The Colts welcomed the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds to the Barrie Molson Centre Thursday night for their lone visit of the season for the team’s annual Monte Carlo Teddy Bear Toss game.
The Colts are coming off a 6-3 victory against the Attack in Owen Sound Wednesday night, where newly acquired Anthony Stefano recorded a hat trick in just his third game with the team. The Colts were looking to extend a mini two game-winning streak to three straight.
Coming into the game, the Colts sat tied atop the Central Division with the Mississauga Steelheads with 38 points and 3 games in hands. The Greyhounds entered today with victories in 5 of their last 6 games where scoring has been their weapon of choice. The Greyhounds have accumulated 33 goals, including a 10 goal outing against Sudbury and an 8 goal performance against Ottawa. The Soo sat 3rd in the West Division with a 14-14-3-0 record coming into the night.
Each team came out flying looking to take the early lead. The Greyhounds controlled the first half of the frame but couldn’t put one past David Ovsjannikov. Ovsjannikov’s start was his first at home as a Colt since being acquired from the Saginaw Spirit.
The second half of the period was a different story though as the Colts held the puck for the majority of the final ten minutes. The Colts had plenty of chances to make it rain teddy bears, in particular from Kevin Labanc as he had four quality opportunities to score the first goal of the game.
Labanc’s best chance came at the 8-minute mark of the frame. After stripping the puck off of a Greyhounds defenceman, Labanc had a breakaway but was denied by the left pad of Greyhounds goalie Joseph Raaymakers. Raaymakers, who is typically the Soo’s backup, started in place of Halverson who is at the U.S. National Junior Selection Camp. The period ended at 0-0, and shots in the period were 15-9 for the Colts.
The second period started much like the first period ended, with the Colts carrying the puck and the momentum for most the frame. The Colts had an abundance of scoring chances to get on the board, but Raaymakers was like a brick wall as he turned away everything sent his way. His best save in the period happened with 20 seconds left in the frame. After Zach Senyshyn was sent off for hooking, Labanc set up Justin Scott for a cross ice one-timer, but once again, Raaymakers stretched his left leg out just in time to make a wonderful cross crease pad save as he robbed the Colts of a sure goal.
However, the save wouldn’t faze the Colts. Only seconds later, Rasmus Andersson fired a wrist shot from the point that would find the back of the net. It wouldn’t take more than a second before Colts fans began flooding the ice with Teddy Bears. The goal was Andersson’s 6th of the year and Scott, who was denied prior, along with Cordell James, would record assists on the tally. The Colts would head into the third up 1-0, leading the Greyhounds in shots 35-15. The Colts were a perfect 16-0-0-0 when heading in the third leading.
Entering the third, the Colts looked to extend on their lead. But, the Greyhound would have other plans. Tim Gettinger would received a feed from Jack Kopacka in the slot and Gettinger would fire his 6th of the year low blocker on Ovsjannikov to knot the game at 1-1.
Following the Gettinger tally, defensive zone coverage seemed to be the game plan for both teams, as quality chances became limited. The best chance for either team came with 4 minutes remaining in the third as Michael Webster’s slapshot hit off the glove of Raaymakers and bounced just wide of Sault Ste Marie’s goal.
Andersson may have possibly made the defensive play of the game too. As Bobby MacIntyre came in on a partial breakaway, Andersson was able to reach around the speedy forward and knock the puck off his stick before he was able to get a shot off. The third would end without another goal, as the game would head into overtime. Shots after three periods were 42-21 Colts.
Each team was only able to generate one shot in the overtime as most of the five minutes were spent playing four on four. Labanc had the best opportunity to win the game for the Colts as he rang one off the post with 2 minutes left in the overtime period. The game would need a shootout, and final shots in game were 43-22 Colts.
After Kevin Labanc and Jack Kopacka both were denied on their attempts, the Colts would send out Justin Scott. Scott would send his backhand wide of the net to keep the shootout tied. Second shooter for the Greyhounds captain, Blake Speers, would make no mistake as fired one through the wickets of Ovsjannikov to give the Soo the lead. The Colts responded with Andersson with hopes of keeping the game alive. Andersson would return the favour as he would also go five-hole to beat Raaymakers and tied the shootout at 1-1. The Greyhounds would then send out a defencemen of their own, as Gustav Bouramman would get the chance to win the game for the Soo. Bouramman would skate slowly towards Ovsjannikov before beating him over his glove to give Sault Ste Marie the win.
The loss marks the first time this season the Colts have fallen in overtime or a shootout. The team looks to get back on track as they will host the North Bay Battalion this Saturday night at the Barrie Molson Centre. Saturday’s game will mark the return of Andrew Mangiapane, who missed the previous 8 games due to a suspension.
For tickets to Saturday night’s game, visit the BMC Box Office or www.ticketbreak.com.