BARRIE - Mathias Niederberger stopped all 40 shots he faced, and the Barrie Colts defeated the Plymouth Whalers, 2-0, in an Ontario Hockey League game played Saturday night before 3,501 at the Molson Centre in Barrie.
The Whalers go into the Christmas Break at 14-11-5-3 and remain in second place in the OHL's West Division, seven points behind the first place Sarnia Sting (20-11-0-3), who defeated Kingston, 7-4, on Saturday.
Steven Beyers (6) and Joshua MacDonald (8) scored goals for Barrie, but Niederberger was the difference, as the Whalers worked hard and had a territorial advantage throughout much of the game in outshooting the Colts, 40-21.
Niederberger recorded his first shutout of the season in the game and has four over two seasons with Barrie in 75 games played.
Plymouth had a clear edge in the play in the first period in outshooting Barrie, 17-6, but Beyers scored the first goal of the game at 7:52, skating from the left circle in the Plymouth zone to the hashmarks and lifting a shot, top shelf, past Whalers goaltender Matt Mahalak.
The second period was evenly played, with Barrie outshooting Plymouth, 8-6. MacDonald scored at 14:02, picking up the puck in neutral territory on a clear breakaway.
The Whalers didn't quit in the third period, outshooting the Colts, 17-7, but Niederberger was the difference. Mahalak was pulled by Plymouth head coach Mike Vellucci with 2:35 remaining, but the Whalers could not score.
In all, Mahalak stopped 19-of-21 shots in goal for the Whalers.
Plymouth played without Rickard Rakell (Team Sweden, World Junior Championships), Stefan Noesen (suspension), Curtis Crombeen (lower body injury) and Alex Nedeljkovic (healthy scratch).
Noesen and Ryan Hartman left directly after the game to participate in Team USA's preliminary camp for the 2013 World Junior Championships.
Plymouth is off until Dec. 27, when the team plays host to Saginaw at 2 p.m. at Compuware Arena (1:45 p.m., 88.1 FM WSDP). The Whalers remain home on Dec. 29 at 7:05 p.m. against London (6:45 p.m., 88.1 FM WSDP).
Sudbury 7, Plymouth 3 on Friday
SUDBURY - The Sudbury Wolves exploded for three goals in the second period to snap a 2-2 tie and went on to defeat the Plymouth Whalers, 7-3, in an Ontario Hockey League game played before 3,783 at the Community Arena in Sudbury.
The Wolves' top scoring line of Josh Leivo, Jacob Harris and Dominil Kubalik led the way, with a combined three goals, six assists and +12 on the evening. Leivo - a Toronto draft - contributed four assists, Kubalik scored a goal (6) with two assists and Harris scored twice (4-5) in the third period.
Matthew Campagna (8), Frank Corrado (5), Nicholas Baptiste (7) and Evan de Haan (1) scored the other Sudbury goals while goaltender Joel Vienneau stopped 36-of-39 Plymouth shots as the game's first star.
Garrett Meurs scored twice for Plymouth (14-15) and Alex Aleardi (13) scored once for the Whalers. Aleardi also added an assist and did not score on a penalty shot at 18:15 of the second period. Riley Corbin played the entire way for Plymouth and stopped 27-of-34 shots.