Here’s what you need to know coming into this weekend’s games…
The Colts will play three games in three nights starting on Friday when they make their way north to clash with the Sudbury Wolves. Following their Friday night tilt, the team will return home for a Saturday night showdown with the admiration of gaining ground on the Eastern Conference leading Kingston Frontenacs before making their way south on the 400 to visit the Mississauga Steelheads. Barrie currently sits first in a crowded Central Division that sees the Colts just 4 points up on the fourth place North Bay Battalion with the Ice Dogs and Steelheads sandwiched in between.
The team last played on Saturday where they edged the North Bay Battalion 5-4 in a shootout for their 25th win of the season. After heading into the third trailing 4-2, the Colts staged a comeback as newcomer Dylan Sadowy and Andrew Mangiapane each found the back of the net to knot the game at 4-4. Following an exciting overtime session that saw neither team capitalize of some superb opportunities, Andrew Mangiapane would pot the lone shootout goal to cap a three goal night (2 in regulation and 1 in the shootout) while David Ovsjannikov stopped all three shooters to earn his 7th victory of the year. Kevin Labanc had another stellar game for the Colts, posting a goal and two assists in the win. Labanc is currently tied with London’s Christian Dvorak in league scoring with 77 points and has recorded a point on 47% of Barrie’s goals so far this year. Labanc hopes to continue the trend as the following games approach. Since being acquired from Saginaw at the trade deadline, Dylan Sadowy has recorded 2 goals in 3 games with the Colts.
Barrie Colts @ Sudbury Wolves
The Colts will be making their way to the Sudbury Community Arena for the third time this season as they will square off against the Sudbury Wolves. The game will mark the sixth meeting between the two teams with Barrie claiming victory in all 5 games this season, outscoring Sudbury 27-12. Barrie has won the last 13 games regular season games against Sudbury dating back to last year with Sudbury’s last win against Barrie coming in March of 2014. The Colts and Wolves last played on New Years Eve at BMC where the Colts prevailed 6-3. Lucas Chiodo registered three assists while Aidan Brown and Giordano Finoro both recorded their first career OHL goals.
Through 44 games, the Wolves have accumulated a record of 11-29-3-1 and are stationed in last place in both the Central Division as well as the Eastern Conference. Sudbury’s powerplay ranks 17th in the OHL, operating at a 15.6% rate while their penalty kill ranks 18th in the OHL working at a 77.1% rate.
Leading the way for Sudbury has been Mikkel Aagaard and Alan Lyszczarczyk as they tied in team scoring with 32 points. Aagaard spent the beginning of the year with the Niagara Ice Dogs but was traded to Sudbury, along with defenceman Zach Wilkie, for Pavel Jenys back on November 23rd. Since being acquired, Aagaard has recorded 11 goals and 7 assists in 20 games for the Wolves. Lyszczarczyk, a native of New Jersey, is also Sudbury’s rookie scorer leader and ranks 5th in the OHL in that category.
Barrie Colts vs. Kingston Frontenacs
The Colts will host the Eastern Conference leaders as the Kingston Frontenacs roll into town for a Saturday night showdown. This will be the third meeting between the Colts and the Frontenacs this season as Barrie came out on top in their first two meetings. The teams last squared off back on October 3rd where the Colts downed Kingston by a score of 4-2. Roy Radke recorded a hat-trick while Cordell James and Julius Nattinen each added two assists in the victory.
Through their first 43 games, the Frontenacs have a record of 27-13-2-1 and sit atop the East Division; eleven points clear of second place where Ottawa and Peterborough currently reside. Kingston, as noted before, leads the Eastern Conference as they sit six points clear of the Colts. The Frontenacs power play is ranked 8th in the league as they have converted on 19.9% on their opportunities their penalty is even better, ranking 4th in the OHL as they’ve killed off 83.8% of their penalties.
Spencer Watson leads the Frontenacs is scoring as the Los Angeles Kings’ prospect has recorded 20 goals and 26 assists in 41 games. Along with Watson, Kingston’s success can also be attributed to captain Roland McKeown. McKeown, a Carolina Hurricanes prospect, has registered 6 goals and 24 assists in 36 games this season. Juho Lammikko, who won gold for Finland with Julius Nattinen at the World Junior Championships, has also been a key component as he’s logged 11 goals and 19 assists. Like the Colts, the Frontenacs acquired a big name forward at the deadline as Doug Gilmour traded for Oshawa forward Michael Dal Colle, where he has torn it up for the team, recorded 7 goals and 7 assists in 7 games. Jason Robertson has been Kingston’s leading rookie scorer as he has registered 16 goals and 10 assists on the season. His 16 goals are third amongst OHL rookies, only trailing Mississauga’s Alex Nylander and London’s Max Jones.
Barrie Colts @ Mississauga Steelheads
Barrie will play their third game in three days when they travel to the Hershey Centre to take on the Steelheads. This will mark the fourth meeting between the two with the Colts leading the season series two games to one. The Colts and Steelheads last played on January 7th with the Colts taking the game 7-4. Kevin Labanc lead the Colts, recording three goals and three assists for a six point night. Justin Scott managed to find the back of the net twice while Andrew Mangiapane added a goal and two assists.
The Steelheads’ record is currently 22-19-1-3 through 45 games where they are third in the Central Division trailing the Colts by three points. Mississauga’s power play is 12th in the OHL as they have converted on 18.4% of their chances. The power play has been more successful for the Steelheads as they have the 2nd ranked penalty kill, operating at an 85% effectiveness.
The top line of Alex Nylander, Michael McLeod and Nathan Bastian has led Mississauga so far this season. All three players are draft eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft with all three projected to go in the first round. Nylander, who is the son of former of NHLer and Steelheads’ assistant Michael Nylander, has been the team leading scorer as he has recorded 24 goals and 30 assists in 37 games. His 54 points leads all rookies in scoring and places him 10th in the league. McLeod, who is entering his second year in the OHL, has had a productive year, posting 17 goals and 29 assists in 42 games. Bastian, who is a native of Kitchener, has similar numbers to McLeod as the 6’4 winger has registered 13 goals and 29 assists in 41 games.