Barrie is trailing in the best of 7 series against North Bay 2-1. Seems like a pretty realistic possibility that the Colts can claw (or hoof, do people say that?) their way back into this series, right?
The Colts won game 1 on home ice and it looked like Barrie had the ideal start to what was expected to be a long and hard fought series.
Than, the Colts lost the second game on home ice. Not exactly how you were hoping things would go. I mean, they say you can't lose a series until you lose on home ice, and there we were at game 2 and already dropped a home game.
NOT TERRIBLE, since the series could be evened out with at least one win over the next two games in North Bay.
Well, last night was the first game and the Colts were beaten pretty hard.. I mean, they really didn't look good at all.
You know that expression about "beating a dead horse"; Well, North Bay was all about that last night.
By the way, North Bay fans were really loud if you didn't notice.
So, where is Barrie going wrong?
Fans were pretty excited heading into this series because we got Brendan Lemieux back. And for the most part he has contributed nicely on the score board. In the 3 games he has contributed 2 points. Not terrible.
However, it wasn't just a matter of getting a star player back. Getting Lemieux meant that we had our top power play unit back! After all, Lemiex scored 25 power play goals this season in 57 games played. And with the special team problems the Colts have (and by that we mean they get SO many penalties) getting the leagues top power play scorer back could only benefit the team, right?
Wrong. The Colts have scored 1 power play goal on 11 chances with the man advantage compared the North Bay going 4 for 14 with the man advantage. That doesn't look like a huge difference, does it? Well it is a huge difference. Also, has anyone noticed the amount of times Barrie has had the man advantage and taken a bad penalty?
Why would the Colts be taking penalties with the man advantage?
Confidence is my guess. The Colts have had no confidence on the power play all series. Can you blame them? On 11 chances with the man advantage they have only scored 1 time. And what is even more disheartening than that is when you consider they have allowed 2 short handed goals in those chances. One of which was the game winning goal for North Bay by Nick Paul in Game 2.
Shake up the line! I would like to see Garrett Hooey get more chances on that top power play unit. When he was filling in for Lemieux in the first round against Belleville it seemed every chance he was making things happen. Maybe not goals every time, but chances were there. They were also generating more traffic in front of the net, not taking penalties and getting pucks towards the goal which is something that they have had troubles with in this round. Which brings us on to the next issue..
Shots on Goal.
Are you siting down? Okay sit, I will wait a second. You ready?
North Bay has out shot Barrie 110-70. In game 3 alone the Colts were out shot 40-15. Yep. North Bay registered more shots in each of the first 2 periods of the game than Barrie did all game. I am not going to question your intelligence by saying that this is bad but I will say it needs to be fixed.
Mackenzie Blackwood has been INCREDIBLE. He is the only reason we are in this series. He has not only been solid and reliable but he has made huge saves in key moments.
Can't really blame it on the difference in special teams only because the Colts haven't had THAT many penalties called against them. So what is the issue?
Colts might be looking for the perfect chance too often. I can't even remember how many times I have seen us enter the offensive zone, drop the puck blindly only to have the other team transition and turn it into a chance against us. Often, the simplest play is the best play. Just get the puck on the net and that is how you get bounces in your favour. There are no points for the most passes in a game so you might as well get pucks on the net.
We can see the Colts are trying to make adjustments. Hawerchuk swapped Lemieux around which seemed to help early in the game but as it went on the Battalion were able to adjust.
Not saying these are fixes. Or that these are the only issues. North Bay has played a stronger game so far. If the Colts are able to win on Thursday it would be huge with the series back to BMC on Saturday. Then, we have the whole "quiet home crowd" issue to deal with, but we are working on that!
There is still lots of hockey to be played and the Colts are by no stretch done yet. Remember, a win and we get home ice advantage back and that can be a huge swing of momentum in the Colts favour.