Barrie forward Mark Scheifele, who had four goals and three assists in last year’s conference semi-finals between the Colts and 67’s, almost matched that total in one night, putting up three goals and two assists on the evening.
"There were a couple 16-year olds going up against some pretty good lines and a tough matchup for some guys tonight," said Chris Byrne on tonight's mismatch. "They are a good team. It's tough when you give a team like that extra chances and open looks, because they don't miss."
Former Colts goaltender Clint Windsor was pulled in the second period after stopping 11 of 16 shots. In relief, Jacob Blair made 19 saves on 24 shots. Mathias Niederberger turned aside 28 shots in the winning effort.
Scheifele tallied his first of the night just after the five-minute mark of the first period after Erik Bradford opened the scoring. Brett Gustavsen answered with Ottawa’s lone goal of the game midway through the opening frame on the powerplay.
Brendan Lemieux rounded out the first-period scoring for the Colts, the first of eight unanswered markers.
Scheifele had a pair of goals in the middle frame to go along with two assists, while Zach Hall, Mitch Theoret and Andreas Athanasiou gave Barrie an 8-1 lead after fourty minutes. Hall and Bradford piled on with their second goals of the night respectively in the third.
Now having dropped consecutive games to Eastern Conference division leaders, the 67's will take on the ninth-place Peterborough Petes, who look to continue their playoff push, on Friday night. "We have to have a better result there," added Byrne.
With the win, the Colts become the first team in the east to clinch a playoff spot. Ottawa remains nine points behind the Petes.
Tonight's game sheet can be found here.
- Barrie's powerplay was 2-for-2, scoring within less than a minute on both opportunities. Ottawa's penalty kill is clearly missing Mark Petaccio. He is believed to be returning to the lineup on Friday from injury.
- Ottawa's fourth line of Connor Brown, Nevin Guy and Daniel Walsh was the one bright spot tonight. They took on a lot more ice time than usual and were the only 67's without a negative +/- rating to finish the night.
- Brown tried to light a fire under his team after the opening goal of the game by dropping the gloves with rookie Michael Webster. John Urbanic followed that up with a scrap against another rookie in Tyler Fawcett.
- Although Byrne generally doesn't mention the other team too often, the performance from Scheifele and Hall was one that he had to take notice of, saying they "moved the puck well, and did a good job with the puck tonight."
Three Stars as Selected by the Team1200
Random Thoughts from Behind the Lens:
- The 67's started the game strong, out shooting the Colts for the first half but they couldn't turn that effort into goals.
- I sure would like to know the face off stats - it seemed that the 67's were doing very well in the face off circle.
- As tough as this season has been, and as tough as the opponents have been recently, this will separate those with the drive to compete from those who just play hockey really well. It will be interesting to see who returns and sticks next year.
Sean Monahan driving to the net.
Rookie D Jacob Middleton defending against veteran Mark Schiefele
Traffic in front of Jacob Blair.
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