Colts: grin and bear it

Dec. 11 home game against the IceDogs features ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ in aid of children’s treatment and hospice centre

This season’s version of the Barrie Colts might be a bit difficult for suffering fans, but never mind that as they have a good reason to grin and bear it coming up in December.
To support the Darling Home for Kids, a hospice and respite centre, the Colts have earmarked the Dec. 11 home match against Niagara Falls as ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ game. The stuffed bears can be purchased at the Barrie Molson Centre the night of the game, and at the Monte Carlo Inn on Hart Drive the week of the game.
The fundraiser is in aid of the home, located near Milton. It provides pediatric hospital care and respite services for Ontario families who have children with illnesses that are life threatening, and which require complex care. It’s a worthy cause and fans are encouraged to attend and buy a bear.
Unfortunately, based on the season to date, it might be the only score worth celebrating. With the Colts stuck in last place overall, fans might be wondering when the cheers will return to the Molson Centre. It could be a long wait.
The Colts have won just four of their 25 games, and have a mere 10 points out of all that effort. The Peterborough Petes are next in futility, with 14 points, while the league-leading Mississauga St. Michaels Majors lead the pack with 45 points.
As always, the numbers tell the tale. That this is a young, rebuilding team is well known, but perhaps what wasn’t known is how far the team would drop from the peaks of last year, when it was tagged as one of the best junior squads in the land, going deep into the playoffs before losing to the cup-winning Windsor Spitfires.
A bright spot for the team is the scoring of Mark Scheifele and Colin Behenna, both of whom have cracked the top 20 in scoring, 19th and 18th respectively, tied with 32 points. They each have eight goals and 24 assists.
The defense, however, remains the team’s main weakness, reflected in the number of shots on goal. Again, the stats tell the tale. Goalie Peter Di Salvo has faced 732 shots. Compare that with the 485 shots on JP Anderson of the Majors, and it’s clear the opposition shooters are getting through to the Barrie net all too frequently and easily.
It’s tough to win when you face that many shots. When you look at the plus/minus numbers, they are equally as bleak. Only one player, Tanner Pearson, is in plus territory – and he has a plus-1.
With 87 goals, the Colts are actually ahead of six teams, but their 129 goals-against puts them dead last in that category.
The task ahead seems clear. Shore up the defense and get the forwards to come back and help out in the defensive zone. Sounds easy enough, right? Yeah, right! This is going to be a long season, perhaps longer than most thought, but no one was expecting a repeat of last year.
The Colts are in Sault Ste. Marie Friday, stopping at Sudbury and Peterborough before coming home to face the IceDogs Dec. 11. Get ready to toss some bears and cheer on a worthy endeavour.

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