Although it came a few days late, the Colts finally kicked off their 2016 playoffs Saturday night with a 5-2 victory over the Mississauga Steelheads. The Colts won five of the six regular season meetings against Mississauga, including all three games at BMC. The Steelheads’ looked to exact some revenge against Barrie following a tough 8-0 loss back on February 27th.
Both teams came out with tons of energy and grit but lacked a feel for the puck as it was evident that the extra few days off had an immediate effect to the start of the game. Mackenzie Blackwood and Steelheads’ starting goaltender Jack Flinn seemed to benefit the most from the rest as both netminders were sharp early on, making key stops to keep the game scoreless.
Mississauga would open the scoring with 5 minutes left in the first as captain Josh Burnside won a foot race to a loose puck before firing one over the glove of Blackwood for his first goal of the playoffs.
As the period reached its final minute, the Colts would score twice to take a 2-1 lead after the first. The first on the powerplay came as Greg DiTomaso – the former Steelhead – blasted a one-timer by a screened Flinn to tie the game at 1-1. Michael Webster and Anthony Stefano were credited with the assists.
Dylan Sadowy would then give the Colts the lead with 16 seconds to go in the period as he received a beautiful saucer pass from Andrew Mangiapane before roofing one by Flinn to give the Colts a 2-1 lead after one, while Julius Nattinen also picked up a helper on the play.
With 6 minutes left in the second period, Julius Nattinen’s shot would be deflected by Kevin Labanc who was alone in front of Flinn as he notched his first goal of the playoffs, extending the Colts lead to 3-1. Justin Murray recorded the secondary assist on the marker.
Just like the Colts did at the end of the first, Mississauga would score one late in the second as Damian Bourne chipped one through Blackwood to cut Barrie’s lead to 3-2 heading into the third as rookie Owen Tippett picked up the lone assist.
The third period saw the Colts control the majority of the play as they looked to grab an insurance marker. However, the Colts couldn’t crack Flinn who stopped all 16 shots he saw, keeping the Steelheads in the game.
Defence was the name of the game for the Colts in the third as they only allowed four shots in the frame. Mackenzie Blackwood didn’t see a lot of action in the period, but made two big saves on Nathan Bastian in the final minutes of the game to preserve the Colts’ lead
Barrie would put away the game in the final seconds as Dylan Sadowy and Julius Nattinen added empty netters, giving the Colts a 5-2 victory.
Game Two will take place on Monday, March 28th as Barrie looks to extend their series lead to 2-0. Reminder to all fans that purchased tickets for Thursday’s game that those tickets are good for Monday. If you don’t have your tickets yet, you can get them by visiting BMC Box Office or going to www.ticketbreak.com.