Sports

Barrie falls 2-1 to Hamilton in shootout loss

By Stephen Sweet, Special to Postmedia Network

Jason Willms of the Barrie Colts eyes a deflection off of Hamilton Bulldogs goaltender Kaden Fulcher during a failed attempt by Barrie to score during a two-man advantage in the second period of their OHL battle at the Barrie Molson Centre on Saturday, September 30th, 2017. KEVIN LAMB/PHOTO

Jason Willms of the Barrie Colts eyes a deflection off of Hamilton Bulldogs goaltender Kaden Fulcher during a failed attempt by Barrie to score during a two-man advantage in the second period of their OHL battle at the Barrie Molson Centre on Saturday, September 30th, 2017. KEVIN LAMB/PHOTO

 

There were points where the Barrie Colts gave up too many chances, and others where they had plenty of their own.

 

Neither resulted in more than a goal.

 

An uneven game at times would be decided in a shootout, where the Hamilton Bulldogs won both the skills competition and the game, 2-1, on Saturday night.

 

“I think at the start, we were just okay,” said Colts defenceman Joey Keane. “By the third, we had lots of chances, and definitely could have won it, but we didn't get the bounces.

 

“It went to a shootout, and didn't end up working out in our favour.”

 

With Barrie playing its third game in as many nights, it was a slow start for the Colts.

 

Hamilton kept more of the pressure in the Barrie end early on, but Colts goalie Christian Propp looked sharp, stopping an Owen Burnell tip before denying a Connor Walters point shot through traffic.

 

“In the third game, everyone's a little tired,” Keane said. “You just try and play simple, not too fancy, and get shots on net.”

 

The Colts would take the lead on a heads-up play that began in the neutral zone.

 

Hamilton looked to move the puck up the ice, but its pass was cut off by Keane, who used his body to get in front of the Bulldogs winger and knock it forward to his own one, Lucas Chiodo.

 

The veteran Colt came in on an odd-man rush and slipped the puck over to Andrei Svechnikov, who made one quick move before roofing it into the top corner, putting Barrie up 1-0 after a period.

 

“I saw it coming and saw an opportunity to jump it, so I did,” Keane said. “It ended up working out.”

 

Early in the second, the Colts looked sloppy in their own zone, struggling on the breakout and sending errant passes.

 

That led to a couple of Hamilton chances, with Burnell cutting across the crease alone on the best one, but Propp extended his glove hand out and made an incredible catch.

 

“I thought Propp was great tonight,” Keane said. “He really helped us a lot in a lot of situations.

 

“He played the puck well and talked to us on defence, and I thought he had a great game.”

 

Propp's great play couldn't atone for all of Barrie's defensive sins, though, as Will Bitten beat a dump-in and created an odd-man opportunity, with just one Colts blueliner back.

 

Bitten waited for the Colt to bite before sliding the puck in front for Matthew Strome, who ripped it through Propp's five-hole to tie the game at 1-1.

 

The Colts were at least creating some chances with their occasionally fast-and-loose play, with the top line nearly completing a tic-tac-toe pass to an empty net, but it was just out of the reach of Alexey Lipanov.

 

With the game all square going into the third, the Colts would start to push more offensively, forcing Hamilton into turnovers.

 

“We were trying to play simple, get pucks up to our forwards as fast as we could, and let them do the work down low,” Keane said.

 

Chiodo picked off a clearing attempt before it could leave the zone and two passes later, Bulldogs starter Kaden Fulcher had to be sharp to make a big stop on Ben Hawerchuk.

 

Moments later, Luke Bignell cut across the crease, but Fulcher reached out with his right pad to deny the Barrie rookie.

 

The Colts nearly pulled ahead on the power play when Lipanov got a feed from Svechnikov and had an open cage to shoot at, but his blast went over the goal.

 

Barrie couldn't pull the trigger in regulation, and the game would go to overtime.

 

Propp stood tall on a pair of quality chances from Hamilton's Marian Studenic, and that sent the game to a shootout.

 

Three of the first four shooters would score, as, after Lipanov's miss, Arthur Kaliyev, Svechnikov and Bitten all found the back of the net.

 

That would require Chiodo to score in order to keep the alive for Barrie, and he couldn't, hitting the post behind Fulcher.

 

Barrie's next contest is at home on Thursday against North Bay.

 

Twitter.com/stephen_sweet

 

COLTS ON THE SCORE SHEET:

Andrei Svechnikov: 1G

Joey Keane: 1A

Lucas Chiodo: 1A

Christian Propp: 27 saves