Jacob Tortora sure knows how to make a good early impression. The speedy winger continued his torrid start with the Barrie Colts by recording his first OHL hat trick in a 4-2 win over the Mississauga Steelheads, Nov. 29, at the Molson Centre.
Tortora, who was acquired from the Kitchener Rangers last week, now has six goals and a pair of assists in his first four games with Barrie. The 19-year-old showed off his booming shot in this game, going top shelf on Mississauga goaltender Jacob Ingham for all three goals.
“He’s got a great shot,” Colts head coach Dale Hawerchuk said of his newest sniper. “Early on he couldn’t seem to score and all of a sudden once he got the first one, he felt good about it and scored some quick goals. He’s quick, buzzes quick and he’s got a quick release. That should make for some good offence.”
Aidan Brown scored the game winner in third for the Colts (14-11-1-0), who moved to within a point of Mississauga for third place in the Central Division standings.
Cole Carter, with his team-leading 20th goal of the season, and Michael Little scored for the Steelheads (14-10-2-0), who have now dropped four straight.
Tied 2-2, the Colts dominated the third period, scoring twice and outshooting the Steelheads, 14-4. Brown extended his scoring streak to five games (4G, 2A) when he pounced on a Chris Cameron point shot in front and fired it past Ingham at 9:07 of the third. Tortora completed the hat trick and provided the Colts some insurance just three minutes later when Lucas Chiodo forced the turnover in the corner and slid it to his new linemate, who walked out in front and rifled it over the shoulder of Ingham.
“I thought we really created some good chances there,” Hawerchuk said of his team’s strong finish. “That’s what we wanted to do in the third and I thought we had good pressure on them and got the turnovers we wanted.”
After a solid first 40 minutes, Steelheads head coach James Richmond was none too impressed with his team’s play in the final period, calling it “as bad as I’ve seen this year.”
“I thought we played well for two periods and then the third period I don’t think we had much energy at all and didn’t match their passion for the game,” a disappointed Richmond said after the loss. “They looked like they wanted to win more than we did.”
Coming off a big 8-2 win, at home on Nov. 24, against the Guelph Storm, the Colts didn’t get the start they wanted in this one.
Mississauga’s Alan Lysczarczyk dealt a head check to Ben Hawerchuk and was handed a five-minute major and game misconduct just five minutes in, but the home team couldn’t capitalize and it was actually the Steelheads, on a late power-play marker by Carter, that came away with a 1-0 lead after the opening period.
“I thought we started out poor,” Hawerchuk said. “We went over a lot of stuff and it’s like nobody had their eyes open. They were looking at it, I guess, but we were just sluggish off the bat. We kept building though and got better as it went on.”
The Colts wrap up the weekend on the road, Dec. 1, when they take on the Owen Sound Attack. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
ICE CHIPS: Kai Edmonds made his second-straight and had another strong performance, making 30 saves for his fifth win of the season. “The first one, that’s the defence’s fault and even the second one the defence could have done a better job boxing it up,” Hawerchuk said. “(Edmonds) would probably like that one back where he could smother it a little earlier, but he made the key saves when we needed it.” . . . Cameron returned to Barrie blue line after serving a one-game suspension.
Photo: Aidan Brown scored the game winner midway through the third period to help lead the Barrie Colts to a 4-2 win over the Barrie Colts at the Barrie Molson Centre on Nov. 29. Terry Wilson/OHL Images photo