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Recap: Colts @ Generals Jan. 22/12

The Oshawa Generals played host to the Barrie Colts on Sunday evening, looking to build on momentum created by a big 11-3 win over Kingston a night before. The Guelph Storm also come into the game on a high note, defeating Guelph on Saturday at home. With Alex Fotinos out of the lineup, the Colts would start Mathias Niederberger in goal, while Oshawa countered with Kevin Bailie, who was solid for them in Saturday’s win.

For two teams meeting for the first time this season, it didn’t take long for the animosity to show between the clubs, as Andy Andreoff and Anthony Camara would drop the mitts just nine seconds in for a spirited tussle. Bodies would clash together throughout much of the opening frame, as neither team shied away from any opportunities to finish their checks. Midway through the period, the game would see its second fight, when Emerson Clark and Norm Ezekiel went at it right off the draw.

Despite the physical play, the Colts would find take the majority of the play in the first period, evidenced by a 13-5 edge in shots over the opening twenty, but were unable to capitalize as the teams would go to the intermission scoreless. The start of the second would be no better for the Generals, as a pair of penalties in the first 63 seconds of the period would put them down two men. During the advantage, it would fall to Kevin Bailie to keep the game knotted at zeros, sliding across the net to make an unbelievable toe save on Mark Scheifele. The chance was Barrie’s best during the advantage, as the Gens would kill both penalties off.

If the first period belonged to Barrie, the second was Oshawa’s, as they seemed to find another gear midway through the game. Much of the period would be played in Barrie’s end, and Niederberger would be called on to make some key saves to keep the game scoreless through two periods. The Generals would outshoot the Colts 12-9 in the middle stanza, though Barrie would lead the shot clock after 40 minutes by a count of 32-27.

In the third, Oshawa would continue the pressure they generated in the second, and would finally be rewarded for their persistence with a lucky bounce. The play started on a rush led by Andreoff, who would drive to the net, taking a defender with him. Christian Thomas would trail behind with the puck, and throw a shot at the Barrie net that would strike Andreoff’s skate and deflect between the legs of Niederberger. The goal finally gave a large crowd of 4,900 at the General Motors Centre something to cheer about, and their support would help buoy their squad as the Colts sent wave after wave into the Oshawa end, looking for the equalizer. Bailie would be up to the task on each occasion, turning aside a number of chances to retain the lead.

With little over seven minutes remaining, the Generals would earn a big insurance goal, when Scott Laughton would go to the net with his stick on the ice, taking a feed from Andreoff and snapping it past Niederberger. The two goal lead would be more than Oshawa would need on this night, as any thoughts of a comeback by Barrie would be thwarted by Bailie, who stopped all 39 shots he would face in earning his first shutout of the season, as well as the game’s first star.

Andreoff would cap off an impressive night late in the game, scoring into the empty net with 0.9 seconds left on the clock to make the final score Oshawa 3, Barrie 0. With two goals and an assist, Andreoff would be named the game’s second star, while Barrie’s Niederberger was honoured with the third star selection for keeping his team in the game.

The win by Oshawa, coupled with Kingston’s victory in Belleville on Sunday afternoon, would vault the Generals into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Bulls, who hold a game in hand. With the loss, Barrie remains in fifth in the conference with 51 points. The schedule gets no easier for Barrie, as they return home for their next game on Thursday evening, against the high-flying Plymouth Whalers. The Generals are off now until Friday night, when they play in Kingston.

For OHL news and thoughts, be sure to follow me on Twitter, @N24Nichoson.

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