Niederberger Huge as Colts Win 2 of 3
It was a tough three games for the Barrie Colts as goals were hard to come by but they managed to come away with wins against Niagara and Peterborough but were shutout for the second time this season by Jordan Binnington and the Owen Sound Attack.
It was a battle for second place in the OHL on Wednesday night as the Colts traveled down Highway 26 to face their rivals from Owen Sound.
The game marked Jake Dotchin’s return to Owen Sound after being traded to Barrie at the trade deadline.
The game started off with a bang as Zach Hall was leveled by Kyle Hope right at centre ice just 34 seconds into the game.
No penalty was assessed on the hit but the hit did appear to be late and contact was made with Hall’s head. Hall would leave the game and not return.
Gemel Smith got the home side on the board first just over two minutes in as Smith’s shot fluttered in the air before falling in and behind Mathias Niederberger.
The hitting continued when Alex Lepkowski slammed Holden Cook into the boards and was given a minor penalty for a head check.
Steven Janes doubled the Attack’s lead just shy of the seven minute mark of the second period with a seeing eye shot that beat Niederberger over the pad on an Attack powerplay.
Late in the period Artus Gavrus was sent head over heels by his former teammate Jake Dotchin. Kurtis MacDermid came in to defend Gavrus but Dotchin was having no part of dropping the gloves with a former teammate.
In the third period, rookies Justin Scott and Stefano Pezzetta squared off for their first career fights. Scott landed several punches as Pezzetta was more just hanging on.
The Colts were desperately trying to solve Jordan Binnington and thought they had when Erik Bradford fed a wide open Steven Beyers but Binnington came up with the highlight reel save, diving back and robbing Beyers of a sure goal.
Cameron Brace added an empty netter as the Attack shutout the Colts for the second time this season with a 3-0 win.
“They’re a great team and most guys find it hard playing in their rink.” Said Colts Captain Ryan O’Connor, “They’ve got Binnington in net and he’s a hell of a goaltender and we just can’t seem to beat him no matter what we tried. We stuck to our systems and had a great game but we just couldn’t beat him.”
Thursday night saw another return for a new Colt as Mitchell Theoret made his return to Niagara, the place he called home for three and a half seasons.
Mathias Niederberger and Christopher Festarini went save for save in this game as both goaltenders were kept busy.
This game remained deadlocked at 0’s until late in the third period as neither goalie could be beaten.
The Colts were unable to clear the puck and Ryan Strome’s shot was kicked off the pad of Niederberger right to Steven Shipley who buried the first goal of the game at the 17:43 mark of the third.
The way the game had gone, it seemed Shipley’s goal would be the eventual winner and the Colts were destined to be shutout on back to back nights.
However, Barrie controlled the puck deep in Niagara’s zone and as Niederberger was skating to the bench, Beyers blasted a point shot through a screen and past Festarini to tie the game at one with 1:11 remaining.
Before the puck was dropped after the goal, former linemates, Theoret and Strome got into a slashing match and both players were sent off.
Luke Mercer was then assessed a high sticking penalty when he clipped Anthony Camara in front of the Niagara goal sending Barrie to the powerplay.
The Colts worked the puck around and finally got a shot off with less than a second remaining and Festarini made his biggest save of the game stopping the Ryan O’Connor one-timer.
In overtime the Colts were trying to set up O’Connor again and it was Beyers that found him as O’Connor blasted home his 15th goal of the season and 10th powerplay goal to finish off an unbelievable finish to a wild game that was dominated by the goaltenders.
“It was huge, we needed that win.” Said O’Connor, “it was a tight game, real tight to the end and after they scored that one we battled back and got the other and we rallied together and said we need to finish them in overtime and we got the chance with that powerplay and we buried.
Niederberger made 29 saves in the win 2-1 win while Festarini stopped 31 of 33 Barrie shots in the loss.
The lowly Peterborough Petes came to the Barrie Molson Centre Saturday night and the Colts were looking for some offence after only scoring two goals in their first two games this week.
The first period saw no scoring and there was a rather slow pace to the game with no real scoring chances other than a Cody Brown missed penalty shot.
“Teams like that who are a bit weaker and slower, sometimes we play down to their level and we come out with slow starts but we came back in the intermission and we said we’re playing good but we need to play better.” Said O’Connor of the period’s slow start.
Mitchel Theoret slide hard into the boards while racing for the puck and he needed to be helped off the ice. Theoret went for x-rays and after the game was seen in a walking cast on his right foot and on crutches. The extent of his injury will be found out in the coming days.
The second period livened up when Michael Webster dropped the gloves with Stephen Pierog. The two exchanged blows for the second time this season as Webster tried to spark his team.
A long stretch pass from goaltender Mathias Niederberger hit Zach Hall at the Petes blueline, he tipped the puck over to Anthony Camara who fired a shot past Andrew D’Agostini to open to the scoring with his 26th of the year.
‘You always have to work on it, it’s so much more important and part of your game here in North America then back home (Germany) and I’ve been working on it, the coaches help me out in practice and everything so it’d nice when I can make a pass like this that leads to a goal.” Sais Niederberger who recorded his first point of the season on the goal.
Minutes later it was Camara and Hall setting up Steven Beyers who blasted a shot right through the mesh to give the Colts a 2-0 lead.
This was the second game in row at the Molson Centre where a puck went right through the mesh.
In the third period Andreas Athanasiou was driven hard into the boards by Brandon Devlin and Josh MacDonald took exception as he dropped the gloves for his first fight of the year. Devlin scored the take down but MacDonald landed several punches.
Anthony Camara scored his second of the game off a beautiful cross ice pass from Justin Scott who had just come out of the penalty box and it was 3-0 Barrie.
Stephen Pierog would beat Niederberger at the 13:49 mark to spoil the shutout bid and put the Petes on the board but that would be as close as they would get as Tyson Fawcett iced it with an empty netter and the Colts cruised to a 4-1 victory.
Barrie swept the season series 4-0 with Peterborough and Niederberger picked up his league leading 26th win of the year as he had 39 saves in the game.
“I always try my best but a big part of our success lately is we’re not letting in too many goals against and the team is playing really well defensively and keeping the shots to the outside which makes it easier for me.” Said Niederberger
Next up for the Colts (32-14-2): A rematch date with in Owen Sound (30-14-4) on Wednesday night and Mathias Niederberger says the team is prepared for another tough game, “It’s small and they play really structured and it seems like we have a little bit of trouble with that but the coaches prepare us like always, perfect for the game and we’re going to be ready and up for a big fight.”
The Colts finish off the week by traveling to Kingston (20-22-4) on Friday.