Early Season Goalie Struggles Hindering the 2021-22 Barrie Colts

Matteo Lalama (photo: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

The 2021-22 Barrie Colts entered the year with high expectations, as the fifth ranked team in the entire CHL. The only OHL team above them was the Kingston Frontenacs in the fourth overall slot. To start the season, the offensive firepower and defensive depth on the Colts have been impressive. However, their goaltending has lacked consistency through the first 10 games. Barrie has since been dropped from the CHL rankings.

It’s hard to argue what a strong save percentage should be in the OHL. I’ve noticed shots are slightly undercounted in the league, therefore a reasonable expectation for save percentage is generally around the .900 mark. You’d prefer to have that higher obviously, but that’s a rough benchmark in terms of expectations for an OHL starter. Thus far, Barrie Colts team goaltending stands at the .835 mark. This is by far the lowest in the league and people are noticing.

The O Show has quickly become one of my favorite OHL based podcasts out there, and they’ve certainly noted the issues with Barrie’s goaltending. They spent quite a bit of time on a recent show discussing the goalie inconsistency on the Colts, and how it has affected the team and their position in the Eastern Conference standings.

Recently, we reached out to Marty Williamson, the Barrie Colts Head Coach & GM about the goalie position. Marty said, “our goaltending has been inconsistent, it’s their job just like our position players to do a good job each and every night; and like anyone, if they can’t, we will look to upgrade.” If his team’s .835 save percentage mark doesn’t improve, you must think he will be looking to take action and upgrade.

Let’s dig deeper into the Colts goaltender most likely to stick around with the big club and take the reins. Matteo Lalama currently has an .876 save percentage, which is the best on the squad. The 2002-born goalie was the fourth overall pick in the 2019 U18 Draft. Lalama is extremely athletic and can make dazzling stops with his quick lateral movement and agility, but he finds himself too far outside his crease too often. Aggressiveness and judgement are sometimes unreliable; however, he can make outstanding saves while scrambling. He's had some good outings and is the most promising netminder on the team, but consistency will be key for him going forward.

Tanner Wickware was another goaltender they gave a shot, but that didn’t connect and he is no longer with them. Therefore, the Colts acquired Matthew Sbrocca from the Oshawa Generals. Sbrocca’s been less than stellar in the navy blue, red, and yellow, sporting only an .824 save percentage. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but those flashes have been fleeting. The Colts also have Matteo Caruso signed, but he is young (2005-born goalie) and not likely to be in Barrie this season. He's the goalie of the future.

Based on the lackluster start to the season in net, rumors have run rampant about possible trade scenarios. Barrie has done some massive deals with the Saginaw Spirit over the years, and they could be a potential trade partner for the Colts. With such a strong team in Barrie, they may consider going after Tristan Lennox. Lennox was a third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders and has been rumored to be on the trade block. He currently owns a .905 save percentage. Saginaw also has Andrew Oke, who has been strong to start the season with a .902 save percentage.

Another third-round goalie pick at the 2021 NHL Draft is the Sarnia Sting’s Ben Gaudreau. He could be on the move as well and would fit in nicely with Barrie. The Colts are loaded enough with draft picks in the cupboard and talent in the lineup to get a deal done for a top netminder. Is that in their plans going forward? Only time will tell on that one. Whichever route they go, it appears their struggles at the goaltending position will not be solved fully internally. 

Fans are frustrated with the inconsistency at the position; therefore, the current goalies on the roster need to step up big time, or there will be changes made in the near future.


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