After home win Thursday night, Barrie falls to Knights, IceDogs
London Knights defenceman Victor Mete beats Barrie Colts goaltender Christian Propp during Ontario Hockey League action on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens in London. The Colts lost, 4-1. CLAUS ANDERSEN/GETTY IMAGES
The Barrie Colts started the weekend on fire.
After that, things cooled down considerably.
The Colts scored a season-high six goals in the first period of Thursday’s 6-5 win at home over the Hamilton Bulldogs, but could muster up little else in a 4-1 loss in London against the Knights on Friday night or a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Niagara IceDogs at the Barrie Molson Centre on Saturday.
“We’ve got to avoid not sticking to the game plan,” said Colts captain Cordell James. “We’ve got to keep it simple and work hard.”
After a pair of tough contests, the Colts still had a very important home game against the IceDogs, who were sitting just above Barrie in the standings.
“They’re in our division and it’s a good rivalry,” Colts rookie Kyle Heitzner said. “They call those four-point nights, so it’s a game we need to bear down and try to grab some extra points.
“Things are pretty tight right now,” added the Orillia native.
Unfortunately for the Colts, little went right in the weekend finale, as Niagara went ahead 2-0 after a pair of quick goals in the first.
Trouble continued in the second with two more IceDogs goals as frustrations began to boil over for the Colts.
A late power-play goal from James kept the Colts from being shut out, but didn’t affect the outcome of the game, as the fatigue from playing a trio of exhausting contests appeared to hurt the Colts.
“It’s part of hockey,” James said. “There are three-in-threes in hockey, so you just have to dig deep and battle hard.
“It’s a divisional game, so those points are big.”
Barrie had been in London the night before to take on the league-leading Knights in a very tough building.
“Maybe for the young guys, it can be (intimidating),” James said. “It’s my fourth year, so I’m kind of used to it, but yeah, it’s a good atmosphere and they play well at home and have a good crowd.”
The Colts were burned a couple of times by London’s speed – first from Victor Mete coming out of the box to score the opening goal and then Cliff Pu’s insurance marker in the third – and Barrie fell 4-1 to the Knights.
On Thursday, everything seemed to go Barrie’s way in its first period against Hamilton.
The Colts were getting lots of chances, and were converting on them, including scoring three times on a five-minute power play to take a 6-0 lead on the Bulldogs, who came in with the second-best record in the conference.
“It just shows that we can produce and come out and play good games against good teams and give us an opportunity to win,” Heitzner said.
Hamilton got one later in the first while a man down, but it was in the second that it really began motoring back into the contest with three goals.
The Bulldogs would make it a 6-5 game early in the third, but the Colts held on the rest of the way to open their weekend with two points.
“It’s a conference game, so that’s a big one,” James said. “We’re trying to move up in the standings, so this is good for our conference.”
After going a respectable 6-7-2 through September and October, the Colts slumped to a 2-8-1 record in November, one that saw them drop from the middle of the pack to the bottom.
The Colts will play all but three games in the month of December at home, and two of those road contests take place next week.
The Colts will travel to Sault Ste. Marie to tangle with the Greyhounds on Friday before visiting the Sudbury Wolves on Saturday night.
Barrie’s next home game is Thursday, Dec. 8 against the Windsor Spitfires.