step up and help fill the offensive void and the pair of Barrie rookies did exactly that on this night.
“It was rookie night out there,” Frasca said with a big smile. “We got four of us as rookies, so it felt pretty good. (Del Monte) gets his first goal, which I’m happy for him, as well as adding another one after that. It was pretty cool just to see us get on the board.”
Frasca may have already had his first OHL goal, but notching Barrie’s first two goals early in the opening period was almost as exciting for the hard working first-year player who credited veteran linemates Matej Pekar and Luke Bignell for helping him get goals No. 2 and No. 3 on the season.
“It felt pretty good,” Frasca said of contributing to the win. “The puck just kept coming to me in the first period with the help of Pekar and Bignell hard on the forecheck. They were creating a lot of turnovers, so the puck just kept finding me the whole game.”
Nate Allensen and Pekar also scored for the Colts (11-6-0-1) who moved to within three points of the Sudbury Wolves for top spot in the Central Division.
Aidan Dudas, Adam McMaster, Barrett Kirwin, Daylon Groulx and Matthew Philip replied for the Attack (10-6-1-1), which have now lost two straight to Barrie after thrashing their Highway 26 rivals 10-0 in their first meeting of the season.
The Colts turned up the pressure early in this one and a tenacious forecheck helped them carry the play five-on-five and take a 6-2 lead midway through the third, before a pair Owen Sound goals a 1:11 apart put the visitors right back in the game.
But Colts head coach Warren Rychel called a timeout to settle his team and just 28 seconds later Del Monte notched the second of his young career to seal the deal.
“We play our best when we’re moving our feet and getting on the forecheck,” said Willms, who was a force turning pucks over all night along with Pekar and Frasca. “We (as a team) made it a hard night for their defencemen. . .You want to have a strong (forecheck) and that’s kind of our mojo. . . We did an excellent job of generating turnovers and taking the puck to the net, and getting rebounds.”
Barrie faces another tough opponent at home on Saturday night when they host the Peterborough Petes, before completing a busy weekend on the road with a Sunday afternoon contest against the struggling North Bay Battalion, who have dropped 11 straight games.
Game time Saturday is 7:30 p.m.
“I think for us it’s about building off this,” Willms said of the effort. “We got a big game against Peterborough on Saturday and we have to be ready to go.”
ICE CHIPS: Arturs Silovs turned aside 30 shots to pick up his eighth win in goal for Barrie. . . Owen Sound goalie Mack Guzda gave up six goals on 28 shots before being replaced by backup Nick Chenard at 10:36 of the third period. . . Tyson Foerster extended his scoring streak to 11 games (9 goals, 11 assists) with a pair of assists. . . Former Colt Sam Rhodes has joined the Tri City Storm of the United States Hockey League.