Barrie scores five unanswered to beat Sudbury 5-2
Once the Barrie Colts get going, they’re a tough team to stop.
And from the second period on, they weren’t to be denied.
Barrie scored five unanswered goals, including a natural hat trick by Ryan O’Connor, as the Colts downed the Sudbury Wolves 5-2 at the Barrie Molson Centre on Thursday night.
“It was a big statement for us to answer back (after falling behind 2-0 in the first period),” O’Connor said. “That’s exactly what we were able to do tonight.”
O’Connor’s hat trick, which involved the game-winning marker along with a couple of insurance tallies, was the first of his OHL career.
“I’m going to go back and say minor bantam,” said O’Connor when trying to remember his last three-goal performance. “It’s been a long time.
“I guess it was just one of those nights where you shoot the puck, get it on net, and good things will happen.”
The Wolves were the better team at the beginning and the end of the first period, scoring a goal at each point.
Sudbury took the first seven shots of the game and twice hemmed the Colts in their own zone during the opening minutes, forcing Barrie starter Alex Fotinos to come up with a number of good stops.
He couldn’t keep everything out, and on a Sudbury power play, Mathew Campagna sent a pass over to Justin Sefton, who was pinching from the point, and the defenceman beat Fotinos to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead.
Barrie would eventually even the shots total thanks to a number of chances by the recently-formed top unit of Anthony Camara, Mark Scheifele and Andreas Athanasiou.
The latter had the best chance for the Colts, as he cut out in front of the net at a sharp angle, untouched by Sudbury defenders.
But Athanasiou’s backhand was snared by Wolves goaltender Taylor Dupuis.
Sudbury regained control of the game late in the first period, and Nicholas Baptiste converted a tic-tac-toe passing play to give the Wolves a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
“At the beginning of the game, we kind of said that (against) a struggling team like Sudbury, with a couple of guys out, we can’t let up, or else they’ll get a couple of goals lead,” O’Connor said.
“That’s exactly what happened to us.”
The Colts must have had a good talking-to during the first intermission, because they came out flying to begin the second.
Just 1:11 in, Steven Beyers won a draw and poked it over to Josh MacDonald, who ripped a shot off of the iron and in to decrease Barrie’s deficit to 2-1.
A few minutes later, the Colts got their first power play of the game and they controlled the puck for just over 90 seconds before Scheifele’s point shot was redirected by Camara through the legs of Dupuis, tying the contest.
“We haven’t really been getting off to great starts in the first period,” Camara said. “We dug a hole and had to try to come back.
“We stuck to our game plan and (started to) get pucks on net.”
The top line would strike again later in the period on a very well-timed effort.
Camara sent a pass through a tight area in to Athanasiou, who broke in on a 2-on-1 with Scheifele.
Athanasiou sent a cross-crease feed that Scheifele couldn’t handle, but the missed pass bounced off of the boards to O’Connor, who one-timed a shot past Dupuis on the short side, giving Barrie a 3-2 advantage after two periods.
“Those (forwards) have an incredible skill set,” O’Connor said. “They’re one of the best lines in the league and they can produce night-in, night-out.”
The last two markers, scored 9:32 apart, were the 50th career goals for both Camara and O’Connor.
“I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time, but it’s pretty cool,” Camara said.
But O’Connor wouldn’t hold steady at 50 for long.
After a faceoff win in the offensive zone, Tyson Fawcett sent the puck back to O’Connor, who took a shot that fluttered before hitting the crossbar and beating Dupuis to extend Barrie’s lead to 4-2.
O’Connor would get the hat trick just 1:43 later, when Athanasiou drew everyone toward him at the point before setting up his captain for a wide-open attempt.
The Colts mobbed O’Connor after the goal, and Camara retrieved the puck for the defenceman.
“It’s my last kick at the can in the OHL and to be able to get (the hat trick) here, it’s unbelievable,” O’Connor said.
His teammates were happy to see O’Connor finally get that third tally.
“He’s had a couple of times where he’s been at two goals and hasn’t gotten the hat trick,” Camara said. “It was pretty cool to see him get the third goal.”
Fotinos held the fort the rest of the way, looking confident in a 24-save performance.
“He’s been great for us,” O’Connor said. “He looks like a starter when he’s in there.
“This is a young guy who’s played really well for us, and you can’t ask anything else of him.”
Barrie’s next contest is at home on Saturday against the Kingston Frontenacs.
COLTS ON THE SCORE SHEET:
Ryan O’Connor: 3G, 1A (50th career goal, first career hat trick)
Steven Beyers: 3A
Anthony Camara: 1G, 1A (50th career goal)
Andreas Athanasiou: 2A
Josh MacDonald: 1G
Tyson Fawcett: 1A
Mark Scheifele: 1A
Alex Fotinos: 24 saves