A second period surge from the Colts wouldn’t be enough as the IceDogs would score two power play goals, one shorthanded en route to a 4-3 victory on Sunday afternoon.
The Colts would finish off their week with their second game in within 24 hours as they travelled south to take on Central Division rival, Niagara IceDogs, for their second of three meetings within three weeks. One week ago the Colts managed to steal a victory over the IceDogs, Central Division leaders, with a 5-4 victory on March 2nd. However, the Meridian Centre has not been kind to the Colts this season, as they have been outscored 13-4 in two visits so far. 8 of those 13 goals all came in the 1st period between those two games.
The Colts slow starts in the Meridian Centre would continue, as it would take just five minutes for the IceDogs to get on the board as an early power play saw Los Angeles Kings prospect Akil Thomas knock home a loose puck in front of the net to put the home team up 1-0. This would be Thomas’ 35th goal of the season, as Boston Bruins prospect Jack Studnicka and Vegas Golden Knights prospect Ben Jones would pick up assists on the goal.
Not long after the IceDogs would strike again, as Edmonton Oilers prospect Kirill Maksimov would steal the puck off of the Colts in their own end and outlasted Colts goaltender, Kai Edmonds, and snuck the puck between the legs for his 40th of the season. The goal would assists by Jones for his second of the game.
Ivan Lodnia, Minnesota Wild prospect, would join in on the fun early on as he would add a third goal for the home side as he scored his 15th goal of the season. Philip Tomasino and Jacob Paquette would pick up assists on the goal.
The Colts would regroup at the intermission and waste no time fighting back in the 2nd period, as a power play saw the visitors put up their first goal on just their 3rd shot of the game. Tyler Tucker and Ryan Suzuki would pass it back and forth patiently before going cross-ice to Sam Rhodes, who would snipe home his 9th goal of the season. Tucker and Suzuki would pick up assists on the power play goal.
The Colts would ride the momentum as a strong defensive play would lead to a 3-on-1 breakout by the Colts as Luke Bignell would lead the charge, going cross-ice to Suzuki. He would freeze IceDogs goaltender Stephen Dhillon before sending it back across the ice to the trailing Aidan Brown, who would snap home his 13th of the season into the empty cage. Bignell and Suzuki would pick up assists on the play as Suzuki grabbed his 2nd point of the game.
With overage forward Ben Hawerchuk out of the lineup today, Ryan Suzuki was being leaned upon heavily to carry the offence and carry it he would. A turnover forced by Luke Bignell would lead to a two-on-one and Bignell would snap a shot that Dhillon couldn’t control, which led to Suzuki pouncing on the rebound to score his 23rd goal of the season and notch his 3rd point of the day. Bignell would pick up the lone assist on the goal.
The IceDogs would eventually stop the bleeding, as a penalty to the Colts would send the league’s top power play back to the man advantage. Edmonds would make a beautiful blocker save initially to keep the puck out, but Jones would be sitting on the doorstep to bat the puck out of mid-air to score his 40th goal of the season. Thomas and Studnicka would pick up assists on the goal.
The third period would see action go back-and-forth for the full 20 minutes, but the clock would be the enemy of the Colts as it would eventually hit 0:00 to signal an end to a crazy game. The Colts comeback would come up just short, as they would outshoot the IceDogs in the 3rd period 11-6 in their push for an equalizer but Dhillon would keep the IceDogs in the game. Edmonds, who made the start for the Colts, would have a strong bounce back after letting in three goals early in the 1st period. The Colts starting goaltender would make a season-high 44 saves in the loss to the IceDogs.
The Colts will now enter the final week of the season just 3 points out of a playoff spot, as the North Bay Battalion would drop a decision to the Peterborough Petes on Sunday. The win for the Petes would mean that they clinch the 6th playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Colts and Battalion face off with each other on Tuesday, which could very well decide which team goes to the playoffs and which team does not. The Hamilton Bulldogs are also within striking distance, as they only have two games remaining and sit 7 points ahead of the Colts. Here is a look at the schedule’s of each remaining team still fighting to clinch a playoff spot:
Barrie Colts (56 Points)
Tuesday, March 12th @ North Bay Battalion (Eastern Conference, 8th Place)
Wednesday, March 13th @ Owen Sound Attack (Western Conference, 6th Place)
Saturday, March 16th vs. Niagara IceDogs (Eastern Conference, 2nd Place)
Sunday, March 17th @ Mississauga Steelheads (Eastern Conference, 5th Place)
North Bay Battalion (59 Points)
Tuesday, March 12th vs. Barrie Colts (Eastern Conference, 9th Place)
Thursday, March 14th vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (Eastern Conference, 7th Place)
Friday, March 15th @ Mississauga Steelheads (Eastern Conference, 5th Place)
Sunday, March 17th vs. Niagara IceDogs (Eastern Conference, 2nd Place)
Hamilton Bulldogs (63 Points)
Thursday, March 14th @ North Bay Battalion (Eastern Conference, 8th Place)
Friday, March 15th @ Sudbury Wolves (Eastern Conference, 3rd Place)
With only one week left in the season, this playoff race looks like it’s going to come right down to the wire. Tickets can still be purchased for the final home game of the season, Saturday March 16th, at the Colts Store or online at https://secure.ticketpro.ca/?lang=en#achat_COLTS1819REG34.