Third period tally upends Colts playoff hopes

Miranda Zilkowsky Photography

A tough bounce and a steal at the Barrie Colts own blue line gave Cameron Butler the opportunity to put a dagger in the Colts playoff hopes. His goal just past the midway point of the third period would hold up to be the game winner as the Peterborough Petes skated to a 5-4 road win over the Barrie Colts Saturday night.

After Ryan Merkley added his second of the night, Barrie rallied with a pair of their own off the stick of Ryan Suzuki, but with the goalie pulled and shots coming from every angle, Petes netminder Hunter Jones put the game away turning aside 25 shots to take the win.

At the opposite end, Jet Greaves making his 25th startmade 44 saves doing all he could to give the boys a chance and Tyler Tucker continued his point streak adding a pair of assists.

It was a crucial night in Colts Country fighting to stay alive in the OHL playoff chase. The Colts returned to action after what turned into a week break due to Thursday nights game postponement, and with a game in hand on the North Bay Battalion sitting just 3 points back of the final playoff spot, the Colts were ready to charge.

Standing in the Colts way was a matchup with the Petes. Facing off for just the second and final time, Barrie was hoping for the same success as their previous matchup as the Colts skated to a 4-2 win back in February.

Just thirty seconds into this one the Colts were handed a four minute powerplay, courtesy of a Petes errant high stick and they capitalized quickly.

The Captain kicked things. Getting a pass to the right of the goal, banged it in on the second chance for his 18th of the year with Hawerchuck and Tucker collecting the assists.

Thirty seconds later, Hawerchuck would set up the second goal as well as he dropped to Tyson Foerster going hard to the net. Foerster would tap in his 8th to quickly open up a 2-0 lead.

Nearing the midway point of the opening frame the Petes would turn the pressure back on the Colts and shift the momentum.

Merkey would muscle the puck off the wall before firing a slapshot past Greaves to cut the lead in half at 7:11 and with just over six minutes to go in the first the Colts would be called twice going down two men and the Petes would get even.

While on their own powerplay, Merkley would feed Nick Robertson in the right circle to one time the tying goal past Greaves.

After the Colts got up early it was all Petes, leading on the shot clock 22-11 as Greaves stood tall to keep things knotted up through twenty minutes.

A wild second period opened up with Petes captain Zach Gallant firing a shot under the bar just 12 seconds into the middle frame to make it 3-2.

With plenty on the line in this one the heated battles picked up leading to a march to the penalty box as both teams combined for ten minor penalties and eventually the Petes cashed in on another powerplay.

At 12:50, Merkley would once again convert wrist a shot to double their lead.

With play finally back to even strength on both sides, the Colts were able to get one back. Aidan Brown would find Suzuki sneaking in on the back door to bring the boys back within one on his 21st goal of the season.

Into the third the Colts knew they would have to come out playing their best with their playoff hopes on thin ice.

The Petes would run into more penalty trouble and hand the Colts a two man advantage in the early going.

At 3:45 it looked as if Barrie had gotten the equalizer, but after further review the play earlier had been deemed offiside.

The Colts came right back on the next play and made it count for sure. Suzuki hammered home the tying goal at 3:55 for his second of the night, with Foerster and Tucker assisting on the powerplay goal.

At 11:28, the Pete’s restored the lead once more. An ill timed turnover at the Colts own blue line sent Cameron Butler in alone and snapped a shot blocker side to make it 5-4.

Barrie now hits the road for three critical games starting off tomorrow afternoon as they head to Niagara to take on the Icedogs. They won’t have much rest as they’ll play their makeup game Tuesday night in North Bay before heading to Owen Sound Wednesday.

Tickets for all Barrie Colts home games can be purchased online, by calling 1-888-655-9090, or in person at the Colts Store located inside the Barrie Molson Centre.

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