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Barrie native Jacob Ingham could get the start Thursday night against Colts

By Stephen Sweet, Special to Postmedia Network

Mississauga Steelheads goalie Matthew Mancina makes a save on the Guelph Storm's Brock Philips during recent Ontario Hockey League action in Mississauga. Mancina was injured on the weekend against the Saginaw Spirit, meaning Barrie native Jacob Ingham could get the start on Thursday night against the Colts. GRAIG ABEL/GETTY IMAGES

Mississauga Steelheads goalie Matthew Mancina makes a save on the Guelph Storm's Brock Philips during recent Ontario Hockey League action in Mississauga. Mancina was injured on the weekend against the Saginaw Spirit, meaning Barrie native Jacob Ingham could get the start on Thursday night against the Colts. GRAIG ABEL/GETTY IMAGES

If you've got the firepower, you can blow them away.

When you don't, you have to spot your best opportunities to strike.

This year's Barrie Colts will be looking for another stealthy win on Thursday night when they host the Mississauga Steelheads.

Picked by many to finish first in the Eastern Conference, Mississauga has struggled at the outset of this season, dropping four of its opening five games.

Since then, the Steelheads have won three of their next four contests, and nearly erased a five-goal deficit in its only loss during that stretch.

But Mississauga will come into Barrie likely without the services of starting goalie Matthew Mancina, as the overager suffered an injury in Saturday's victory in Saginaw.

That means the Steelheads will come in with a rookie between the pipes – Barrie native Jacob Ingham, whose last start at the Barrie Molson Centre came a season ago as a member of the minor midget 'AAA' Colts.

While that likely means that Mississauga's impressive defence corps will step up, the chance is still very much there for Barrie to get two points against what's expected to be a top-end divisional rival.

The ability to take advantage of circumstance or otherwise has been a big factor for the Colts in many of their early season wins.

Barrie slipped past Kingston to open the year, facing a squad without the likes of point-per-game overager Warren Foegele or starting netminder Jeremy Helvig.

A couple of weeks later, the Colts caught the high-flying Kitchener Rangers taking a night off, and it was Barrie that moved furiously through the offensive zone, scoring six of the seven goals it has potted on home ice this season.

Even last weekend, after the Flint Firebirds were feeling good about hanging on to beat the Steelheads, the Colts waltzed in on Saturday night and came from behind to knock off the Michigan squad.

Barrie will be facing a Steelheads squad likely in the midst of change, but not all of the way there.

On Tuesday night, Mississauga traded Sean Day, who was an exceptional-rule draft pick just a few years ago, to Windsor in exchange for draft picks.

Those selections, combined with the ones that the Steelheads received for Kirill Nizhnikov, have given a team with championship aspirations a lot of ammo to go after some big names.

Once they do that, the Steelheads should be a very tough team to beat.

But on Thursday, they'll just be a team with their backup goalie in net and one that will be adjusting to losing one of their most experienced blueliners.

Again, a great opportunity is presenting itself for the Colts, who only have two games – both at home – this weekend.

Saturday's contest will see Barrie take on the Guelph Storm, a team that finished last a season ago but looks to be headed in the right direction.

Once again, it'll be another good chance for the Colts to knock down a team that hasn't completely reached where they ought to be this season.

If Barrie plays its cards right, it could have an undefeated week.

Now, it's time for the Colts to take advantage.

Stephen Sweet covers the Barrie Colts for the Examiner. Follow him at twitter.com/stephen_sweet.



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