The Barrie Colts have lately had troubles reeling in the Mississauga Steelheads. Feb. 22, at the Barrie Molson Centre, was no different.

Mathieu Foget recorded a goal and three assists and Michael Little scored twice and added an assist to power the Steelheads to a 7-4 win over the Colts, who have now dropped three-straight games to their Ontario Hockey League Central Division rivals. In a preview of what could be a first-round Eastern Conference playoff matchup, the visiting Steelheads (26-28-1-2) built a 5-1 lead into the second period, before the Colts (34-21-2-1) found some life.

Joey Keane’s 10th-goal of the year midway through the middle frame got the Colts rolling, before an early third-period marker by Jason Willms and a power-play goal by Andrei Svechnikov, a little more than five minutes later, brought the home team to within one. The comeback attempt would fall short though when Chris Carter forced a turnover at his own blue line and raced all the way down the ice before sliding the puck between the pads of Barrie goaltender Kai Edmonds, who had replaced starter Leo Lazarev midway through the second.

Foget’s 19th, into an empty net, sealed the decision for Mississauga, which wrapped up the regular season series between the two teams with four wins in six games.

Nicholas Canade (6), Ryan McLeod (19) and Owen Tippett (27), who also had two assists, also scored for the Steelheads, who remained five points ahead of the Peterborough Petes for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference.

Dmitry Sokolov notched his 40th of the season for the other Barrie goal. Aaron Luchuk had two assists to run his OHL scoring streak to 16 games (9-15-34), while Svechnikov’s three-point night increased his scoring streak to 13 games (15-11-26).

Mississauga goaltender Emanuel Vella made 37 saves to record his third-straight win over Barrie. Lazarev gave up five goals on 16 shots and was replaced by Edmonds, who turned aside eight of nine shots.

The Colts return to action on Feb. 24 when they host the Guelph Storm at the Barrie Molson Centre. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Photo: Leo Lazarev and the Barrie Colts have had their hands full with the Mississauga Steelheads this season. Barrie dropped its third straight game to its Central Division rivals, losing 7-4 at the Barrie Molson Centre. Terry Wilson, OHL Images photo.