The Barrie Colts sure are getting a pretty good look this weekend at some of the top talent Canada will have at its National Junior Team Selection Camp starting Monday in Oakville.
And for the second-straight night, one of those 31 invites did a number on them.
It was Nico Daws’ time to impress on Friday night as the Guelph Storm goaltender turned aside all 39 shots he faced to shutout the Colts, 4-0, at the Sleeman Centre.
Just 24 hours after Canadian team invite Ty Dellandrea recorded a hat trick to lead the Flint Firebirds to a 5-2 win in Barrie, Daws was also displaying why he deserved one of the coveted invitations.
Especially in the opening period, when he helped kill off four Barrie power plays. Despite being outshot 15-5 in the first, it was the Storm came who came away with a 1-0 lead thanks in large part to the play of its goalie.
It was the fourth shutout of the season for Daws, who leads all OHL goalies with a 2.00 goals against average and a .941 save percentage. The 18-year-old is one of just four goalies invited to camp looking to represent Canada at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic, Dec. 26-Jan. 5.
“We threw everything at the net and we didn’t get a lot of puck luck,” Colts head coach Warren Rychel said. “They get up 1-0 and we get two chances on deflections that almost went in. It was tough, but we worked hard.”
Cam Hillis, with a pair, Eric Uba and Pavel Gogolev scored for Guelph (17-5-1-3), which has won eight of its last 10 games and sits atop the Western Conference standings.
The defeat was the fifth in the last six games for the slumping Colts (13-10-1-1), who now trail Sudbury by seven points for top spot in the Central Division after the Wolves topped Flint, 8-5, last night.
“We just got to keep to the grindstone and not change what we’re doing because some of these goals will go in,” said Rychel, whose club has scored just eight times during the six-game stretch. “I thought (goaltender Jet Greaves) was really good tonight and we didn’t get any help power-play wise.
“It’s one game. We just got to keep going.”
Despite the early power-play chances, it was the Colts who were the busier of the two teams making a trek to the penalty box. Guelph twice had two-man advantages and finished 2-for-10 on the power play.
Still the Colts got the start they wanted in terms of their play and perhaps could have made it a different game had they taken advantage of a couple of the early power-play opportunities.
“We came out of the gate and did everything we wanted to do,” Rychel said. “We had the first 10 shots of the game and then they got a lucky bounce off a skate and scored. There was a couple of phantom (penalty) calls there we’re still trying to figure out.
“I don’t know, it was kind of upsetting. but my guys’ effort on the night was outstanding. They got a couple of lucky goals. We outplayed them all game.”
Barrie will look to snap its two-game skid and get its first points of the weekend Sunday afternoon in Sudbury. The Wolves won the previous two meetings this season between the clubs in the Big Nickel.
“We got to forget about it (Saturday) and rest and be ready for Sunday,” Rychel said. “I like the effort. We play road games like that we’re going to start being rewarded.”
Game time at the Sudbury Community Arena on Sunday is 2:05 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: The Colts outshot Guelph, 39-36. . . The Colts are in a stretch that will see them play five of their last six games before the Christmas break on the road. The lone home game remaining is Dec. 19 vs. the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.