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Crashing the crease pays no dividends for Colts in Guelph

Potential world junior goalie Nico Daws shuts the door on Barrie in 4-0 win at Sleeman Centre

The Barrie Colts tried a different tactic in hopes of solving the OHL's best goaltender Friday night at the Sleeman Centre.

The Colts were chirping and bumping the Guelph Storm's Nico Daws from the opening face off, trying to throw Daws off his game.

It didn't work, as he made 39 saves for his fourth shutout of the season in a 4-0 Storm victory.

Daws said Barrie clearly had a game plan going into the game.

"One hundred per cent. They were in my ear all night," he said.

"Before the game even started I was told the first shot was going to go in. I don't know how that worked out for them."

In the past the bumping and yapping might have gotten to Daws, who had been known to blow his cool on occasion.

But that was the old Nico Daws.

"The mental side is big for me this year as well and I'm staying out of it. Dipping my toes in it but not getting too far into it, that's big for me," Daws said.

Daws leaves Monday for the World Junior selection camp.

He will likely play Sunday when the London Knights visit Guelph. Team Canada is coached by London coach Dale Hunter and managed by London general manager Mark Hunter.

"I'm an underdog. Undrafted and I've never played for Team Canada. I'll just do my thing and play my game. I know I belong there."

Storm coach George Burnett gave Daws a lot of credit for staying calm and and not getting involved in the extracurricular activities.

"(He is just so calm and so solid," Burnett said. "He doesn't have to be spectacular because he's calm and he's in position all night long."

Burnett said Daws energizes the rest of the team with his play.

"I don't know that I've ever seen a stretch like this from a big guy whose played so very few games in the league. It's impressive," Burnett said.

"I just like the story. There's been other tremendous performance but for a guy whose had maybe 40 games on his resume (it's 53 career appearances) ... to play with the kind of calm and confidence he's showing is tremendous."

Friday's game was a chippy affair, with 21 minor penalties called. Barrie, the OHL's most penalized team, took four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and a 10-minute misconduct.

Guelph scored the only goal it would need midway through the first period, a Cam Hillis power play goal. Eric Uba had the lone goal of the second period and Hillis and Pavel Gogolev added third period goals. Gogolev also had two assists.

The Storm played the game without three of its main defencemen, leaving them with five blueliners, three of them rookies.

They responded well, in particular rookie Clark Hiebert, who played more minutes Friday than he has combined all season.

The Colts are back in action on Sunday when they travel to Sudbury to face the Wolves. 

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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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