Just fifty-five seconds into overtime Guelph’s Cedric Ralph broke in alone and made no mistake to give the Storm a 5-4 victory.
The Barrie Colts and the Guelph Storm had very similar seasons last year, but both have made great strides in becoming two teams to worry about this year.
The Barrie Colts came into Friday’s game leading the Central Division and just one point behind the Hamilton Bulldogs for the Eastern Conference lead.
The scoring didn’t take long to get going at the Sleeman Centre on Friday evening. A bad Guelph turnover was put right on the stick of Jason Willms who had his backhander stopped before 6’8” Curtis Douglas swooped in to grab the rebound and open the scoring. The goal was his 6th of the season.
Exactly two minutes later the Storm would get on the board. After a shot from the point bounced off the chest of Leo Lazarev it was Cam Hillis who put home the rebound to tie things up.
Just moments after it was Willms making his mark again, this time by putting the puck in the net. After a puck bounced out front he snapped it home to give Barrie back the one goal lead. The goal was his 12th of the season. Aidan Brown and Douglas were credited with assists on the goal.
The scoring wouldn’t stop. Minutes later it was a highlight reel goal as Ryan Suzuki and Alexey Lipanov put on a show with Lipanov being credited with a wide-open cage to put home his 8th of the year. Jaden Peca would tally the other assist.
Midway through the frame on a Guelph powerplay they would strike. After Ryan Merkley stepped into a blast it was Hillis on the rebound again. The point shot brought Lazarev way out of his crease and left the wide open net to cut the lead to 3-2 Colts.
With a little more than four minutes remaining in the period Guelph would capitalize on another powerplay. This time it was Isaac Ratcliffe who would find the back of the net and tie a wild first period at three.
Five minutes into the second period Luke Bignell was denied the chance of giving Barrie back the lead. Worked his way in front by was stopped by the right pad of Anthony Popvich, not once but twice to keep the game tied.
With just under eleven minutes on the clock the Storm nearly took the lead. After Barrie Colts Captain Justin Murray laid a guy out in front the puck was loose for a Guelph player to knock home but Lazarev came up huge with two stops to keep them from taking their first lead of the game.
These two teams as mentioned were at the bottom of the Ontario Hockey League standings a year ago with Barrie grabbing the number one overall selection and took Ryan Suzuki. On this night he made the Storm pay as he netted his 2nd goal of the season to give Barrie the lead back and make it 4-3. It was a long time waiting for his second, after scoring in the first game of the season in an 11-2 thumping of the Ottawa 67’s.
Barrie escaped the second period with the lead, but it didn’t take long for the Storm to tie the game back up in the third. From a bad angle Barrett Kirwin snapped a shot between the legs of Lazarev and into the back of the net.
The Colts get back on the horse tomorrow night astroturfing they play host to the Oshawa Generals at 7:30pm. Tickets still available at www.barriecolts.com