The Barrie Colts scored four times in the third period, including three in the opening four minutes of the period to pick up a key Ontario Hockey League win over the Soo Greyhounds.
Having lost three straight heading into action on Saturday night, the Colts picked up a 7-4 win over the Greyhounds at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
For the Greyhounds, there weren’t many positives in the contest.
“Older guys aren’t putting in close to the effort that the first- and second-year guys are putting in,” said Greyhounds coach John Dean.
“The younger guys are working exceptionally hard and a lot of guys that need to take a step forward and lead this team right now aren’t,” Dean also said. “And it’s costing us valuable games early in the season.”
After the Colts scored in the opening period to take a 1-0 lead, the two clubs combined for five in the middle frame and entered the third tied at three.
For the Colts, coach Warren Rychel challenged his team between periods.
“I challenged them to come out after two and win a period,” Rychel said. “The Sault is a desperate team just like we are, and they pushed back.”
Rychel was named interim coach of the Colts after the team announced that Dale Hawerchuk was taking a leave this season for health issues.
Rychel credited a power play goal in the opening minute of the third period as a difference in the game.
“That was a real big one,” Rychel said. “That put (the Greyhounds) back a bit.”
“It’s tough,” Dean said. “You fight back to make it 3-3 and they score a power play goal (early).”
Pekar finished the night with three goals and two assists for the Colts.
“He’s a go-getter,” Rychel said of the Buffalo Sabres prospect. “He’s hungry and he’s fun to be around.”
Luke Bignell and Ryan Suzuki had a goal and an assist each for the Colts while Nathan Allensen and Christopher Cameron also scored.
Jason Willms assisted on three goals for Barrie.
Goaltender Arturs Silovs stopped 24 shots.
Rory Kerins scored a pair of goals for the Greyhounds.
Alex Johnston chipped in with a goal and an assist while Dominic Mufarreh also scored.
Goaltender Christian Propp made 26 saves.
The Greyhounds went 0-for-7 on the power play and gave up a pair of Colts power play goals in the contest.
“Our special teams has unfortunately been an issue in this losing stretch and we can’t seem to put a puck in the net, which is frustrating,” Dean said. “It seems that guys are missing assignments and don’t have a lot of intent to get the puck to the net.”
“It looks like we’re looking for a grade-A opportunity every time,” Dean added.
The loss drops the Greyhounds record to 5-5-1-0 heading into the final game of a three-game homestand on Sunday afternoon against the North Bay Battalion.
Puck drop at the GFL Memorial Gardens is set for 2:07 p.m.
The Colts improve to 6-4-0-1.
In other action around the OHL on Saturday night, in London, Luke Evangelista had three goals and an assist as the London Knights beat the Kingston Frontenacs 6-3. Connor McMichael added a goal and two assists for the Knights.
In Erie, Richard Whittaker had the shootout winner as the Mississauga Steelheads beat the Erie Otters 3-2. Thomas Harley had a goal and an assist for the Steelheads. Hayden Fowler and Chad Yetman had a goal and an assist each for Erie.
In Flint, the Flint Firebirds scored four times in the third period in a 6-3 win over the North Bay Battalion. Ty Dellandrea had a goal and two assists for the Firebirds. Jack Wismer had a pair of goals for Flint.
In St. Catharines, Ivan Lodnia had the shootout winner as the Niagara IceDogs beat the Guelph Storm 5-4. Tucker Tynan stopped 47 shots and all three shooters in the shootout for Niagara. Nico Daws made 44 saves for Guelph.
In Saginaw, Cole Perfetti had two goals and two assists as the Saginaw Spirit beat the Kitchener Rangers 5-3. Cole Coskey had a goal and three assists for the Spirit.
In Owen Sound, Matthew Philip and Andrew Perrott had a goal and an assist each as the Owen Sound Attack beat the Sudbury Wolves 4-1.