Sports Hockey

Scheifele's four points lead Barrie to 5-3 win over Sault Ste. Marie

By Stephen Sweet, Special to Postmedia Network

After dropping their first two games of the weekend, the Barrie Colts couldn’t let this one slip away.

But a strong third period allowed the Colts to come from behind and take two important points.

Barrie’s three third-period goals led to the Colts pulling out a 5-3 win over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at the Barrie Molson Centre on Saturday night.

“It was extremely (important) that we didn’t lose more than two games in a row,” said Colts defenceman Aaron Ekblad. “It was really important that we got back on track to get the win.”

For the Greyhounds, who gave up the game-tying and go-ahead goals on the power play, it was a contest they could have had.

“It was a couple of penalties there,” said Greyhounds head coach Mike Stapleton. “(Barrie’s) got the best power play at home, and they took advantage of it.”

The first period had a pretty good pace to it, with both teams converting on some opportunities.

Nick Cousins had the first good chance when he slipped around a defender and went in on goal, but Colts starter Mathias Niederberger was equal to the task.

At the other end, Zach Hall set up Anthony Camara on a one-timer, but the winger ended up putting it through Greyhounds goaltender Matt Murray and wide.

They would get it right on a subsequent high-speed rush, when Hall, taking a pass from Mark Scheifele, fed Camara, who beat Murray to give Barrie a 1-0 lead.

Sault Ste. Marie would even up the contest thanks to a geometric bounce.

Colin Miller fired a point shot that went wide, but bounced off of the boards and out the other side to teammate Michael Schumacher.

It took two whacks, but Schumacher knocked the puck past Niederberger to make it a 1-1 game.

Barrie would take the lead again before the period was out, when Scheifele, taking a pass from Camara, made a deft move to get around the Greyhounds defenceman before slipping the puck through Murray’s five-hole.

The Colts would carry a 2-1 lead into the dressing room at the first intermission, but it was the Greyhounds that looked to be the better squad in the second period.

Sault Ste. Marie wouldn’t take long to even the score, after Nick Halagian sent a pass across the slot to Jared McCann.

The rookie, with Niederberger out of position, ripped it into the empty net to tie things at 2-2.

There was a fair bit of four-on-four action in the second period as the teams alternated taking minor penalties.

Moments before Barrie was set to go to the power play, Ryan Sproul came in along the right wing and fooled Niederberger with a bad angle attempt, giving Sault Ste. Marie a 3-2 lead.

The Colts would get their man advantage but had trouble generating anything, not creating more than a solid chance or two on five power-play attempts during the first two periods.

As a result, Sault Ste. Marie held its 3-2 advantage through 40 minutes.

Barrie came out with its best home period of the weekend, and started sticking to some simpler hockey to even the score.

“Our second period we were struggling,” Ekblad said. “Our third period, we came out strong and that’s what we needed.

“I’m not sure if it was things we did differently, but there was a lot more intensity and the will to win, and we need that every night.”

They did try something different on the power play – putting the puck at the goal, rather than just trying to work things around for the picture-perfect opportunity.

Ekblad took a blast from the point that missed the net, but came off of the backboards to Scheifele.

The Winnipeg Jets prospect did not hesitate as he buried his chance, tying the game at 3-3.

“We’ve had a goal as a team to put 50 pucks at the net for the past couple of games,” Ekblad said.

“My focus on the power play is to just throw the puck at the net to see what can happen, and thankfully, it worked out tonight.”

McCann took a tripping penalty with 3:41 to go, giving Barrie another chance with its typically-potent power play.

It would cost the Greyhounds, as another Ekblad point shot, this time on goal and stopped by Murray, allowed Josh MacDonald to whack in the rebound from the doorstep.

“I thought we played well,” Stapleton said. “Their goalie played well, made some big saves for them, as did ours, but they found a way to score a couple on the power play.”

Once Barrie had the late lead, it wouldn’t relinquish anything, and Scheifele completed the hat trick by firing into an empty net.

For Sault Ste. Marie, it was a different result from last night’s 5-4 win in Sudbury, although Stapleton didn’t believe there was really a lot that changed from Friday to Saturday.

“Not much,” Stapleton said. “We played well both nights and we just came out on the wrong end tonight.”

The Colts are on the road next weekend, taking on Windsor Thursday and London on Friday.

Barrie’s next home contest is Thursday, December 6 against Sudbury.


Mark Scheifele: 3G, 1A

Anthony Camara: 1G, 1A

Zach Hall: 2A

Aaron Ekblad: 2A

Josh MacDonald: 1G

Steven Beyers: 1A

Tyson Fawcett: 1A

Mathias Niederberger: 30 saves


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