Game Preview: Niagara IceDogs @ Barrie Colts. The boys are back in town.. from the Christmas break! #OHL

Guess who just got back today. Them wild-eyed boys that had been away. Haven't changed that much to say but man, I hope they have a better half to the season!

Not a Thin Lizzy fan? Well either way, the boys are back in town from the Christmas break and look to kick off the second have of the 2016-17 OHL season with the momentum the went into the break with. The Colts hope to tread upward as they take on the Niagara IceDogs tonight at the Barrie Molson Centre

Barrie VS Niagara this season.

Tonight's meeting will be the fourth of six this regular season and Barrie is optimistic to tie the series at two games a piece. The last meeting was on November, 26th and saw the Dogs dominate the Colts 5-1. Niagara managed to get 5 goals before Barrie was able to make the score sheet with a late goal by captain Cordell James. Ryan Mantha had a strong game scorning the insurance goal and adding a pair of assists. Akil Thomas, Oliver Castleman and Matthew Philip all earned a goal and an assist in the win. 

Stephen Dhillon made 28 saves on 29 shots for the IceDogs. He aced a decent amount of shots but not when you consider Niagara had taken 10 minor penalties. The Colts were only able to beat him one time with the man advantage. 

David Ovsjannikov started in net for Barrie making 29 saves on 34 shots faced. 

Special teams were a killer for the Colts. As mentioned; the only managed to score one goal on 10 power plays and allowed a pair of goals against on 6 penalty kills. Not much shot production considering the amount of chances with the extra man the Colts had. 

In is worth noting that Barrie did play better as the game progressed. After the 1st period they only managed to get 5 shots on goal. As the game progressed, their chances increased, while managing to contain the amount of chances Niagara was generating. 

Dogs coming off a big win. 

Niagara is coming off a win over the Windsor Spitfires right before the break. A huge SO win for a team who has struggled like the Colts this year. It is kind sad to see a good win which could have resulted in some momentum almost get wasted. It looked like Windsor was going to skate away with the victory until Mikhail Sergachev scored his 2nd goal of the season for Niagara forcing OT. The extra period solved nothing so they went to the shootout. Luchuk and Thomas both scored in the first round but it would take another 3 rounds to find a winner. Pavel Demin ended up scoring the OT/game winner. 

Big win for the Dogs and one they probably should not have won. Windsor went 0 for 11 on the man advantage. Stephen Dhillon had a huge night for Niagara and no doubt was a huge reason this wasn't a blow out. 

Barrie can win too you know!

Barrie also is coming off a win they earned right before the break in a 4-3 OT win over the Ottawa 67's. Much like the last game against Niagara, Barrie improved as the game progressed. They out shot Ottawa 37-26 and went 1 for 4 on the power play.  

Zachary Magwood ended up the game hero scoring the OT winner 1:54 into the extra frame. The goal was his 8th on the season. Giordano Finoro got an assist on the goal for his 10th point of the season. 

Chiodo, Peca and Stefano all scored goals for Barrie. Ruan Badenhorst got his first start of the season with Christian Propp sidelined with an injury. Ruan made 23 saves on 26 shots faced on the game. 

Final thoughts.

Both teams sit firmly at the bottom of the Central Division.. Okay, the Conference.. FINE, they are both at the dead bottom of the OHL. There is still a lot of hockey to play and both can really make a push in the standings. Niagara has 27 points while Barrie has 24. A win could bring the Colts within a point and they also have a game in hand.    

Keys to Success: Barrie needs to come out stronger. 5 shots after the first period will not be enough. They will also need to find a way to improve on the man advantage. Going 1 for 10 on the man advantage is pretty bad. 

No word yet on Propp's status. Didn't sound too serious so I don't expect him to miss any time but we will keep you posted. It also seemed like Roy Radke was getting close to coming back to the roster and maybe the Christmas break gave him the time he needed. No official word yet on his status.

Shot production may be tough to come by since the team traded Matt Brassard to the Oshawa Generals yesterday. Brassard lead the team in shots on goal this season with 105. He also was a huge contributor on special teams. The team will have to really step up to fill in for his absence. 

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

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