Mad Dog puts leash on Peterborough
Mad Dog was hungry for pucks, Captain Colt fed the crowd, and the Barrie Colts ate up the competition to close out the weekend.
Peter 'Mad Dog' Di Salvo made 30 saves and captain Stefan Della Rovere stuffed home the game winner midway through the second period, as the Colts trotted to a 2-0 win against the Peterborough Petes at the Barrie Molson Centre on Saturday night.
Alex Hutchings sealed the victory with less than a minute remaining when he added an empty-netter that didn't actually reach the net. Hutchings was hauled down by the Petes' Brett Theberge in close range of the empty Peterborough cage, and officials ruled Hutchings had full possession of the puck at the time he was tripped up.
Making his second start of the season, the 19-year-old Di Salvo was brilliant, turning away everything the Petes sent his way to earn his first career OHL goose egg, two games into his third season.
"I've got the (game) puck," said Di Salvo, who sports a lively-looking faux-hawk hairdo. "Three years ago in minor hockey, I got nine (shutouts) in one year. I wanted to get one here finally. It's been three years."
Di Salvo's best saves came late in the third period, on a night nothing was going to get past the Oakville native. He even took a puck off the noggin that sent his mask flying. Before that, with the Petes pressing for the equalizer late in the third period, Di Salvo intercepted a Peterborough pass through the crease to single-handily break up the play and help the Colts clear the puck from the zone.
"My goalie coach came into the room after the game and said that was probably the best save I made all game," Di Salvo said. "And I agree with him."
While Di Salvo's effort was huge in helping the Colts to a weekend split -- they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Wolves in Sudbury Friday night -- Della Rovere's home debut as captain was also a memorable one.
Perhaps equally impressive was his celebration after he tucked a rebound past Trevor Cann at the 11:29 mark of the second frame. Della Rovere lowered his body, swooped his right arm slowly to the ice, grabbed some ice and worked his arm slowly back up in what was a unique twist on the age-old fist pump.
"I saw (Darren) Archibald do it after the first one he scored last week. And playing three-on-three in the summer, you try a few different celebrations, I guess," the third-year forward said. "You get a little excited when you score your first goal of the season."
Named first star in Saturday's game, Della Rovere also made a big defensive play in the first period to help his team kill off a two-man disadvantage.
He was happy to turn things around a night after receiving a game misconduct for a second-period "checking to the head" incident on the Wolves' Daniel Maggio.
Footage of Friday's hit has been sent to the league's head office for review, and Della Rovere could face a suspension.
"I thought it was nothing," the Washington Capitals draft pick said. "I was watching the replay. I was falling and turned right into him. Hopefully I don't get any games."
The Colts showed plenty of second effort throughout the entire 60 minutes on Saturday, and that's something that will surely be needed if the team hopes to be successful this season. Barrie, which enters the season with limited resources on offence, out-shot its opponent 37-30, and, generally, took a hard-nosed approach on every shift. That's something Colts' head coach Marty Williamson hopes will become a hallmark of the team in 2008-09.
"If we play a good, tight-checking game, and get good goaltending, that's the kind of result we're going to get," the coach said. "We have to continue to work on our power play, to generate some offence, so that we don't have to grind it out so much. But I was happy with the effort, overall."
With Di Salvo collecting his second straight win, the coach isn't stressing over his goaltending situation either. Barrie native Michael Hutchinson returned last week from the Boston Bruins, and, like he's said all along, Williamson plans to use both his goalies.
"(Di Salvo) needs to be rewarded with starts like that, but we're real confident with Hutch, too," the coach said. "We're not too worried about our goaltending."
Peterborough had plenty of chances to get on the board, including a few on an extended two-man advantage in the opening period, but couldn't solve the Colts' stringent defensive effort.
It wasn't for lack of trying, Petes' head coach Ken McRae assured.
"The effort was there. We played a hard game, a decent road game for being a little short-staffed," the coach said. "But we still had chances. We let it slip."
Ryan Gottschalk and Hutchings collected helpers.
The Colts host the Soo Greyhounds on Thursday. Game time is 7:30 p. m.
ICE CHIPS:The Colts' Andrew Clouthier and the Petes' David Quesnele dropped the gloves with a little more than two minutes to go in the game, with no clear winner coming out of the fisticuffs ... Scratched from Barrie's roster were Stephen Gaskin, Shawn Frank, Daniel Michalsky, Marcus Pepe, George Lovatsis, Jaroslav Kruzik and Cory McGillis. Peterborough scratches were Zach Tatrm, Zach Kassian, Tony Romano, Jack Walchessen and Jamie Doornbosch ... Barrie went 0-for-7 on the power play, while the Petes were 0-for-8.
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OHL Action Colts 2/ Petes 0
Della Rovere (1), Hutchings (2)