For the fourth time this season, the Barrie Colts and the Owen Sound Attack went head to head. Rolling into Wednesday night’s game, the Colts already got the best of the Attack in the previous three meetings and looked to do the same for the mid-week matchup.
Wednesday night’s matchup would be a story of special teams. The Colts would once again get the better of the Attack, winning their 6th straight game, blanking the Attack 5-0. Kevin Labanc had a hat trick, including two short-handed goals, and an assist in the win for a four-point night, while line mate, Andrew Mangiapane recorded three assists of his own. Keigan Goetz also had a short-handed tally on the night and Julius Nattinen notched his 13th goal of the season while also adding an assist. Anthony Stefano, Michael Webster and Josh Carrcik also recorded assists in the win.
Meanwhile, in goal, Mackenzie Blackwood recorded his 3rd shutout of the season, stopping all 42 shots that he faced in the game. For the Attack, Michael McNiven would stop 19 of 22 shots that he faced, and Daniel Dekoning finished up the third period, stopping 9 of 14 shots.
The Colts would open the scoring only three and a half minutes into the game. On the penalty kill, Mangiapane got the puck in and across the blue line before feeding it over to Labanc. Labanc then carried it down the right side and fired a tough angle shot that beat McNiven. The shot was the first Colts shot of the game, while it was also Labanc’s 30th goal of the season. The shorthanded marker was the only goal in the period, although the Attack did outshoot the Colts 13-11 through the first 20 minutes.
Early in the second period, Blackwood was tested as Trenton Bourque fired a shot in the slot and Blackwood quickly had to throw out his left pad to make a quick save. Then, not too long after, Anthony Stefano fed Keigan Goetz breaking into the Attack zone and he redirected a shot on McNiven. McNiven made the save and shut the door on Cordell James who was trailing the play.
Over halfway through the period, after plenty of back and forth action with both teams generating chances, Labanc would have a great chance with 7:30 minutes left. As he broke in, he faked McNiven and then attempted a wrap around but just put his shot wide. Moments later, the Attack transitioned back the other way and ended up hitting the post on their rush from a shot from Ethan Szypula. After that play, Hawerchuk would ultimately be penalized for high sticking, but it would work out in favour of the Cots.
On that ensuing Attack power play, the Colts would break up the Attack play, springing Stefano and Goetz on an odd man rush. Breaking into the Attack zone, Stefano fed Goetz in the slot, and Goetz in turn made a fake and beat McNiven top shelf for his 8th goal of the season, and the second shorthanded goal for the Colts on the night. Josh Carrick would also grab an assist on the goal to make it 2-0.
Just over two minutes later, Jaden Lindo was sent off for boarding and the Colts were able to capitalize on a power play opportunity. Thirty seconds into the power play, Nattinen made the best of a one-timer chance that he blew past McNiven. Labanc fed Mangiapane in the slot, and Mangiapane then made a slick no-look backhand pass to Nattinen on the right hand circle. Nattinen made no mistake and buried his 13th goal of the season to extend the Colts lead to 3-0.
The second period would end with the Colts up 3-0, but being outshot 32-22, causing the Attack to change up their goaltending situation for the third period. Daniel Dekoning was between the pipes in the third period, looking to change the momentum for the Attack.
The third period would see a much rougher go-around with the two squads. After the Colts were penalized as Roy Radke was sent off for slashing Dekoning with 8:27 to play, the Colts would score their third shorthanded goal of the game. Labanc would notch his 31st goal of the season, 2nd shorthanded goal of the night after the puck came loose in the slot and he found the back of the net. Mangiapane assisted on the goal to make it 4-0 for the Colts.
With his second shorthanded goal, Labanc tied a franchise record dating back to 2000 for the most shorthanded goals in a game, previously held by Mike Henderson and Nick Smith.
Then, with less than 5 minutes remaining in the game, Labanc would score the Colts lone even strength goal of the game when Webster fired a cannon from the point and Labanc deflected it home. The goal would mark Labanc’s third hat trick of the season and his 31st multi-point game this season. Nattinen would be credited with the second assist on the 5-0 goal.
The colts went 1 for 2 on their power play chances on the night, while shutting the door on all four of the Attacks power play opportunities. The three shorthanded goals for the Colts now puts them at 16 shorthanded goals on the season.
Owen Sound and Barrie will see each other two more times this season when they play twice in four days in March. The Colts are back at the BMC Thursday night as they welcome the Hamilton Bulldogs to town, then face the Guelph Storm Saturday night in Barrie. For tickets to upcoming games, visit the BMC Box Office or www.ticketbreak.com.