Colts Down IceDogs in Central Division Matchup
The Colts played their second game of a back-to-back Saturday Night as they hosted their Central Division rival Niagara Ice Dogs. The Colts and Ice Dogs came into tonight’s game separated by just a mere 4 points as Barrie sits atop the Central and 2nd in the Eastern Conference while Niagara sits 2nd in the Central and 3rd in the East.
The two teams last played on December 28th in a game that saw Kevin Labanc tied it up at 4-4 with 51 seconds before Andrew Mangiapane would net the lone shootout winner to give the Colts a 5-4 win.
Tonight’s game would also mark the return of Mackenzie Blackwood between the pipes as he finished serving his 5 game suspension.
Niagara controlled the majority of the period after killing off a Stephen Harper goaltender interference penalty two minutes into the contest. The Colts would then be called for three consecutive penalties, handing the Ice Dogs with some great scoring opportunities. However, they would not get one by Mackenzie Blackwood who’s strong play negated any scepticism of potential rust. Both Blackwood and Niagara starting goalie Alex Nedeljkovic would be perfect in the period as the game was scoreless heading into the second. Shots in the first would be 13-9 Ice Dogs.
Just two minutes into the second, Josh Ho-Sang would be rewarded with a penalty after being hauled down on a breakaway. Ho-Sang would come in on Blackwood where his backhand would find the top corner, giving Niagara the 1-0 lead. The goal would be Ho-Sang’s 15th of the year and his team leading 57th point.
The Ice Dogs’ would make it 2-0 just 1:11 after Ho-Sang. Following a Cameron Lizotte tripping infraction, Niagara would capitalize as Johnny Corneil would deflect a point shot past Blackwood. The goal was Corneil’s 12th on the season as Stephen Harper and Ho-Sang would be credited with the assists.
Identical to last night’s game in Oshawa, Barrie would be forced to overcome a two goal deficit. They would cut it to 2-1 at the 11 minute mark of the period as Julius Nattinen would score his 12th goal of the year on the man advantage. As an Ice Dogs’ defender try to wrap the puck around the boards, it would take a fortuitous bounce and land on the stick of Nattinen who was in perfectly place in the slot where he rifled a slapshot over Nedeljkovic’s glove.
The Colts seemed destined to trail going into the third for the second straight game. However, they would tie it up with 7 seconds left in the period as Rasmus Andersson would set up Roy Radke with a beautiful cross crease pass as Radke finished off the one-timer. The goal would be Radke’s 16th of the season as Andersson would record the lone assist as Barrie and Niagara would enter the third tied at 2-2.
Both teams would come out of the gates flying with the hopes getting the go ahead goal. Despite some good chances by each team, Mackenzie Blackwood and Alex Nedeljkovic would turn aside everything that came their way to keep it tied. It would be Nedeljkovic that would crack first as the Colts would take the lead at the 13 minute mark of the frame. After Pavel Jenys was called for high sticking, the Colts would only need 23 seconds of the powerplay as Dylan Sadowy would deflect Michael Webster’s shot up over Nedeljkovic to give Barrie their first lead of the game. The goal was Sadowy’s 31st of the year, now 102nd on the season, with Webster and Nattinen receiving assists on the tally.
With the goal, Sadowy now has 11 goals in 8 games with the Colts. With goals in 7 consecutive games, Sadowy ties Kevin Labanc and London’s Mitch Marner for the longest streak of consecutive games with a goal.
The Ice Dogs would look to find the equalizer but Mackenzie Blackwood would shut the door on any hope of a Niagara comeback as he stopped 32 of 34 shots to preserve a 3-2 Colts victory and his 19th win of the season. Rasmus Andersson and Julius Nattinen would extend their point streaks to 5 and 6 games respectively while Andrew Mangiapane failed to get on the scoresheet, ending his point streak at 13 games.
With the win, the Colts now still six point ahead of Niagara and North Bay for both the Central Division lead as well as the 2nd spot in the Eastern Conference where they sit three points back of Kingston for the top spot. The Colts next home game will take place on February 4th when they square off against the Oshawa Generals. Get your tickets now by visiting BMC Box Office or visiting www.ticketbreak.com