Barrie’s top line was at it again, combining for five goals and 14 points to lead the Colts in a 10-3 thrashing of the Sudbury Wolves, Sept. 27, at the Barrie Molson Centre.
Instant chemistry has added up to instant offence for centre Ryan Suzuki and wingers Lucas Chiodo and Matej Pekar early this OHL season. Chiodo led the attack with a hat trick and two assists, while Suzuki also had a five-point performance with a goal and four helpers. Pekar rounded out a dominating night for Barrie’s first line with a goal and two assists.
“My linemates and I are really starting to click here,” said Chiodo, who along with Suzuki and Pekar find themselves among the top five in OHL scoring. “We found some early chemistry, so it’s a great start. We’re just looking to keep building off that.”
Barrie (2-1) has racked up an impressive 21 goals in just three games and its top line has been in on nearly half of those with a combined nine goals. Along with 13 assists, the trio has 22 points. All this from a line that has only been together a couple of weeks, after Pekar was returned by the Buffalo Sabres late in training camp.
“They seem to have pretty good chemistry,” Colts head coach Dale Hawerchuk said. “Pekar hadn’t really been around training camp, so playing with Suzuki and Chiodo those guys go on there and create chemistry pretty quick. They’re pretty smart players.”
The Wolves carried the play early in the matchup and were rewarded when 2018 number-one overall pick, Quinton Byfield, set up David Levin just under six minutes into the game.
Chiodo notched a pair less than seven minutes apart to give the host team the lead heading into the first intermission, but the overage forward and his teammates dealt the decisive blow with three goals a minute and 29 seconds apart early in the second period to drive starting Sudbury goalie Jake McGrath from the net and give Barrie a commanding 5-1 lead.
“I just thought all our lines kept buzzing,” Chiodo said of the strong start that led to five Barrie goals in the second period. “We really hemmed them in their zone, had some good pressure and were able to get the bounces that we weren’t getting last game. It feels really good to get the win here.”
Ben Hawerchuk, with a pair, Tyler Tucker, Jason Willms and Sam Rhodes also scored for the Colts who will face these same Wolves on Sept. 30 at 3 p.m. in Sudbury. Cole Candella and Noel Hutcheson rounded out the scoring for Sudbury (1-2).
Barrie goaltender Kai Edmonds, making his first start of the season, made 33 saves in a strong effort. McGrath, who was replaced by Marshall Frappier before returning to the net a little more than two minutes later, stopped 16 of the 24 shots he faced. Frappier gave up a goal on three shots.
Photo: Matej Pekar and linemates Ryan Suzuki and Lucas Chiodo racked up a combined five goals and 14 points on Sept. 27 at the Barrie Molson Centre. Terry Wilson/OHL Images photo