Another elimination-game win puts Storm in OHL final

SAGINAW, Mich. — The Guelph Storm survived another elimination game Monday to claim the Wayne Gretzky Trophy as the Ontario Hockey League’s Western Conference champions and advance to the league’s J. Ross Robertson Trophy championship series.

The Storm scored once in each period to edge the Saginaw Spirit 3-2 in Game 7 of the conference final at Saginaw’s Dow Event Center. It was the Storm’s seventh elimination-game win in this year’s playoffs as they rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win the conference semifinal with the London Knights and then trailed Saginaw 3-1 in the conference final before coming back.

Next up for the Storm is the championship series against the Ottawa 67’s who haven’t lost a game in the playoffs. The 67’s swept the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Eastern Conference quarter-finals, Sudbury Wolves in the semifinals and Oshawa Generals in the final to be able to hoist the Bobby Orr Trophy in victory.

Damien Giroux of Saginaw opened and closed the scoring in Monday’s game as he scored the game’s first goal at 3:29 of the first period and then the game’s last goal on an unassisted effort with 1:04 to go in the third and goaltender Tristan Lennox on the bench in favour of an extra attacker. Brady Gilmour and D.J. Busdeker assisted on the first goal.

The Storm’s three goals came between those two goals as Cedric Ralph tallied at 13:10 of the first, Alexey Toropchenko followed at 4:54 of the second and Nick Suzuki fired the eventual game-winner into an empty net with 1:20 to go in the third. Owen Lalonde had two assists while Dmitri Samorukov had one.

The Spirit was assessed four minor penalties while the Storm’s Nate Schnarr was given his team’s only penalty of the game, a minor for closing a hand on the puck with three seconds to go in the game.

Neither team recorded a power-play goal.

Anthony Popovich had 23 saves for the Storm to get the win while Lennox had 30 saves for Saginaw.

The championship series is to start Thursday at Ottawa’s TD Place. Game time is 7 p.m.

The Storm and 67’s met twice during the regular season. The Storm won 8-4 at the Sleeman Centre Jan. 13 and the 67’s won 4-3 in overtime at TD Place Feb. 1.

Other games in the league final are set for Saturday at Ottawa at 2 p.m., Monday at the Sleeman Centre at 7 p.m., May 8 at the Sleeman Centre at 7 p.m., May 10 at Ottawa at 7 p.m., May 12 at the Sleeman Centre at 2 p.m. and May 13 at Ottawa at 7 p.m. The fifth, sixth and seventh games of the series will only be played if they’re needed.

Winner of the series will represent the OHL at this year’s Memorial Cup tournament in Halifax May 17 to 26.


Storm 3 Spirit 2
Guelph        1-1-1–3
Saginaw     1-0-1–2
First Period
1. Saginaw, Damien Giroux (Brady Gilmour, D.J. Busdeker), 3:29
2. Guelph, Cedric Ralph (Owen Lalonde), 13:10
Penalty: Camaryn Baber Sag (too many men), 5:36.
Second Period
3. Guelph, Alexey Toropchenko (Owen Lalonde), 4:54
Penalty: Jake Goldowski Sag (holding opposition stick), 19:30.
Third Period
4. Guelph, Nick Suzuki (Dmitri Samorukov), 18:40 en
5. Saginaw, Damien Giroux (unassisted), 18:56
Penalties: Damien Giroux (double high sticking minor), 11:15; Nate Schnarr Gue (closing hand on puck), 19:57.
Shots on Goal
Guelph        14-12-7–33
Saginaw     10-5-10–25
Goalies: Anthony Popovich (W, 25 shots-23 saves), Guelph; Tristan Lennox (L, 32 shots-30 saves), Saginaw.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Guelph 0-4; Saginaw 0-1.
Faceoffs Won: Guelph 32; Saginaw 40.


  • Guelph Sports Journal