Barrie Colts’ goaltender Jet Greaves can be forgiven if he felt like the Harry Lumley Community Centre in Owen Sound doubled as a firing range on Wednesday night.
Greaves put on a standout performance in net, stopping 62 of 66 shots fired his way, but it still wasn’t enough as Barrie dropped its fourth-straight game with a 4-1 loss to the host Attack.
“I thought overall our defence could have been a little better,” Colts assistant coach Todd Miller said of what led to the heavy shot total his second-year goalie faced. “Thank God for Jet.”
Teams can’t give up 66 shots and expect to win a game.
“Jet played amazing, he held us in there and made some huge saves,” Miller said.
Brady Lyle, Sergey Popov, Kaleb Lawerence and Matthew Philip scored for the Attack (19-16-3-3), which snapped a two-game losing streak.
Even Vierling – his first as a Colt – had the lone goal for Barrie (16-20-2-1), which now finds itself tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference and just seven points ahead of Kingston for the final playoff spot.
The Colts could have made a game of it when they were down 3-1 late in the second period and were handed a five-minute power play after Owen Sound’s Mark Woolley was tossed from the game on a checking from behind major.
An early third-period tripping penalty to Philip put the Colts on a two-man advantage, but it was the Attack who had the best scoring opportunities with three shorthanded breakaways.
Greaves kept his team in the game, turning away everyone, but Philip would make it 4-1 and put the game away a little more than seven minutes into the third.
“Momentum kept shifting every time we got a power play,” Miller said. “Some of the kids that were on there need to work on it. We’re not generating anything on those and we’re almost getting scored on the power play, and it gets frustrating. It would give more life to them and then we’d take a penalty.”
Missing a couple of experienced veterans on the power play certainly didn’t help. Defenceman Nathan Allensen was serving the final game of a three-game suspension while leading scorer Tyson Foerster was in Hamilton getting set for Thursday night’s CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
Both will be back in the lineup on Friday night in St. Catharines when the Colts take on the Niagara IceDogs.
“They had one practice to work on it,” Miller said of a power play that had a whole new youthful look, thanks in large part to a busy OHL trade deadline saw them team trade away top forwards Ryan Suzuki, Jason Willms and Matej Pekar. “That is an adjustment for these newer guys. The situations they’re put in, they’ve never done it before. A lot of them, this is their first real-time getting power-play minutes and that’s where you got to learn to live with it and just keep pounding them with the video and with practice.
“(Wednesday) we’ll be focused on cleaning up the power play for sure, and even the five-on-five play. A lot of the new guys that have come have played different systems, so yeah it will take a bit of time.”
Barrie’s ridiculous run of injuries continued last night with winger Nicholas Porco suffering an eye injury and having to leave the game after getting hit in the “dasher.”
“He went to the hospital and they checked him out, but he’s got to see a specialist on (Wednesday),” Miller said. “He got hit pretty hard, so we’re not sure on him right now.”
The club might want to call in a voodoo doctor with all the bad luck they’ve had on the injury front this season. It’s been more than two months since they’ve iced a full lineup.
“I have no idea what’s going on,” Miller said. “I’ve never been through something like this in my 10 years here. It’s just something that every day there’s another issue and another setback. All we can do is be real positive.”
The Colts wrap up a busy week Saturday night when they host the Mississauga Steelheads at Sadlon Arena.
“They’ll learn and it’s going to take time,” Miller said. “We all know that. It’s a process now with these younger kids. We got two games this weekend we feel we can win and hopefully (Wednesday) we have a good, hard work day and be ready for Niagara and then Mississauga.”
Game time Friday at the Meridian Centre is 7 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: Rookie blue liner Brandt Clarke returned from a two-game suspension…Ryan Cardwell drew an assist and now has a helper in each of his three games with Barrie since being acquired from Saginaw. . .Forwards Victor Hadfield and Ryan Del Monte will miss this weekend’s action, but Miller said they should be ready to return next weekend…Barrie had just five shots in the third in Owen Sound and 30 overall…The Colts finished the contest 0 for 5 on the power play.
banner image via Terry Wilson/OHL Images