Theoret's hat trick propels Barrie to 4-1 win over Oshawa, takes 2-0 series lead
Barrie Colts forward Tyson Fawcett and Simon Karlsson of the Oshawa Generals crash into the boards during a hard-hitting first period at the Barrie Molson Centre, Friday night during Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Colts lead the best-of-seven series, 1-0. J.T. MCVEIGH BARRIE EXAMINER
It was fast and furious.
And that suited the Barrie Colts just fine.
The Colts came out with a complete effort in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal and knocked off the Oshawa Generals 4-1 on Friday.
"We just wanted to put a consistent 60 minutes in," said Colts forward Mitchell Theoret. "I think we played a solid game from top to bottom."
After getting by with a win despite being outplayed in much of Game 1, the Colts came out hard and were the better team, allowing them to pull out to a 2-0 series lead.
The first period looked like what you would expect from a Colts-Generals playoff game.
There was lots of hitting, plenty of flow and some nice scoring chances.
But Oshawa starter Daniel Altshuller and Barrie goalie Mathias Niederberger were on their game, keeping things scoreless after 20 minutes.
Niederberger was sharp on Oshawa's first power play, moving side to side with ease to stop a one-timed attempt.
At the other end, Altshuller stopped Anthony Camara in alone and then, while killing a penalty, made a desperation glove save on Aaron Ekblad.
That play led to an Oshawa breakaway, but Niederberger would not be fooled by Lucas Lessio's deke.
"He's the backbone of this team for sure," Theoret said. "When he comes to play every night, it's not hard for guys to follow suit.
"The effort he puts forth every night is incredible."
Both goaltenders continued their hot play into the second, keeping the game scoreless through its first half.
But a furious sequence of events would see the Colts pull ahead, albeit not initially.
Camara made a slick move to get around a defender and tried to slip the puck past Altshuller short side, but the Oshawa goalie stretched out and made the stop.
But Camara was pushed through the crease, and although no significant contact was made, he was whistled for goaltender interference.
Things were briefly evened out when Lessio went off for slashing, but Boone Jenner still gave his team a good scoring opportunity as he went to the net.
As he was denied, Jenner lost his balance and crashed into Niederberger, landing on him.
With the Oshawa captain having not moved off of the goalie, Jonathan Laser attempted briefly to lift him from on top of Niederberger.
For those efforts, Laser was given a roughing penalty.
Oshawa would capitalize with a little more open ice, as Ekblad gave away a puck to Scott Laughton in front of the goal.
Laughton would not miss, snapping one past Niederberger to give Oshawa a 1-0 lead.
"They got the one shift where we had a bad break, but it just opened it up for us," said Colts forward Andreas Athanasiou.
"We realized that we had to step it up and we did it on the next shift."
But the unperturbed Colts would even up the contest shortly after.
Athanasiou found Theoret on the left side, where the recent acquisition's first shot was blocked.
But Theoret, who moved down to the second line with the return of Camara, gathered his own rebound, and with Altshuller already committed, blasted one into the open cage to tie the game.
"I think we're just starting to gel well together," Theoret said. "We're starting to practice more and get a few games under our belts, and the chemistry is building."
The Colts would catch their own break shortly after to take the lead.
Athanasiou came in on a 1-on-2 and went down as both defencemen converged on him.
From his knees, he whipped a feed that may well have been a hand pass to Theoret, who stepped in and wired one past Altshuller to give Barrie a 2-1 lead.
"I think we took our energy (from what happened in that sequence) and took it out in our play," Athanasiou said.
Athanasiou would get his own goal soon after thanks to the efforts of Erik Bradford.
After the centreman's first chance was stopped, Bradford intercepted Altshuller's lazy attempt to clear the puck and found Athanasiou, who went around two defencemen before scoring to make it 3-1 Barrie.
That scoreline held well into the third period as both goalies continued to play an excellent game.
But one rough play threatened to mar the whole evening.
With Zach Hall attempting to play the puck in front of the boards, Laughton came in from behind and flattened him.
Laughton's cross-check earned him a major penalty, but not a game misconduct.
"It's playoffs, and some people are going to do some stupid things," Athanasiou said. "I think it's just how we react to them that will be the payoff."
The Colts finished the game on an extended power play, and after the Generals pulled the goalie, Theoret completed the hat trick into the empty net.
Barrie now carries its 2-0 series lead into Oshawa for Game 3 on Sunday at 6:05 p.m.
"I don't think we have to change anything," Athanasiou said. "We just need to stick to our gameplan, and if we can score early, we can get their crowd out of it."
Goal-a-game Scheifele: Colts centre Mark Scheifele came into Friday on a five-game scoring streak in the post-season, having potted one goal in each game so far. He entered Friday with five goals and seven assists in five contests.
Nice work, coach: Generals head coach D.J. Smith was given a three-year contract extension recently. In the brief time he has been coaching Oshawa, he has amassed a record well above .500.
Not dressed for tonight’s game: Barrie was without the services of Ryan O’Connor (suspension), Devon Rymarchuk, C.J. Garcia and Justin Scott. Oshawa did not dress Adam Lloyd, Trevor Morbeck, Will Petschenig and Hunter Smith.
Simcoe County sniper: Barrie native Bradley Latour came into Friday second on Oshawa in goals with four. Latour added to his totals on Wednesday, registering a short-handed marker. Two of Latour's goals in the first round were game winners.
COLTS ON THE SCORE SHEET:
Mitchell Theoret: 3G
Andreas Athanasiou: 1G, 2A
Aaron Ekblad: 1A
Steven Beyers: 1A
Erik Bradford: 1A
Mark Scheifele: 1A
Michael Webster: 1A
Mathias Niederberger: 27 saves
How the second round shapes up:
Game 1 - Oshawa 3 @ Barrie 4 (O/T)
Game 2 – Oshawa 1 @ Barrie 4
Game 3 – Barrie @ Oshawa, Sunday, April 7, 6:05 p.m.
Game 4 – Barrie @ Oshawa, Tuesday, April 9, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5 – Oshawa @ Barrie, Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Barrie @ Oshawa, Sunday, April 14, 6:05 p.m.
Game 7 – Oshawa @ Barrie, Monday, April 15, 7:30 p.m.