On a night where they felt they weren’t at their best, the Barrie Colts triple-A minor midgets still found a way to salvage a key point from their Ontario Hockey League Cup opening game against the Toronto Junior Canadiens, March 13, at Scotiabank Pond in Toronto.
Barrie’s Cameron Snow scored with 2:10 remaining in the game to tie the contest at 2-2 and it would end that way after a scoreless four-on-four overtime period.
“We talked about all season, with our speed, putting pucks behind the defence and winning races, and finally we did that in the third period,” Colts head coach Josh Dahmer said after the contest. “We got a shot on net – it’s amazing what happens when you put shots on net – it goes in the net and we were able to tie it. At the end of the day, to get a point out of what I felt was a bad performance for us is a good enough start.”
The Colts got off to the start they wanted against the Jr. Canadiens when Brett Pearce, with assists from Rees Cameron and Rylee Hlusiak, put them on top in the opening period. Barrie had chances to add to its slim lead thanks to four power-play opportunities, but couldn’t take advantage.
Dahmer felt his team wasn’t as sharp thanks to having a week-and-a-half off after being eliminated in the semi-finals of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association championships.
“As much as you think it’s a good thing, it’s not a good thing,” he said of the layoff. “We looked a little flat. Our power play wasn’t near as good as what it needs to be and we weren’t moving our feet, and we weren’t doing things we were supposed to. They took momentum from us and we were lucky our goalie (Rhys Byberg) stood on his head and held us in. If it wasn’t for him, it could have been 3-1 for them pretty easy.”
The Canadiens turned up the pressure big in the third period, outshooting the Colts, 13-4. They would finally break through early in the frame when Michael Bianconi, on the power play, and Daniil Chayka scored a little more than four minutes apart to put the Greater Toronto Hockey League semi-finalists ahead.
Still the Colts would find a way to even it. Hlusiak’s pass, intended for Alec Belanger, hit Toronto blue liner Shawn Spearing and went right to Snow, who hammered it over the left pad of Canadiens goaltender Sami Molu.
“We would have liked to get two points out of it,” Dahmer said of the opening tie. “We didn’t feel we deserved more, but we feel we could have beaten that team. We didn’t play our best today, but we got a point out of it and that’s what matters. Hopefully we can rebound (on March 14).”
The Colts are back in action March 14 when they take on the Alliance Champion Brantford 99ers. Game time is 4 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: Toronto outshot Barrie, 35-19. . . The Colts went 0-for-5 with the man advantage, while the Jr. Canadiens scored once on two chances.