Barrie strikes early and often to defeat Erie 7-5
Curtis Douglas tries to battle through a check in the first period. Douglas would score en route to a 7-5 Barrie win. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO
The Barrie Colts would bend, but not break.
A high-scoring, offensive game was in the cards with the Erie Otters in town, and it went to the wire.
Ultimately, the Colts held their own and pulled out a 7-5 victory on Thursday.
“I think it goes to show a lot about the character of our team, compared to last year, when we were blowing a lot of leads in the third period,” said Colts forward Kyle Heitzner. “This year, we're finding ways to win.
“It was huge for us to find a way to do it.”
The Colts came out with a solid first period on Thursday night, one that allowed them to jump out to an early lead.
Zach Magwood sent Lucas Chiodo in alone, but his deke was stopped by Erie starter Anand Oberoi.
The Colts would keep the puck in though, and Magwood's generosity would be rewarded, when Kade Landry found him in the slot.
Although Oberoi would get a piece of it, Magwood had enough on his shot to beat the goalie and give Barrie a 1-0 lead.
The same duo would be involved in the second goal as well, as Landry sent a pass down low to Magwood, who fed Curtis Douglas in the slot.
A quick release from the tall forward saw the puck slip past Oberoi's arm and in, extending Barrie's advantage to 2-0.
At the other end, Colts goalie Leo Lazarev was ready for the Otters attack, denying them twice in a scramble before coming out to make a blocker stop on Mitchell Byrne's point shot.
Barrie would build on its lead in the second when its top trio went to work.
Chiodo and Alexey Lipanov would move the puck around quickly on a pair of occasions, both times locating Andrei Svechnikov in the slot.
The top prospect did not miss either time, blasting a pair home to give the Colts a 4-0 lead.
Erie would get on the board shortly after on an inauspicious point shot from Owen Headrick.
In the final minute of the second, things would get hairy.
The Otters struck twice, first when a giveaway afforded Erie a 2-on-0 and then just 31 seconds later as Stephane Petry whacked home a rebound in front of the Barrie net.
Just like that, the Colts lead had gone from 4-0 to 4-3 by period's end.
“It was a quick, strong start, and I think, as a team, we let off the gas a little in the second,” Heitzner said. “Things didn't go our way and we took a couple of penalties.”
Barrie got a great break to begin the third, as Oberoi went behind his net to try and play the puck, but lost it in his feet.
Jason Willms was there to pluck it out and set up Chiodo in front to restore Barrie's two-goal lead.
The Colts would need that marker, because Erie came right back with one on the power play, as Ivan Lodnia ripped a shot past Lazarev to reduce the Barrie lead to 5-4.
Things were far from over, with everyone getting into the act.
Svechnikov would draw a few defenders towards him, opening up Heitzner on the far side.
The Russian fed him, and the Orillia native buried his short-side chance to give Barrie a 6-4 lead.
“We had some good pressure and guys were turning pucks over,” Heitzner said. “To have Svechnikov, already one of the best players in the league, jump on the ice with me and find me on that great back-door pass, it says a lot about the player he is.”
Just seconds later, Lodnia would break in alone and get his second of the period to make it a one-goal game yet again.
Erie would get a late power play and pull the goalie, but the Colts would not yield, and Lipanov scored into the empty net to seal the deal.
Barrie's next contest is at home Saturday against the Battalion.
COLTS ON THE SCORE SHEET:
Andrei Svechnikov: 2G, 2A
Lucas Chiodo: 1G, 2A
Alexey Lipanov: 1G, 2A
Zach Magwood: 1G, 1A
Kade Landry: 2A
Jason Willms: 2A
Curtis Douglas: 1G
Kyle Heitzner: 1G
Nate Allensen: 1A
Leo Lazarev: 33 saves