Barrie falls 3-2 to North Bay, series now tied 1-1
Article courtesy of www.thebarrieexaminer.com
Once again, there wasn’t much to separate these two teams.
But on Sunday, it was the North Bay Battalion’s skilled star that turned the tide.
Nick Paul scored a brilliant game-winning goal while shorthanded in the third period as the Battalion defeated the Barrie Colts 3-2.
“That’s the player I’ve been trying to show (the) Ottawa (Senators) and coach Stan (Butler) that I am,” Paul said. “When the game gets tough, he can put me out there and feel confident about it.
“I want to be that guy, the go-to guy that they can count on to score big goals, and tonight happened to be one of those nights.”
The North Bay victory ties the series 1-1 as the two teams head north for the next couple of games.
“I think we just cut down on our mistakes a little more, and everything we did was a little bit harder, whether it was finishing hits, forechecking, anything like that,” Paul said. “We were a little more confident tonight as a team, came together, and pulled out a win.”
As is often the case with their contrasting styles, the team that scores first typically dictates the play from there on out.
On Sunday, that was the Battalion.
During a first-period power play, Mike Amadio corralled the puck behind the goal line and sent a pass back to Kyle Wood, who was standing at the top of the left circle.
From there, Wood blasted a shot beyond the glove hand of Colts starter Mackenzie Blackwood to make it 1-0 North Bay.
“Getting the first goal is good, and getting the momentum right away is good,” Paul said.
The Battalion had given up 27 shots in the first two periods of Game 1 and were looking to crack down on things.
North Bay clogged up the neutral zone and ‘Royal Road’, keeping Barrie away from prime scoring opportunities.
At times, the Colts attempted to force things, which usually just led to turnovers or extended time in their own zone.
Ray Huether was a beneficiary of that, sucking two players into the corner with him before beating them both and carrying the puck right across the edge of the crease, sticking the puck beyond Blackwood’s reach in the far corner.
“I think we came out a bit slow there, and that’s what happens when you don’t play a full 60 minutes,” said Colts centre Cordell James. “If we’re going to beat them, we have to play a full 60.”
That put the Colts behind 2-0 after a period, as they struggled to do anything while playing 5-on-5 hockey.
Fortunately for Barrie, the second period began with the teams playing 4-on-4.
Barrie’s speed began to shine, as Joseph Blandisi raced in with Brendan Lemieux on a 2-on-1 just over a minute into the second.
Lemieux’s initial attempt was stopped by North Bay goalie Jake Smith, but the Winnipeg Jets prospect recovered the rebound, and from behind the netminder, he sent the puck back into the crease, where it went off of Wood’s skate and in.
That goal gave the Colts some life, as they started to break through North Bay’s structure with speed.
Matthew Kreis tried to set Roy Radke up on the rush but they were denied.
Kreis would continue to follow the play, and after getting a pass from James, he sent a picture-perfect feed to Radke, who blasted one past Smith on the far side to tie the game at 2-2.