Today the Barrie Colts are in Niagara to face the IceDogs for the final meeting of the season. Niagara has the edge in the season series winning 3 of 5 meetings so far while outscoring the Colts 25-23 in those games. In the last meeting, Niagara won 6-5 in a game that was decided by special teams. Niagara was able to capitalize on 4 of 7 power play chances. Blackwood did not have his strongest night allowing 4 goals on 21 shots but that was not entirely his fault since the team was battling discipline problems (Yes, we realize that discipline has been an issue all season). Despite the loss it was still a strong night for point production. Joseph Blandisi assisted on 4 goals; Andrew Mangiapane got 1 goal and 2 helpers while Rasmus Andersson scored 2 and assisted on a Kevin Labanc goal.
Niagara is coming off of a big win at home over the Windsor Spitfires Sunday night by a score of 8-4. Anthony DiFruscia had a solid night for the Dogs with 3 goals and an assist on what would be the game winning goal. Niagara went 3 for 8 on the man advantage and managed to stay out of the box for most of the game. They were aggressive and getting pucks on net at all chances as you can tell by the 49 shots on goal they totaled. Niagara will be hungry tonight as they are still fighting to gain some ground in the East sitting only 3 points behind Ottawa for that 4th spot headed into playoffs. Though, a tough task, it is possible to get wins in all their remaining games which their 8-2-0-0 record in the last 10 games shows. No doubt they will be hungry tonight with hopes of putting themselves in a position for home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
Barrie is currently riding a 3 game win streak as they continue to battle for that second spot in the east and to clinch the Central division. They won 3-0 over Peterborough this past Saturday in a game where, first, are you sitting down? Okey, go sit I can wait.. Ready? Okay, the Colts got no penalties. Yeah. A possible sign of a team who realizes that they need to work on discipline or a team who is playing without their top penalized player? (Or a sign of the appocolypse?) Either way, they played a disciplined game which is strongly needed. Needing North Bay to lose to clinch first in the Central Division sounds nice but if the Colts can win their final 2 games, they wont need to depend on that.
Keys to Success: Keep the momentum from last game. Amazing how strong you can look when you don't spend a quarter of the game a man short. Stay out of the box, get pucks on net and play smart in their own end. They played a simple, yet smart game on Saturday and THAT is what they need to do heading into the playoffs.
Players to Watch: Joseph Blandisi has a point in every game in March and is currently riding a 8 game point streak with 5 goals and 8 assists on those games. Look for him to continue that streak tonight.
Puck drop is set for 7:00 tonight at the Meridian Centre in Niagara!
TEAMS TO WATCH: Ottawa 67's are playing the North Bay Battalion tonight. If Ottawa wins, Colts clinch the Central Division. While North Bay is obviously hungry for the win as they battle for first, Ottawa can tie North Bay for points with a win tonight and will place higher in the standings with more wins in regulation.. Though North Bay has won more games in the season series know that it was Ottawa won the last meeting. So Go Ottawa!