Colts not at home on road
The road continues to be an unproductive place for the Barrie Colts.
Despite displaying a never-say-die attitude against the Peterborough Petes last night, the visitors dropped a 5-4 decision in front of 2,686 Peterborough Memorial Centre patrons.
Justin Larson scored twice, and captain Zach Harnden added what proved to be the winner, beating Peter Di Salvo on a Petes' man advantage with five minutes remaining.
Darren Archibald scored twice, Kyle Clifford added another and Mitch Lebar brought the visitors to within a goal with 3:22 remaining, but it wasn't enough for the Colts, who dropped to 3-8-0-1 away from the friendly confines of the Barrie Molson Centre this season.
"We've been getting goals, but we have to stop them from going in our own net," said Archibald, who has six goals in his last three games. "We have to calm down and focus on our defence, because that's where we've been failing, a bit, lately."
Barrie heads to Guelph to face the Storm tomorrow night, before closing out the weekend at home against the Saginaw Spirit on Saturday night.
Grabbing points against a tough Storm team won't be easy, especially on the road, and especially considering the fact that points haven't exactly been easy to come by anywhere for the Colts lately.
They've collected five of a possible 16 points in eight games this month, though the struggles are not due to lack of effort, Colts head coach Marty Williamson insisted.
"I never question the effort with these guys," the coach said. "We're just making some mental mistakes ... that's what's costing us. We're losing these one-goal games because of mental mistakes.
"There's just no trust right now," Williamson added. "It's messy in our own zone right now."
After being shut out by Di Salvo earlier this season, the home team made sure that didn't happen again, as Larson skated in untouched and sent a wrist shot past Di Salvo's blocker less than four minutes into the contest.
The Colts tied the game and fell behind again in a two-minute span midway through the first frame on goals with Stefan Della Rovere serving his league-leading 26th minor penalty.
Archibald took a nice outlet pass from Andrew Eastman and parked the puck overtop recently-acquired Ryan Daniels' glove to make it 1-1 with a short-handed tally at the 8:38 mark.
But with six seconds remaining on Della Rovere's interference infraction, the Petes salvaged the power play when rookie first-rounder Ryan Spooner beat Di Salvo five-hole, cashing in on some more generous space granted by the Colts' defence corps to go up 2-1.
Peterborough increased its lead to 3-1 less than two minutes into the middle stanza when Tony Romano tucked home a loose puck after an initial glove save by Di Salvo on Zach Harnden.
Barrie didn't back down, though, and, after a Mitch Lebar salvo went under review and was declared no goal, Archibald came to the rescue again. He dished home a rebound on a play engineered by linemate Michael Sgarbossa to cut Peterborough's lead to 3-2 at the 16:26 mark.
Barrie drew even with Kyle Clifford's goal on a partial breakaway at the 6:22 of the same period.
The Petes came right back to restore the lead in the third frame, as Larson's second of the game, via a rebound through traffic, made it 4-3 Petes midway through the period.
Harnden gave his team a two-goal cushion before Lebar struck with time winding down, but the Colts couldn't find the equalizer despite a pair of power plays with less than two minutes to go.
Despite the loss, the train keeps chugging, and the Colts can only hope to get back on track in the Royal City.
"They don't get any easier," Williamson said. "Guelph plays a very sound game."
Alex Hutchings sat out his second game in a row with what team officials said was the flu. Hutchings left the ice in the third period of a game against the Knights in London last Friday.
He sat out a game against the Sarnia Sting the next night, although he did travel with the Colts last night.
"He didn't eat much, so we'll give him another day," Williamson said of Hutchings, who is second in team scoring with 21 points.
Meanwhile, on the trade front, you can bet the Colts are pursuing a top-line centre, but that doesn't mean Williamson is ready to talk about any pending deals.
"We know we have some needs, but there's nothing hot right now at all," the coach said prior to last night's opening faceoff. "There's a couple of 20-yearolds out there for sale, but they don't fit our plans. We're not going to knee jerk."
Game time tomorrow is 7:30 p. m.
ICE CHIPS: A pair of draft-eligible Colts have made NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings. Hutchings is ranked 22nd among OHL skaters, while Di Salvo is ranked fifth among OHL goalies. The 18-year-old Hutchings was second in team scoring heading into last night's game with 21 points in 21 games, while the 18-year-old Di Salvo had the third best goals against average in the league (2.35). Oshawa Generals sniper John Taveres topped the list of skaters, while Saginaw Spirit goalie Edward Pasquale headed up the list of goaltenders ... There are no OHL games scheduled for tonight, as the first of two league-hosted ADT Canada-Russia Challenge games takes place. Guelph's Sleeman Centre plays host to tonight's game, followed by another on Monday in St. Catharines, which Colts captain Stefan Della Rovere will play in ... Barrie's Clifford and Peterborough's Zack Kassian didn't take long to get reacquainted. They fought on several occasions last season and dropped the mitts less than a minute into last night's game. Colts' toughguy Andrew Clouthier and Petes defenceman Barron Smith dropped the mitts to open the third period. Smith, the son of former NHLer Steve Smith, headed to the dressing room immediately following the fight. He didn't return.
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Larson 2 (5), Spooner (9), Romano (11), Harnden (8) Archibald 2 (10), Clifford (4), Lebar (6) OHL Action Petes5 /Colts4