Considering the fact the Barrie Colts and North Bay Battalion are both coming off grueling seven-game first round series, it would be safe to assume the two teams may not have much energy, when they open the second round at the Barrie Molson Centre tonight. But if you also consider the six-game regular season series they played this year, you might assume otherwise. The Colts and Troops combined for 53 goals over the season series, which Barrie won handily (4-1-0-1) and each team won a shootout and a blowout. So even though they might be tired, it’s not going to take long for things to heat up.
Players To Watch:
Barrie – F – Justin Scott
While Kevin Lebanc’s regular season performance against North Bay (14 points) would make him the easy choice, it will be more interesting to see how Justin Scott follows up his 10-goal series against Mississauga. He’s clearly shown the ability to find the back of the net and was able to put up seven points against the Battalion during the regular campaign. With the North Bay defense likely to key in on Lebanc and Mangiapane, Scott will likely be relied upon to help carry the offensive weight again.
North Bay – D – Kyle Wood
The 19 year-old Colorado Avalanche 3rd rounder was not only a brick wall on the blue line in the first round against Peterborough, but also helped out offensively in a big way. Wood created plenty of chances for his teammates, by firing shots from the point and showed extremely nice poise and patience when moving the puck and while quarter-backing the power play. It led him to 10 assists in the series. He also managed to bury a slap shot in game seven as well. His veteran presence will be needed to help deal with a high-flying, lamp-lighting, offense the Barrie Colts possess. Finding the score sheet another 11 times wouldn’t hurt either.
By The Numbers:
Barrie: (43-22-0-3) – 89 pts, 2nd in East Conf, 1st in Central Div.
North Bay: (35-23-6-4) – 80 pts, 3rd in East Conf, 2nd in Central Div.
Goals For: Barrie – 295 North Bay – 240
Goals Against: Barrie – 207 North Bay – 227
Head to Head: Barrie wins 4-1-0-1
H-to-H Goals: 27 – 26 Barrie
Barrie: Mackenzie Blackwood – (28-13-0-0), 2.72 GAA, .921 SV%, 3 SO
North Bay: Jake Smith – (30-15-6-1), 2.87 GAA, .901 SV%, 1 SO
Who has the edge – Barrie
Either way, this is going to likely be another long series, with two great hockey minds behind the benches, in Stan Butler and Dale Hawerchuk and a pair of skilled teams on the ice. The goaltending match up is intriguing as well, Jake Smith had better numbers over the course of the season than Mackenzie Blackwood, but allowed a number of late goals in round one, to let the Petes back in that series. When it comes down to it, the Colts deep and explosive offense gives them the edge. Barrie scored 55 more goals than the Battalion in the regular season and save for the one shutout in round one, had no problem continuing that output into the playoffs.