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Barrie Colts feel good about efforts in Playoffs despite season-ending loss

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Despite Sunday's season-ending loss, the Barrie Colts are feeling good about their effort in the first round of the OHL Playoffs against the Oshawa Generals.

"It sucks to lose out," said Colts captain Beau Jelsma. "We were playing against the number one seed, and we gave it our all. To take it to six games is impressive."

The Colts cleared their lockers after getting blanked 3-0 in Sunday's Game 6 against the Eastern Conference's top team.

"Our guys played great," said Sam Hillebrandt, who led all goaltenders with a .938 save percentage in the first round. "Our defence especially. They're putting their body on the line, trying to block as many pucks as possible."

Players and coaches also held their exit meetings before turning the page to the offseason.

"You need effort, and you need luck," said Colts head coach and general manager Marty Williamson. "I got the effort from my guys. I'm proud of them. The luck wasn't quite there for us."

For players like Cole Beaudoin, who are in their draft year, it is the start of a busy spring and summer ahead of June's NHL Draft.

"That's what you dream about since you're a kid, getting drafted into the NHL," said the Colts forward, who tallied 5 points in the series. "I have a positive mindset. I'm pretty happy with how my year went."

For over-age defenseman Thomas Stewart, it is the end of his junior hockey career.

"I just try and pay it forward for some of the young guys," said Stewart, who injured his ankle in Game 6 after falling awkwardly into the boards. "This is my second time being one of the older guys on a very young team, and I think guidance helps."

Stewart and goaltender Ben West are the only two graduating players on the Colts roster. Therefore, players and coaches expect to improve from this season's eighth-place finish in the regular season and first-round exit in the playoffs.

"We think we're going to have a heck of a hockey team," added Williamson. "But again, we have a lot of hard work to do if we want to be one of the top teams next year."

The Colts hold the 5th overall pick in the OHL Draft this upcoming weekend, which is their highest pick since selecting Brandt

Clarke at fourth overall in 2019.

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