The Barrie Colts tough schedule didn’t get any easier as they paid a visit to the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium to tangle with the Kitchener Rangers on Friday night.
The Colts had the first chance of the game on a turnover by the Rangers in the corner, Ethan Cardwell found Victor Hadfield, who tried to go between his legs, but couldn’t connect on the feed.
It was Kitchener applying much of the pressure after that. They went to the power play thanks to a Connor Punnett slashing call, and converted with the man-advantage. The Rangers brought the puck into the offensive zone and in behind the net, and Serron Noel spotted Declan MacDonnell in front, who beat Colts netminder Jet Greaves. MacDonnell’s 20th of the season made it 1-0 Rangers.
The Colts were able to even the score late in the first period. Off a Rangers turnover, Tyson Foerster fed Evan Vierling streaking to the net, and his shot went off the crossbar, off the back of goalie Lucas Pfeil and in. Vierling’s 14th of the season tied it at 1 after one period of play. Foerster earned his 100th career OHL point on the play.
The second period started with the Colts jumping out to a 3-1 lead. Just after the 1-minute mark, Aidan Brown was sprung by Tyson Foerster after a misplay in the high slot by the Rangers. Brown went five-hole on Pfeil for his 20th of the year to put the Colts up 2-1.
Just under 90 seconds later, Cardwell found Victor Hadfield, whose shot from the left side was stopped by Pfeil. Cardwell drove the net, and spotted the loose puck – which Pfeil thought he had covered – and slid home his 22nd of the year to extend his club’s lead to two.
Just over two minutes after the Cardwell goal, Francesco Pinelli skated down the wing and fired a shot that was blockered away by Greaves. Mike Petizian was able to deposit the rebound behind Greaves to cut the Barrie lead in half.
The Colts then got a four-minute power play thanks to a Riley Damiani high-stick, but Nathan Allensen took a holding call just 28 seconds into the power play, and the Rangers tied the game while 4-on-4. Axel Bergkvist took a shot that was tipped by Pinelli, and the rebound was cashed in upon by Arber Xhekaj. The goal survived a lengthy review after a challenge for goaltender interference, but it was determined Matthew Sredl bumped into Greaves, allowing the goal to stand and moving the score to 3-3 on Xhekaj’s 6th.
The Colts would soar back out in front just as the final minute of the period approached. It was a nifty three-way passing play between Jacob Frasca, Nicholas Porco and Anthony Tabak. Frasca dropped for Porco, who made a terrific move around a defender and sent a nice pass across for Tabak, who snapped his 11th of the season over the shoulder of Pfiel to put the Colts in front 4-3 after two.
The Colts did a great job of protecting their lead in the final frame. A Liam Howell tripping penalty sent the visitors to the power play, and it took all of 13 seconds for Foerster to hammer one home from that left-hand faceoff dot he has called home all season long. His 35th of the year and 18th power play goal made it 5-3 Barrie.
Kitchener would get back within one on a tip-in from Jonathan Yantsis off a Bergkvist shot with just over three minutes left, but an empty-net goal from Foerster – his fourth point of the night – sealed a 6-4 Barrie victory, their first in Kitchener since 2014, and their first in their last six games. The Colts move to within six points of Sudbury in the Central.
The Colts wrap up the weekend Saturday night at the Colts Centre against the league-leading Ottawa 67’s, who they took to overtime just last weekend. Tickets for that game can be purchased here.