What a difference a year makes. Last year, around Remembrance Day, the 2009/10 Barrie Colts were quickly establishing themselves as a force with which to be reckoned, cruising along as one of the better junior squads in the country.
After 17 games of the current OHL season, the latest version of the Horsemen sit mired in last place, tied for futility with the Peterborough Petes, with nine points in 17 games. With the Petes having a game in hand, the Colts can officially lay claim to being the worst team in the league.
That is was to be a rebuilding year, everyone knew. But perhaps the scale of the challenge escaped them. The Colts have won four, lost 13, including one overtime loss. Although they have a respectable 59 goals for, their 80 goals against ranks last in the OHL.
Speaking plainly, their defense has been porous and their goaltending leaky. The offence is better, but it’s mediocre at best; there are no Colts among the OHL’s top 20 scorers. Their best offensive streak came from Taylor Carnevale, who scored in three games from Oct. 22-28.
The mainstay between the pipes this year, Peter Di Salvo, has let in an average of 4.85 goals in 14 games, for a .883 percentage. His record sounds bad, but considering he has faced 555 shots, the most in the league, it’s pretty obvious the real problems with the Colts lie with the defense.
The best goalie in the league, JP Anderson of the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors, has faced 352 shots.
So, more offense and a tighter defense seem to be priorities, but the offense isn’t exactly scaring opponents with their prowess around the net. Darren Archibald has the touch, with 10 goals and 17 assists in 13 games, but he’s a minus three while on the ice. Team points leader Colin Behenna, with 20 points from five goals and 15 assists, is a minus six.
In fact, all of the Colts sport minus stats. Compare that with Mississauga, where all but one player are in plus territory.
It all adds up to very little help for the Colts’ goalies.
The Colts next see action tonight (Nov. 12) in London against the Knights. It will be another tough test for the Colts; the Knights have 21 points after 17 games, with nine wins, five losses, and two overtime losses. It doesn’t get any easier as Mississauga comes to town Saturday.
Colts notes: The Colts are growing ‘Movember’ mustaches to support prostate cancer research. Centre Taylor Clements has joined the team. The 6’2”, 196 lb Clements most recently played with the Gatineau Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.