With their playoff hopes on the line and facing the OHL’s top team, the Barrie Colts couldn’t have picked a better time to come up with one of their better efforts on the season.
Tyson Foerster and Ben Hawerchuk scored twice each and the Colts connected four times on the power play to collect a much-needed two points with a 6-3 win over the Ottawa 67’s, Feb. 28, at the Barrie Molson Centre.
More importantly, the win moved the Colts (25-31-3-1) to within three points of the North Bay Battalion for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference standings with only eight regular season games remaining for both teams.
“We had our game plan and we just wanted to play hard out there,” said Colts rookie Riley Piercey, who had a strong game despite not hitting the score sheet. “We needed these points, it’s the playoff stretch.”
Victor Hadfield and Jack York also scored for Barrie, which received a big four-assist night on the back end from veteran blue liner Tyler Tucker. Rookie Jet Greaves had another strong effort in goal, turning away 31 shots for the win.
A desperate Colts team got a big break a little more than three minutes into the game and never really looked back, eventually building a 4-0 lead. With Foerster at centre ice and looking to head off on a line change, the rookie forward flipped the puck down the ice. Ottawa goaltender Cedric Andree misplayed the dump in and it bounced off is pad and slid in.
It was a rough night for Andree. Barrie managed just 16 shots on goal, but made good on six of them.
“We got the bounces tonight and that’s all we needed,” Piercey said. “We just got to keep rolling here.”
Sam Bitten, Austen Keating and Sasha Chmelevski scored for the 67’s (44-11-3-2), who have dropped two straight despite giving up just 29 total shots in losses to two of the league’s bottom teams (Kingston and Barrie).
The Colts kick off the first day of March with road contest against the Mississauga Steelheads. In their only other visit this season to the Paramount Fine Foods Centre, Barrie dropped a 4-3 overtime decision back on Jan. 25.
The two teams will also meet one more time in Mississauga, when they close out the regular season on Mar. 17.
With another import two points on the line, Piercey knows the Colts will have to bring the same workmanlike effort against a Steelheads club that will be anxious to snap their three-game skid.
“We need these points here,” he said. “We’re just going to go into (Mississauga) here with that game plan.”
Puck drop is 7 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: The game marked the return of Lucas Chiodo to Barrie for the first time since the popular overage forward was dealt to Ottawa at the trade deadline in early January. The Colts marked the occasion before the game with a special tribute video and presented the winger and his family a framed team jersey. . . Barrie wraps up three-in-three weekend on March 2 when they host the Niagara IceDogs at 7:30 p.m. . . Tucker, who celebrates his 20 birthday on March 1, now has 11 goals and 50 points and is tied for ninth in scoring among defencemen.
photo: Tyson Foerster scored twice to help lead the Barrie Colts to a 6-3 win over the Ottawa 67’s in OHL action, Feb. 28, at the Barrie Molson Centre. Terry Wilson/OHL Images