The Barrie Colts came into the week losers of their last two games and sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference for the first time since October.
It was another tough week for Barrie and another set of three games in three nights starting at home Thursday night against their rivals, the Owen Sound Attack.
This game marked the fifth meeting between the two teams this season with Owen Sound leading the season series 3-1 and having won the previous three contests by a combined score of 8-1.
The Colts needed to find a way to solve Jordan Binnington who had looked unbeatable in their previous encounters.
Scoreless into the second period until nine seconds in, Zack Nastasiuk opened the scoring for the visitors.
Mark Scheifele would reply for Barrie eight minutes later with assists going to Zach Hall and Jonathon Laser.
Daniel Zweep would reply quickly for the Attack firing a shot through a screen that beat Mathias Niederberger 32 seconds after the Scheifele goal.
The Colts top line was battling hard all night and Scheifele would notch his second goal of the game late in the period to tie the game at two. Assists to Steven Beyers and Laser.
The chances went back and forth in the third period but neither team could solve the masked men.
In overtime, an odd man rush by the Attack was finished off by Kurtis Gabriel and the Colts losing streak would hit a season high, three games.
Friday night the Colts traveled to Sudbury for the fourth and final time this season. The hostile crowd was all over the Colts right from the beginning of warm-up.
The Wolves would strike late in the first period with two quick goals from Dominik Kahun and Nathan Pancel to take a 2-0 lead into the intermission.
The Wolves continued their ferocious attack and Kahun potted his second of the game 2:45 into the second period.
That would be the end of Mathias Niederberger’s night as the German import allowed 3 goals on 14 shots and was pulled for just the second time this season.
Alex Fotinos would come in relief and with the Colts down 3-0, frustrations began to boil.
Mark Scheifele lined up Brody Silk skating down the boards with a good hard check. Silk appeared to duck on the play, resulting in his head taking the brunt of the hit. Silk stayed down on the ice before being helped off and Scheifele was issued a five minute major for boarding and a game misconduct. Scheifele was also given an unsportsmanlike game misconduct on the play.
With the two game misconducts issued on the same play, Scheifele was given a two game suspension.
The Colts would have to finish the game without their star forward. Sudbury scored once on the five minute powerplay, Pancel’s second goal of the game to stretch the lead to 4-0.
Once again though, you can never count the Barrie Colts out of a game. This team has had countless third period comebacks and it all starts with getting that first goal.
Andreas Athanasiou snapped a shot past Franky Palazzese to make it 4-1. Zach Hall then finished off a give and go with Athanasiou to cut the lead in half with 3:15 remaining.
Barrie pulled Fotinos and Athanasiou would score his second goal of the period with 1:38 remaining off a pass from Hall and all of the sudden the fans that were leaving for the exit, were heading back to their seats as it was 4-3.
The Colts fought hard for an equalizer but Danny Desroachers’ long clearing attempt curled into the empty net to give the Wolves a 5-3 win.
Alex Fotinos was solid in relief for the Colts. The second year goaltender made several highlight reel saves to keep the Colts in it even though they were down 4-0.
The Colts and Wolves will meet for the eighth and final time on March 7th in Barrie. Wolves lead the season series 4-3.
With the Colts losing streak at four games and their best player suspended, the Guelph Storm were looking take advantage of the Colts misfortunes and add to their misery as they came to the Barrie Molson Centre Saturday night.
The Colts were handed some bad news after warm-up as Mitchell Theoret was a late scratch as he was dealing with the flu. Barrie did have some good news as power forward Anthony Camara was back in the lineup after serving his six game suspension.
The Storm had the better chances in the first period, outshooting Barrie 17-10 but Niederberger was red hot after his sub-par performance the night before.
The game remained scoreless till the 15:24 mark when a nice three way passing play between Hall, Camara and Beyers found the back of the net. Beyers was left all alone beside Storm goalie Garrett Sparks and tapped in his 14th of the season.
In the third, on a Barrie powerplay, Alex Yuill rushed up the ice and dished the puck off to Brendan Lemieux who from behind the goal line found Tyson Fawcett atop the crease and he jammed in his 9th of the year to give the Colts a 2-0 lead.
Niederberger was solid the rest of the way stopping all 44 Storm shots fired his way for his third shutout of the season and 30th win.
The Colts sit 6 points back of the Belleville Bulls for first in the Eastern Conference as the Bulls are beginning to pull away as they are currently riding a 9 game winning streak.
Next up for the Colts (37-19-4): Owen Sound (38-17-4) makes a trip back the Molson Centre exactly one week later as the teams will meet Thursday night. Barrie then travels to face division rivals the Mississauga Steelheads (25-29-5) on Friday.