Coming off an “embarrassing” 3-0 loss at home to the North Bay Attack on Dec. 29 that extended a season-high losing streak to five games, the Barrie Colts were determined to finish off 2018 on a much happier note.
The Colts made sure they had plenty to celebrate on New Year’s Eve, bouncing right back with an impressive 5-1 win over the Owen Sound Attack at the Barrie Molson Centre.
Ryan Suzuki scored twice and Lucas Chiodo had a goal and two assists to help the Colts (16-19-1-0) not only get back in the win column, but put an end to a miserable scoreless streak that had reached nearly 145 minutes and over seven periods of hockey.
Jacob Tortora and Ben Hawerchuk also scored for Barrie, which got a big effort in net by Jet Greaves. Making just his second start since late November, the rookie goaltender turned aside 32 of 33 shots to earn the second win of his OHL career.
Sean Durzi had a shorthanded marker for the Attack (19-14-1-2), which has now dropped three straight.
With Jason Willms calling the effort against North Bay “embarrassing” in a television interview just before the game, the Colts took just 48 seconds to end the scoreless slide when Chiodo pounced on miscue at the Barrie blue line by Owen Sound blue liner Trenton Bourque and raced in alone to beat Attack goaltender Andrew MacLean over the right shoulder.
The Colts seldom took their foot off the pedal after that, playing well in just about every area of the game. Suzuki scored on the power-play, while Attack were held scoreless on four chances with the man advantage.
Barrie pressured Owen Sound all night, drove to net with much more consistency and Greaves was there to bail them out with several big stops – including one late in the second that kept Colts lead at 3-1 – whenever they needed him.
The effort was a far cry from the lacklustre team that managed just 15 shots in the loss to North Bay, including just two in the third.
Colts head coach Dale Hawerchuk wanted his team to simplify things to get back on track against the Attack and that they did that in spades.
“I was a scorer and had a lot of points, but when it wasn’t happening it was chip an chase, finish your man, drive to the net,” the former Hall of Famer said after the loss to the Battalion a couple of nights earlier. “All the little things that can make things happen. You got to think outside the box a little bit.
“You got to be a little desperate. We got to get some desperation. From the (Christmas) break it looks like we just kind of lost some confidence. When you don’t have that and you’ve been off for 10 days or haven’t had full-scale practices, that’s where you got to simplify it and we just don’t want to do that at times.”
The Colts kick off a busy January home schedule on Jan. 3 when they host the Erie Otters at 7:30 p.m. Barrie will play eight times on home ice this month.
PHOTO: Ryan Suzuki, who had just one goal in his last 14 games coming in, scored twice to power the Barrie Colts to a 5-1 win over the Owen Sound Attack on New Year’s Eve at the Barrie Molson Centre. The win snapped a five-game losing skid for Barrie. TERRY WILSON/OHL IMAGES