Thomas Harley scored at 2:08 of overtime to give the Mississauga Steelheads a 4-3 win and hand the Barrie Colts another tough one-goal loss in OHL action, Jan. 25, at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre.
A night after dropping a 3-2 decision at home to the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Colts fell just short once again against another opponent they’re trying to chase down in the Eastern Conference standings.
“At least we got a point tonight, but you want to win those for sure,” said Barrie head coach Dale Hawerchuk, whose club now sits seven points behind North Bay for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference. “Sometimes with a young group it’s confidence, right? They need this kind of mileage and I see some guys and they’re a little bit hesitant, and you don’t get results that way. You got to be full throttle all the time. That’s how they can learn from it.”
For the Colts head coach, now is the time you start playing full throttle with the schedule heading into the final third of the season.
“We did a lot of good things tonight and it was just a couple of boners that cost us,” Hawerchuk added.
Leading the way for the Steelheads (22-19-4-1) in this one was Harley, who had a pair of assists to go along with his overtime winner.
It’s been quite the week for the defenceman, who found out he moved up to ninth overall in the NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-term rankings among North American skaters and then went on to record an assist for Team Cherry in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Jan. 23 at Red Deer, Alta.
Harley buried the Colts (19-24-2-0) when he chipped the puck off the boards in his own to get by fellow top NHL draft prospect Ryan Suzuki and then raced down the ice, before ripping a low shot past the left pad of goaltender Jet Greaves.
“He’s got great feet, he can really skate,” Mississauga general manager and head coach James Richmond said of his star blue liner. “He chipped it by Suzuki and I think the guy (Jacob Tortora) at the back end there underestimated his speed coming up and he made a great shot on net. It was a nice goal.”
It was a tough ending for the Colts, who battled back twice in the contest to force overtime.
Cole Schwindt and Liam Ham, on the power play, gave the home team a 2-0 after opening 20 minutes, before Aidan Brown cut into the lead in the middle period and Nathan Allensen’s power-play goal just 1:10 into the final period tied things up. Cole Carter put Mississauga back on top at 12:09, but Barrie drew even once again when Tortora buried a rebound past rookie goalie Joe Ranger with just under four minutes remaining and his team on the power play.
“We had some good chances and played well,” Hawerchuk said. “We just had some defensive errors that we shouldn’t make at this time of year and they came back to haunt us.”
The Colts will look to snap a three-game skid and cap off their three-in-three weekend on a winning note when they host the Kingston Frontenacs, Jan. 26, at the Barrie Molson Centre.
“Let’s not dwell on this too long,” Hawerchuk told his team after the game. “Let’s get out of here and get some rest and be ready to go home against Kingston tomorrow. You have three-in-three, your preps before the game are important.”
Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Photo: Jacob Tortora tied the game late, but it wasn’t enough as the visiting Barrie Colts fell 4-3 in overtime to the Mississauga Steelheads, Jan. 25, at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre. Terry Wilson/OHL Images