Too little, too late, and almost too luminescent. After his Barrie Colts were stymied for nearly two playoff games, Andreas Athanasiou delivered quite a parting shot to the North Bay Battalion.
The Detroit Red Wings prospect has some of the supplest hands in the Ontario Hockey League. The 49-goal scorer reaffirmed that on Sunday with a snipe-of-the-year submission that broke North Bay's bid for consecutive shutouts in the conference semifinal. Anthanasiou's inside-out feint to elude veteran Battalion defenceman Marcus McIvor was mouth-watering enough. Then he scored on a between-the-legs shot into the top corner past goalie Jake Smith.
That was about the only way the Colts were beating Smith, who had a 154-minute 34-second shutout skein snapped. North Bay won 4-1 to go up 2-0 as the best-of-7 series shifts to Barrie for the next two.
It was also a very veteran move by Athanasiou to not even so much as raise his stick afterward, not it should be necessary to point out one shouldn't 'celly' when his team is trailing in a playoff game. The Woodbridge, Ont., native had had numerous chances against Smith and the Battalion over the first 40 minutes with nothing to show for it. Then the Battalion broke the deadlock with four goals in a 4:11 span of the third, including two on breakaways from San Jose Sharks-signed captain Barclay Goodrow.
"It was kind of weird that a 1-on-2 chance, out of all the point-blank chances that'd I had, was the one that went in," Athanasiou told Rogers TV Barrie. "It feels good to actually get one on the board and finally get one past Smith."
McIvor's stout defending and Smith's play between the pipes have been integral for North Bay. Sometimes a unique talent just makes a play, and it might be a hint Barrie will get back into the series when it hosts Game 3 on Tuesday.
"Nasty [Athanasiou] got one of the nicest goals I've ever seen, you've got to give him that," Goodrow told TV Cogeco North Bay. "But Jake Smith's been awesome for us. He's such a battler and he'll be great for the rest of the series."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (video: TV Cogeco North Bay).