Colts shut down Attack
Article courtesy of www.thebarrieexaminer.com
There’s never much room to breathe when the Highway 26 rivals meet.
But the Barrie Colts got the space they needed for an important win.
Barrie scored a power play, shorthanded and even-strength goal in the second period to push the Colts past the Owen Sound Attack, 3-2, on Thursday night.
“We knew, coming into it, that these next couple of games would be really important to lock up second (place in the Eastern Conference),” said Colts forward Andrew Mangiapane. “We all just practised hard and were ready for the game.
“We did all of the little things we needed to and that’s how we got the win.”
The Colts and Attack have plenty to play for in the penultimate week of the season, and both kept their cards close to the vest in the first.
Barrie native Zach Nastasiuk nearly got the Attack on the board first, when he took a pass from Petrus Palmu and beat Colts starter Mackenzie Blackwood through the five-hole.
The puck would get between the pads, but ran out of gas around the moment that a Colts defender got to it.
However, the goal light did go on, prompting a brief video review to confirm, as the referee had ruled on the ice, that the puck didn’t cross the line.
“They’re a good, strong team and they’re strong defensively, so it can be hard to get some goals against them,” Mangiapane said. “With those kinds of teams, we just have to try and go out there and play our game.”
It took some special teams play to get both teams on the board in the second.
Joseph Blandisi was called for roughing after the whistle and Kevin Labanc received a double minor for spearing, giving Owen Sound a full two minutes on a 5-on-3.
Nastasiuk blasted a puck from the slot that rang off of the post, hit the back of Blackwood, and crossed the line, giving the Attack a 1-0 lead.
But Barrie would even things up on a man advantage of its own later in the period.
Garrett Hooey’s first chance in front of the goal was denied, but he would wisely spot Labanc at the left side of the net and feed him, allowing the American winger to beat the outstretched arm of Flinn.
“We just kept things simple,” Blackwood said. “Sometimes, we try and get too fancy and it costs us, but we played good overall here.”
The Colts would find themselves killing a penalty shortly after, and they would take that opportunity to completely grab the game’s momentum.
Kyle Platzer, Nastasiuk and Palmu attempted to finish a tic-tac-toe play, but Blackwood made an excellent left pad save to deny the quality attempt.
“It gives me and my team confidence,” Blackwood said. “The team feeds off of you when you make a big save and vice versa.
“Everyone feeds off of each other and that’s what it takes to be a winning team.”
From there, the Colts would clear the puck, and later in the shift, Mangiapane, while being taken down in the corner, sent a pass in front of the net to Blandisi.
The Colts captain went high glove to give Barrie a 2-1 lead and pick up his 49th marker of the year, tying Andreas Athanasiou for the second-most goals in a season in franchise history.
“I got knocked down and was trying to get the puck in front to do something,” Mangiapane said. “I knew that Joe was in the high slot and I knew he’d be out there.
“I just threw it into that area and it wound up on his stick.”
That nifty assist by Mangiapane gave him 100 points on the year, joining Blandisi and Labanc in triple digits.
“It’s definitely an accomplishment that I was hoping to get coming into the season, but I couldn’t have done it without my whole team backing me up there,” Mangiapane said. “I can’t thank them enough.”