With two goals and two assists from Andrew Mangiapane, and two assists from Rasmus Andersson, the Barrie Colts completed their sweep of the North Bay Battalion and will move on to the third round of the OHL playoffs.
This follows up their 4-3 first round win over the Mississauga Steelheads. Up next? The Niagara Ice Dogs – who swept the top-seeded Kingston Frontenacs to meet Barrie.
Let’s catch up on how our favourite OHL prospects are doing.
Through 11 games, Mangiapane has scored eight goals and 17 points. Just three of his points have come on the power play; two have been shorthanded. He’s also taken 48 shots on net – just over four shots a game – and is second in Barrie scoring, and tied for sixth throughout the OHL these playoffs.
Two of the players above Mangiapane in scoring – Michael Dal Colle (Kingston) and Mike Amadio (North Bay) – have been eliminated, so Mangiapane appears to be well on his way to be one of the OHL’s top scorers these playoffs.
Andersson, meanwhile, has also played 11 games: he has two goals and 13 points over that time frame. Five have been power play assists; one of his goals came shorthanded. He has 25 shots on net. Among defencemen, Andersson is the tied for leading scorer these OHL playoffs, alongside North Bay’s Kyle Wood, who he just helped eliminate.
Fourth in defensive scoring is Niagara’s Vince Dunn. Depending on how the Barrie/Niagara series shapes out, it seems pretty likely that one of these two players will singlehandedly take the scoring lead for all defencemen in the OHL playoffs.
So, what chance does Barrie have against Niagara? Well, they’re a higher seed that had eight more wins and 12 more points than them in the regular season. Just ask how much being a higher seed meant to Kingston, though: the Ice Dogs clearly can’t be underestimated.
Niagara is backed by Alex Nedeljkovic, who’s having a stellar playoffs and is currently third with a save percentage of .915%; that said, number one in that stat is Barrie’s Mackenzie Blackwood, who’s currently clocking in at .921%. (Anyone else getting World Juniors flashbacks?) They’re also evidently playing a game more suited to the never give up, everlasting grind that the playoffs bring – and winning two of the four games played against Kingston in overtime certainly fuels that mythos.
That said, can Barrie take them? Absolutely; they wouldn’t have made it to the third round if they weren’t a formidable opponent. From there, it would be just one more round to play for the J. Ross Robertson Cup – and from there, one more round until Red Deer and the Memorial Cup.
That’s getting a little ahead of ourselves. But as Flames fans, we pretty much have two teams to cheer for now: the Dallas Stars, for an extra first round pick; and the Barrie Colts, which could potentially give us a chance at seeing Mangiapane and Andersson not too far from the NHL arena we hope they one day play in.