Three goals in the first and third propelled Barrie to 6-2 win over Kingston
The Barrie Colts were looking to get off on the right foot.
And after a lacklustre opening period on Thursday, the Colts didn’t waste any time on Saturday.
Barrie scored three times in the first and never looked back, as it trounced the Kingston Frontenacs 6-2 at home.
“We know we have to play a full 60 minutes here,” said Colts forward Andreas Athanasiou. “This was their three-in-three coming in here, and we knew they were going to be tired.
“We went out and took advantage of that.”
Just 19 seconds in, Athanasiou dropped a pass to Ryan O’Connor, who had all day to shoot.
The veteran defenceman wristed one over the glove of Kingston starter Colin Furlong to give the Colts a 1-0 lead and made it four straight goals for O’Connor.
Barrie doubled its lead after a great play along the boards by Tyson Fawcett.
The rookie forward timed his forecheck perfectly, knocking the puck off of the Kingston winger before sending a pass across the ice to Steven Beyers, who one-timed a high shot past Furlong.
Kingston had a couple of opportunities, but most of the early chances, coming on a pair of man advantages, were from the perimeter and didn’t really test Colts goaltender Mathias Niederberger.
Barrie was able to make better use of its power play, and after O’Connor made a smart move to draw Frontenacs forward Samuel Schutt towards him, the defenceman sent a pass over to Anthony Camara, and his attempt was redirected in by Athanasiou.
Even though the shots were even at 11-11, the Colts had created the better chances, leading them to a 3-0 advantage after the first period.
After a rough start, Furlong was replaced by Mike Morrison to begin the second, and the overager provided a steadying presence between the pipes.
A great one-timer by Camara at the side of the goal was stymied by Morrison, who extended across to deny him on the power play.
It took the Frontenacs just over nine minutes to register their first shot of the second period, but they would start to build some momentum before the frame was out.
Kingston still couldn’t beat Niederberger, who looked sharp in his first action of the week, which meant that the score didn’t change after 40 minutes.
“He’s great between the pipes,” said Colts forward Brendan Perlini. “He held us in there a couple of times in the game and he’s been great all season.”
But the Frontenacs would continue to press in the third, and got on the board when Cody Alcock went wide on O’Connor and fired a pass to the right corner of the goal, where rookie Roland McKeown deflected it in.
Barrie would respond quickly on a man advantage, when O’Connor’s play in front was redirected in by Camara to give the Colts a 4-1 lead.
“We have the capability to do anything,” Athanasiou said. “When they score, we have to get back the momentum and not let them do anything.
“The bounces went today, and it all went well.”
The advantage was extended when Athanasiou came up with a fantastic solo effort.
After outmuscling Warren Steele on the boards to win the puck, Athanasiou deftly deked around one defender before striding to the top of the slot, where he ripped an attempt over the glove hand of Morrison to make it 5-1 for Barrie.
“He’s a world-class player, and he scores goals like that every night, so I’m not too surprised about it,” Perlini said.
Barrie’s sixth goal of the night was one of the most rewarding, especially for its first-round pick.
Playing 4-on-4 hockey alongside Mark Scheifele, Perlini kept the puck alive in the zone and went to the side of the net.
When Morrison couldn’t cover Alex Yuill’s point shot, Scheifele fired a pass through the blue paint to Perlini, who one-timed home his first-career OHL goal.
“Scheif kind of came out with it and put it across the crease, so all I had to do was tap it in,” Perlini said.
Athanasiou went and grabbed the puck for the rookie, who had to feel relieved to finally get his first goal.
“Oh yeah, for sure,” Perlini said. “I couldn’t get a smile off of my face for the rest of the period.”
Henri Ikonen’s late marker did nothing to dampen the mood for the Colts, who have now won four of their last five games.
The top line of Camara, Scheifele and Athanasiou remained dominant, although two-thirds of that unit will be in Calgary next week, attempting to make Team Canada at the National Team Selection Camp.
“We’ve got the speed, the skill, and the size there with all three players,” Athanasiou said. “I think every shift we had a chance to score.
“I like that line and I’m going to miss them when they’re gone.”
Barrie’s next contest is Thursday night, when it hosts the Oshawa Generals.
COLTS ON THE SCORE SHEET:
Andreas Athanasiou: 2G, 1A
Ryan O’Connor: 1G, 2A (now has 12 goals in his past 13 games)
Anthony Camara: 1G, 2A
Alex Yuill: 2A
Steven Beyers: 1G
Brendan Perlini: 1G (first career OHL goal)
Tyson Fawcett: 1A
Mathias Niederberger: 29 saves