Buzzing The Net

Zach Hall, Mark Scheifele bail out battered Barrie in opener vs. Oshawa: OHL post-game questions

Zach Hall had 3 points for Barrie on Wednesday (OHL Images)

Zach Hall scores the tying and overtime goals, helping the Barrie Colts wrest Game 1 of the Eastern semifinal away from the Oshawa Generals in a game that angried up the blood for stars Boone Jenner and Mark Scheifele. But it was costly for the Colts. On with the post-game questions:

Barrie 4 Oshawa 3, overtime (Colts lead 1-0) — What tipped this to Barrie late? The Colts, who authored a three-goal winning rally after being down 3-1 with five minutes left in the third period, can credit this to their collective speed coming in from the wing to the goal. It factored into all three goals; overage Steven Beyers cutting around Gens D-man Colin Suellentrop to go top cheddar for the 3-2 goal with 4:52 left; Hall teeing up Mark Scheifele 93 seconds later and then blazing to the net to poke in the bare hint of a rebound that goalie Daniel Altshuller to force OT; and finally, Hall toe-dragging a defender to snap in the winner 1:18 into overtime after the Colts dodged a scramble around Mathias Niederberger at the other end.

Barrie's scoring punch bailed it out of a lukewarm performance where it had trouble hitting the tape on two passes in a row and was 1-for-7 on the power play with a short-handed goal against.

How did the Generals fare with driving Scheifele to distraction? The Winnipeg Jets first-rounder can expect to be put through a gauntlet every night in this series, especially since the Generals have three centres they can match up with him in fellow world junior forward Boone Jenner, Scott Laughton and 17-year-old NHL draft prospect Cole Cassels, if only on occasion. Scheifele, who has as many points (12) in five playoff games as he did in all 13 as an 18-year-old, kept bouncing back. He also probably got away with slew-footing Jenner in the third period.

We'll see how that carries over to Game 2 on Friday.

How much of a physical toll did this extract from the Colts? Prior to the late-game drama, Tampa Bay Lightning-drafted defenceman Jake Dotchin left the game favouring his collarbone/left shoulder area after colliding at centre ice with Generals right wing Scott Sabourin. It could have been an interference penalty since Dotchin didn't have the puck, but there was no call.

Dotchin's absence would reduce Barrie to having four of its top six defencemen. At least the Colts will get a boost up front in Game 2 when Boston Bruins prospect Anthony Camara comes back after being suspended since March 23.

Dotchin's injury aside, how much could this cost Oshawa? The General spin would be that their best-case scenario all along was to split the first two games in Barrie. Realistically, it seems easier to beat a team in Game 1 when it's skating off the rush from six-day break between rounds than in Game 2. In this instance, the Colts should also have a louder and more vocal home crowd on Friday after drawing just 2,658 for a rare Wednesday home tilt. (Oh, to be a fly on the wall at the board of governors meeting when Barrie, which couldn't have a Thursday/Saturday start due to the OHL moratorium on playing games on draft day, is asked about said rule.)

How equal was Oshawa's Altshuller (32 goals on 36 shots) to the task of matching Barrie's Niederberger in goal? Losing a late two-goal lead and falling in overtime overshadowed that the 18-year-old Altshuller foiled some grade-A chances earlier in the night. The Carolina Hurricanes pick stopped Tyson Fawcett and Mitchell Theoret on breakaways and also twice lunged cross-crease to deny the Colts' Erik Bradford. Altshuller will have to recover quickly for Friday's Game 2 to give the Generals a chance at nabbing the minimum one road win they will need to take the series. It will be a big litmus test for the young goalie.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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