A pair of goals from Andrew Mangiapane and Josh Carrick, backed by a 32 save performance from Mackenzie Blackwood powered the Colts to a 5-2 victory over the North Bay Battalion, who now take a 1-0 series lead over the troops.
Mackenzie Blackwood started in his second straight game after picking up the win in Tuesday’s 5-1 Game 7 win over the Mississauga Steelheads. Across the ice from Blackwood, patrolling the Battalion net was Jake Smith. Smith played in all seven games in North Bay’s first round series victory over the Peterborough Petes, where he posted 2.65 goals against average, to go along with a .902 save percentage with one shutout.
Blackwood had to be sharp early on for the Colts as the Battalion fired 16 shots in the first period, including six in the first two and half minutes to keep the Battalion off the board.
The Colts’ opened the scoring on the power play as Andrew Mangiapane wired his fifth of the postseason over the shoulder of Jake Smith as Kevin Labanc and Rasmus Andersson picked up the assists.
Mangiapane wasn’t done their as 2:13 after scoring his first, the Colts would break into the Battalion zone where a beautiful three way passing play between Kevin Labanc, Justin Scott and Mangiapane finished with the speedy winger sliding a backhand by Smith for his second of the game and 6th of the playoffs.
Barrie added one more before the final twenty minutes came to a close as Josh Carrick’s harmless looking wrist shot from the point made its way through a crowd in front of Smith to give the Colts a 3-0 lead. Ben Hawerchuk and Julius Nattinen recorded the assists on Carrick’s first of the playoffs.
Like Mangiapane before him, Carrick wasn’t content with one goal as the blueliner gave the Colts a four goal lead just 1:52 into the second as he received the Giordano Finoro pass and fired another wrist shot from the point that got by Smith. Carrick’s second of the game, as well as the playoffs, equalled his goal total from the entire regular season.
The Colts would head into the third with a 4-0 lead as North Bay out-shot them 23-22 through forty minutes.
North Bay broke up Mackenzie Blackwood’s shutout bid five minutes into the third as Steve Harland found the loose puck around Blackwood’s crease before shovelling by him, cutting Barrie’s lead to 4-1. The goal was Harland’s third of the playoffs as Brett McKenzie and Jacob Ball registered assists on the play.
With 4 minutes left in the game, Kyle Wood cut the Colts’ lead in half after he hammered a slapshot by a screened Blackwood for his second of the postseason. Brett McKenzie recorded his second assist of the game while rookie Cam Dineen also added a helper on Wood’s tally.
That’s as close as North Bay would get however as Mackenzie Blackwood shut the door the rest of the way before Justin Scott’s empty netter sealed a Colts’ 5-2 victory.
Game 2 takes place on Monday, April 11th at the Barrie Molson Centre as they look to take a 2-0 series lead before the series shifts to North Bay for games 3 & 4. Get your tickets now by visiting BMC Box Office or going to www.ticketbreak.com.