Barrie scores six, Lazarev gets second straight shutout in 6-0 win
Barrie Colts goalie Leo Lazarev prepares to snatch a rebound away from Hamilton Bulldog centre Connor McMichael during second period Ontario Hockey League action at the Barrie Molson Centre Thursday night. IAN MCINROY/BARRIE EXAMINER/POSTMEDIA
Two defencemen down, the Barrie Colts had to dig deep.
With Justin Murray and Chris Cameron having been ejected from the game in the first period, the remaining four blueliners had their hands full.
But with some help in the form of a half-dozen goals and 37 stops from Leo Lazarev, the Colts would blank the Hamilton Bulldogs 6-0 on Thursday.
“We were playing well defensively, getting pucks out on the walls, and our forwards were doing a great job,” said Colts defenceman Mathew Hill. “It was a little tougher with two guys getting kicked out, but we played well defensively.”
The Colts were all about quality, not quantity, in their first-period chances.
A good forecheck finally saw Barrie get the puck back to Tyler Tucker, and his play down low was deflected across the crease by Aidan Brown.
The puck landed at the feet of Luke Bignell, and he knocked home the chance to give the Colts a 1-0 lead.
Barrie doubled its advantage off of a lost faceoff, when Alexei Lipanov and Ryan Suzuki pressured a Hamilton defender behind its net.
The turnover led to a pair of quick passes, first from the former to the latter, and then Suzuki got it out in front of the net to Zach Magwood, who rifled a shot past Hamilton starter Kaden Fulcher.
Lazarev saw plenty of work in the Barrie net, but he was sharp, making 14 saves in the first period.
Barrie also had to kill a seven-minute penalty, as Murray was engaged by Matthew Strome, who would later refuse to drop the gloves, turtling after the Colts captain threw a punch.
As Murray was being led off the ice, Justin Lemcke came from the Hamilton bench to challenge him, and Cameron stepped in for his fellow defenceman, who was wrapped up at the time, to fight the Bulldogs captain.
All three were ejected, dropping Barrie to just four blueliners for the last two periods, meaning that the 16-year old Hill played every second shift for the rest of the game.
“The last time I did that was my last game of minor midget, when we were in the OHL Cup,” Hill said.
The Colts would come out strong in the second, being aided by an early power play.
Tucker would send a pass along the left side for Magwood, who ripped a shot over Fulcher’s shoulder and in, extending the advantage to 3-0.
Barrie couldn’t increase its lead from there in the second, but it had taken over control of the game.
“We really didn’t want to lose another player, given that we had two guys out,” Hill said. “It was tough to try and stay focused and not get in more fights.”
At the other end, Lazarev was doing his part, stretching out to deny Strome on a deke with a fine pad save.
“He’s playing really well,” Hill said. “He’s been on a hot streak, so let’s hope he keeps it up against Mississauga Saturday.”
Barrie would add to its lead in the third period by going to the front of the net.
Jack Hanley tried to clear the puck right up the middle, and it deflected off of Curtis Douglas’s skate and in to make it 4-0.
Just 26 seconds later, Jason Willms forced a turnover at the Barrie blue line and went the distance, sliding a puck through the legs of Fulcher to increase the lead to 5-0.
With Lazarev’s second-consecutive shutout all but locked up, Hill go t in the act, firing home a point shot with just 4.8 seconds to go for his first-career Ontario Hockey League goal.
“It’s a bit surreal, but it’s really exciting,” Hill said. “The puck came off the wall and I tried to put it towards the net and hoped, and it somehow found a hole and went in.”
Barrie’s next contest is at home on Saturday against the Mississauga Steelheads.
COLTS ON THE SCORE SHEET:
Zach Magwood: 2G
Curtis Douglas: 1G, 1A
Tyler Tucker: 2A
Mathew Hill: 1G (first-career OHL goal)
Jason Willms: 1G
Luke Bignell: 1G
Lucas Chiodo: 1A
Jaden Peca: 1A
Alexey Lipanov: 1A
Aidan Brown: 1A
Ryan Suzuki: 1A
Leo Lazarev: 37 saves, second-straight shutout