Barrie works over tired North Bay squad in 6-1 romp
Barrie's Giordano Finoro chases down a puck alongside North Bay forward Adam McMaster. Finoro would get the Colts on the board first in a big win. MARK WANZEL PHOTO
The Barrie Colts were facing a team not at their best.
They made sure to take advantage of the opportunity.
The Colts outplayed the North Bay Battalion from start to finish on Saturday, pummeling them 6-1.
“Obviously, it's not as hard to play against a (shorthanded) team, but we did a really good job of playing team hockey and passing the puck,” said Colts winger Kirill Nizhnikov. “No one was selfish today.
“We got a lot of opportunities and we scored on them.”
The first 20 minutes weren't pretty for either team.
But given the result, the Colts could probably deal with a less-than-perfect period.
Barrie opened the scoring on a play that began with a successful forecheck by Roy Radke to force a turnover at the blue line.
Radke got the puck to Giordano Finoro, who sent it over to Nizhnikov, and the rookie ripped it just wide of the net.
The puck bounced hard off of the glass and out the other way, where Finoro was waiting to bat it out of mid-air, giving the Colts a 1-0 lead.
At the other end, Barrie's defenders were having a rough time with some of North Bay's bigger players, with Kyle Potts and Justin Brazeau getting a couple of chances off of turnovers.
David Ovsjannikov turned aside all of the shots he faced in the first, and would be handed a 2-0 lead before the period was out thanks to a heads-up play by one of the Colts veterans.
Anthony Stefano got the puck at the side boards and had the presence of mind to wait for Lucas Chiodo to get in line with him before hitting the winger with a lead pass in stride.
From there, Chiodo snapped a shot past the blocker arm of Battalion starter Brent Moran to put Barrie ahead by a pair.
“When we keep scoring, we get pumped up and keep going and going,” Nizhnikov said.
With North Bay trailing by two and playing its third game in a row without enough skaters, it began to wilt in the second.
That allowed the Colts to build a lead not yet seen this season.
“They might say they were tired, but we were playing well,” Stefano said. “Maybe it was a tough one for them, but we played almost a 60-minute game and it shows you, when all four lines play the system, what can happen with the outcome.”
Much like the second goal, Stefano was able to set up Chiodo again, although this time he did so from the high slot.
Chiodo didn't get all of the one-timer, but he still put it past Moran on the short side.
“We've got some chemistry this year and we've played together for most of year,” Stefano said. “A lot of kudos have to go to (head coach) Dale (Hawerchuk) and the coaching staff, because they've really helped me with my patience and my deception, too.
“It helps a lot when you're able to make a guy go one way and then slide the puck the other way.”
Barrie's fourth goal looked a lot like its first one, proving that, on these boards, nothing is a fluke anymore.
After another attempt that went high and off the glass, the puck ricocheted in front for Kyle Heitzner.
The Orillia native made a deft move to get Moran to commit and then slipped the puck under the goalie's arm to make it 4-0 Barrie.
That would be it for Moran, as he was replaced by Julian Sime.
The new netminder would get a rude awakening, as Radke got a pass from Tom Hedberg and put it bar down, giving the Colts a 5-0 cushion, almost uncharted territory for the last-place club.
“Especially for a young team, it's good,” Stefano said. “The boys are having fun.
“When it's a tight game or you're down a couple of goals, the boys are on edge, so it's good to have a game like this to boost guys' confidence and to improve our mindset, too.”
Early in the third, some of the young stars were able to show off their skills.
Jason Willms fed Nizhnikov, who cut across the middle of the ice, drawing two defenders towards him.
That left Willms alone on the short side and Nizhnikov found him for the easy one-timer and a 6-0 Colts lead.
“I left Willms open because I brought all of the defencemen on me,” Nizhnikov said. “I knew he was going to be open and so I found him on the back-door pass.”
Barrie would not earn its first shutout of the season, as, on a North Bay power play, Justin Brazeau set up Brett McKenzie in front of the net and the veteran beat Ovsjannikov to the far corner.
“I don't think we played so well in the third period,” Nizhnikov said. “I think we always can play better and we can't be (happy) with good enough.”
The Colts will finish off their weekend Monday in Kingston against the Frontenacs.
COLTS ON THE SCORE SHEET:
Lucas Chiodo: 2G
Joey Keane: 2A
Anthony Stefano: 2A
Kirill Nizhnikov: 2A
Giordano Finoro: 1G
Jason Willms: 1G
Roy Radke: 1G
Kyle Heitzner: 1G
Curtis Douglas: 1A
Roy Radke: 1A
Tom Hedberg: 1A
David Ovsjannikov: 20 saves