Barrett responds to benching
A couple of games in the stands was just what the doctor ordered for Sam Barrett.
The 17-year-old winger for the Fort Erie Meteors hit a bit of a lull so Meteors head coach/general manger Nik Passero figured less was more and gave Barrett a breather.
“He’s had some growing pains,” Passero said. “He’s learning his role, trying to find his role. He was scratched last week and this weekend he was our best player.”
Passero wanted Barrett to watch the game from a different perspective.
“He had to see the game from a bird’s eye view because he’s so fast there’s so much he can get done,” Passero said. “If you constantly think someone is on you and you don’t have that much time you will make mistakes. If he can see it from a bird’s eye view, he can see he has this much room.
“He was great.”
Passero said the key to the benching was an honest chat with Barrett to explain the situation.
“It’s important for the kid (to have a good attitude) but it’s also important for the staff to communicate,” Passero said.
Barrett had no issue with the decision.
“The best thing to do is take that in a positive way and use that almost as motivation for your next game,” Barrett said. “I was able to see how much time and space people have with the puck and that helped me come back strong the next weekend.”
Barrett joined the Meteors for the stretch run last season after his schedule with the North Central Predators AAA U18 squad concluded and had six points in six games. He added three more points in the playoffs where the Meteors came within a game of qualifying for the finals.
Barrett said that taste of junior was key.
“It helped me get my feet wet and helped get me to see what playoff hockey was like for junior B and what junior B was like compared to AAA,” he said. “It was a whole different learning experience. It was a whole different game, bigger kids and older.”
Barrett, a native of Owen Sound, is a speedster who Passero feels could have cracked an Ontario Hockey League roster this season given the opportunity.
“I was pretty adamant if an OHL team had given him a tryout in camp he makes the team, that’s how fast he is,” Passero said. “He is pretty dynamic with his foot speed and he can play at all different times of the game.”
Passero feels Barrett can be even more on an impact player down the road.
“You don’t want him slowing anything down. Slow the game down but not his feet, that’s his best tool. When he realizes how much time and space he has, he’ll do damage,” Passero said. “We’ve used him everywhere — power play, penalty kill, five on five.”
Barrett pointed to power skating from a young age as a big reason for his speed.
“I’ve always been fast,” he said. “Always been gifted in my speed and used my speed in every aspect of the game. I use that to my advantage. I’m a smaller guy so I can’t use my size so I use my speed and that helps me a lot.”
Barrett has five goals and 14 points in 19 games this season.
“I want to go as far as I can. Do my best and see what happens,” he said.
The Meteors sit in third place with a 13-5-3 mark, two points in arrears of Hamilton for second and six off the pace set by the league-leading St. Catharines Falcons.
Fort Erie visits Thorold Friday and are home to Welland Saturday.
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