Ethan Cardwell, playing for the first time against his former squad scored the overtime winner 1:34 into the extra frame giving the Barrie Colts a 6-5 victory over the Saginaw Spirit.
After coming back on multiple occasions throughout the night the Colts and their own spirited play, got the game to overtime to pick up a huge two points in their chase up the standings.
Arturs Silovs was sensational down the stretch turning aside 46 shots to pick up his 14th win on the season.
With many notable players facing off against their former teams for the first time – Cardwell who was acquired by the Barrie Colts from Saginaw at the trade deadline would headline the night while Nicholas Porco got Barrie’s first goal of the game. Ryan Suzuki, Barrie’s former 1st overall OHL draft pick from 2017, made his return to Barrie after being dealt the other way. Suzuki would finish the night with one goal.
The Barrie Colts were back in action Thursday night kicking off another three game set. The Colts coming off a busy Family Day weekend in which they earned three out of a possible four wins to continue the chase for top spot in the Central, would start things off with a tough test up against highly ranked NHL draft prospect Cole Perfetti and the Saginaw Spirit. Remarkably the Colts were able to hold one of the leagues top scorers to just one assist on the night.
Less than eight minutes into this one another former Colt Dalton Duhart and rookie Josh Bloom gave Saginaw an early 2-0 lead. Duhart picked off a turnover in the Colts slot, snapping it by Silovs and at 7:45 right off a draw, Bloom would redirect a point shot putting the Colts in an early hole.
The Colts stormed right back and answered with three straight of their own.
Nearing the midway point of the period, the Spirit would get called for a trip and the Colts got their first opportunity to strike on the powerplay.
The first unit would go to work and cut the lead in half just 8 seconds into the man-advantage. Porco standing right on the doorstep buried the rebound off a shot from Evan Vierling for his 9th of the year.
Just two minutes later Anthony Tabak found Ryan Del Monte alone in the slot. His first shot blocked, but the puck bounced right back for Del Monte to rip it home on the second chance for his 3rd.
With under five minutes remaining in the first, Tabak would get hauled down on the breakaway an awarded a penalty shot on the play. Gliding in on Spirit net minder Tristan Lennox, Tabak deked quick and snapped a shot by the blocker to give Barrie the 3-2 advantage.
The Spirit stole the lead right back with a quick pair to start the second. Right out of the gate Suzuki broke free, deking to the back hand knotting the game at three apiece and two minutes later Damien Giroux buried a one timer in front to make it 4-3 for the visitors.
At 12:06, a lucky break would swing things back to even it at four. Saginaw’s Mitchel Smith accidentally threw it in his own net beating Lennox. Josh Nelson would be credited with his 12th.
Late in the second, Saginaw turned things back the other way on a three on two. Blade Jenkins ripped a one timer off the give and go from Mason Millman taking the lead back once again heading to the final frame.
Just seconds into the third it looked as if the Suzuki had extended the lead for the Spirit with another early marker, but thankfully to the Colts avail the goal would be called back offside.
Midway through the final frame and while the Colts were shorthanded the two overagers connected. Josh Nelson would win the race for a puck up the left wing and slide it across to Aidan Brown who buried the tying goal for his 15th of the season.
Both teams traded penalties late finishing out the last minute four on four creating some open ice and just like he had all night Silovs would continue to shut the door as Saginaw rang up the shot clock desperately trying to pull ahead.
In the extra frame Perfetti slid a pass across to Daylon Giroux back door, but once again Silovs would make another big save as Victor Hadfield would pick up the loose puck and turn up ice the other way. Receiving the pass at the red line, Cardwell and Nelson would play give and go as Nelson would slide it right back to Cardwell sending the Colts faithful home with another win on home ice.
With the Sudbury Wolves sitting idle tonight the Colts have closed the gap again to sit just two points back of the division lead.
The Colts now have a day off before back to back games over the weekend. They’ll welcome another Western Conference opponent in the Windsor Spitfires Saturday night at home for a 7:30pm puck drop.
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