Akey thrilled for return of Clarke to Colts lineup
The return of Brandt Clarke, and the acquisition of Braden Hache, are only positives in the mind of fellow Barrie Colts defenceman Beau Akey.
The 2023 NHL Draft prospect played alongside Clarke, the ninth selection by L.A. in 2021, but is energized by his reassigned to the Colts for the remainder of the season.
“I watch him a lot in practice,” Akey said. “Some of my vision has come from him. I think he sees the game as one of the best players in the world. It’s really nice to learn his perspective and how he sees those plays. I’ve taken a lot on the power play from him as he runs a really good power play.
“He won’t be here for long so I try to learn as much as I can.”
Of Akey’s 28 points this year, 13 have come via the man advantage. It’s Akey’s performance on the power play that has helped the Colts surge up the standings and to the third best man advantage unit in the OHL at 24.4 per cent.
“Our power play has been pretty hot,” Akey said. “It wasn’t very good at the start of the year but now we’re third in the league so it’s [improved] a lot. It gives us momentum in the game.”
Declan McDonnell puts it on a tee for Beau Akey and the 2023 #NHLDraft prospect wins it in overtime for the @OHLBarrieColts 🎥 pic.twitter.com/6MToB2s6R9
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) December 31, 2022
Over their last seven games, the Colts are 7-1-2 and have leaped into second place in the Central Division.
It comes after a sluggish start for the club that saw them begin the year 10-11-1 and included the trade of Hunter Haight (MIN) to Saginaw on Dec. 1.
However, with the team on the rise, general manager and head coach Marty Williamson started to make acquisitions. The club acquired Tyler Savard from the Greyhounds Jan. 3 and in addition to the reassignment of captain Clarke, Hache was acquired on OHL trade deadline day Tuesday for five draft picks.
“The team’s also way tighter [now],” Akey said as to what else has contributed to a season turnaround. “We’re comfortable. There are a few new guys in the room so it took a bit of time to adjust but we’re really close now.”
Akey himself has proven to an instrumental part of the Colts blue line and he’s doing it at a time when it matters most.
The Waterloo, Ont., native is one of 16 CHL players to hold a ‘Grade A’ rating by NHL Central Scouting that indicates he is a candidate to be selected in the first-round of the 2023 NHL Draft.
He was named to Team Red for the 2023 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game where he will play alongside Connor Bedard. He will oppose some familiar faces in Owen Sound’s Colby Barlow and Oshawa’s Cal Ritchie but will test himself against Sherbrooke’s Ethan Gauthier as well as Brandon’s Nate Danielson, Moose Jaw’s Brayden Yager and Prince George’s Koehn Ziemmer.
“I’m going to show I can defend these guys,” Akey said. “I’ve kind of mastered the key to defending some of these guys that I play against in the OHL so it will be nice to see some fresh faces and fresh one-on-ones in the Top Prospects Game.”
Akey and the Colts are in action Thursday night in the CHLTV Game of the Week when they host Flint at 7:30pm ET / 4:30pm PT.
Available to fans from coast to coast, CHL TV is accessible on the CHL mobile app, in addition to Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire, and online at watch.chl.ca. Each year, CHL TV offers access to more than 2,000 regular-season games covering the CHL’s three Member Leagues and 60 markets across Canada and the United States. Fans can download the free CHL app via the App Store and Google Play.