Game Preview: Niagara IceDogs @ Barrie Colts. #OHL

Tonight the Barrie Colts host the Niagara Icedogs for the third of six meetings this regular season. The season series so far has been split a game a piece with Barrie coming out on top in the first game and Niagara in the last. Niagara won 5-1 at home over the Colts. Despite what looks like a dominant win for the Dogs, Barrie put up a pretty strong effort. They out shot the Dogs 42-29 and won the majority of faceoffs and killed off all 4 penalties. Main area the Colts couldn't capitalize was (sit down because you may get some flashbacks of last night.. And other nights..)the power play. Barrie only managed to score one goal on 7 advantages. Jason Willms scored the lone PP goal for the Colts late in the 3rd period. Kyle Langdon had a good night for Niagara scoring a pair of goals on the night. Christian Propp got the start for Barrie and made 24 saves. The first meeting was a 5-4 shootout win for the Colts. Stefano got the only goal in the shootout for the Colts. Also, Colts only had 2 chances on the man advantage. Is it possible the Colts are better with limited power plays? That HAS to be crazy, RIGHT?! We will look at that another day.

Niagara comes into tonight's game off of a 3-1 win over the Sudbury Wolves. Sudbury got on the board first early in the 2nd period on a Ryan Valentini goal but a little over 10 minutes after, the Dogs would tie the game on a Ryan Mantha goal. Johnny Corneil would get the game winner for the Dogs early in the 3rd period and Kyle Langdon put up an insurance goal. IceDogs out shot the Wolves 40-32. And in an attempt to cheer up Colts fans, Niagara went 0 for 10 on the power play. That is really bad. Niagara comes into tonight's game in 2nd place in the Central Division and they are riding a 4-3-2-1 record over their last 10 games.

Barrie enters tonight's game after playing the last 2 nights on the road. No doubt that should be an advantage for the Icedogs but don't count out the Colts. Though, they lost 4-1 last night in
London, they really didn't have a bad game. They out shot London 30-26 and killed off all 3 penalties. Christian Propp was outstanding and made some outstanding saves. The team did a great job controlling the puck in the offensive zone and really skated well. Cordell James logged the only goal for Barrie. Only area the Colts really had trouble was the power play, going 0 for 6. They would be dominating the game and would end up getting a call in their favour and then seemed to fall apart with the man advantage. Colts won the previous night in Hamilton however the struggling team needs to get more wins. They are not so far out of the playoff picture and a few wins could help them climb in their division. Colts are 2-8-0-0 over their last 10 games.

Nizhkinov was out last game after suffering an injury the previous night in Hamilton. It was suggested Radke could return this weekend but there was no update yet. If we hear anything, we will post it. Also, no word on the status of defenseman Cam Lizotte.

Keys to Success: This might sound crazy but maybe don't let Niagara take penalties? Ideally, an improved power play would make more sense, but the Colts have really struggled with the man advantage. It was a little hard to watch the Colts play so well against London and then draw an advantage only to fall apart. Barrie has a 17.4% success rate with the man advantage. If it helps you feel better though, Icedogs have a 12% success rate.

Players to Watch: Cordell James scored his 100th point on Thursday, got the lone goal for the Colts last night and managed to get 6 shots on goal. Him and Stefano were excellent and really had the Knights chasing them in their zone. I would look for the captain to have a great showing tonight.

Expect David Ovsjannikov to get the start for the Colts tonight. Propp started last night and played in both games against Niagara this season.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 tonight at BMC.

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