Storm hangs in to outlast Kitchener for playoff win
GUELPH – Thee goals in the final two minutes and nine seconds of the third period lifted the Guelph Storm to their first win of this season’s Ontario Hockey League playoffs Tuesday night at the Sleeman Centre as they outlasted the Kitchener Rangers 7-5.
The win was Guelph’s first in the playoffs since they defeated the Owen Sound Attack 2-1 at the Sleeman Centre April 4, 2015, to complete a 4-1 conference quarter-final series victory.
The Rangers lead this year’s best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final 2-1.
While the Storm led 2-1 midway through the opening period, they had to come from behind for the win as Kitchener shot ahead with two goals less than four minutes apart later in the period. The Rangers never led by more than a goal, but the locals fought back to tie the score four times during the game.
Kitchener led 3-2 at the end of the first period and the teams were tied 4-4 at the end of the second.
The Storm received goals from Garrett McFadden, Barret Kirwin, Liam Hawel, Nate Schnarr, Alexey Toropchenko, Zach Poirier and Cedric Ralph. Isaac Ratcliffe had three assists while Mason Primeau and Ryan Merkley had two apiece and Schnarr, Poirier, Mark Shoemaker and Ralph had one each.
Kole Sherwood tallied twice for Kitchener while single goals were added by Logan Stanley, Givani Smith and Riley Damiani. Logan Brown and Kyle Gentles collected two assists apiece while Jonathan Yantsis, Adam Liška, Michael Vukojevic, Nick McHugh and Jack York had one apiece.
Toropchenko’s power-play goal, Guelph’s third of the game, tied the score 5-5 at 17:51 of the third. Poirier scored the eventual game-winner 24 seconds later and Ralph added an empty-netter 54 seconds after that.
The Storm was outshot 29-15 in the first two periods and 35-27 overall. They went 3-for-5 on their power play and killed off Kitchener’s lone power play.
Anthony Popovich made 30 saves for the win in net for the Storm while Mario Culina was tagged with the loss in net for the Rangers.
Fourth game of the series is set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Sleeman Centre.
Storm 7 Rangers 5
1. Kitchener, Stanley (Yantsis, Liška), 3:08
2. Guelph, McFadden (Ratcliffe, Schnarr), 5:20 pp
3. Guelph, Kirwin (Primeau), 10:26
4. Kitchener, Sherwood (Brown, Vukojevic), 13:01
5. Kitchener, Smith (Brown, Gentles), 16:50
Penalty: Mascherin Kit (tripping), 5:10.
6. Guelph, Hawel (Poirier, Primeau), 9:29
7. Kitchener, Damiani (McHugh), 10:09
8. Guelph, Schnarr (Ratcliffe, Merkley), 19:11 pp
Penalty: Smith Kit (roughing), 18:39.
9. Kitchener, Sherwood (York, Gentles), 1:58
10. Guelph, Toropchenko (Ratcliffe, Merkley), 17:51 pp
11. Guelph, Poirier (Shoemaker, Ralph), 18:15
12, Guelph, Ralph (unassisted) 19:09 en
Penalties: Stanley Kit (hooking), 3:31; Merkley Gue (hooking), 9:58; Smith Kit (blindsiding), 15:58; Sherwood Kit (roughing), Stanley Kit (slashing), Ratcliffe Gue (roughing), 19:56.
Shots on Goal
Goalies: Culina (L, 26 shots-20 saves), Kitchener; Popovich (W, 35 shots-30 saves), Guelph.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Kitchener 0-1; Guelph 3-5.
- Guelph Sports Journal