Ratcliffe’s hat trick helps Storm lock up playoff berth
GUELPH – The Guelph Storm surrendered the opening goal of the game then came back to post a 4-1 victory over the Erie Otters Friday night at the Sleeman Centre to clinch a berth in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.
Isaac Ratcliffe struck for a hat trick for the Storm while Keegan Stevenson scored the other goal. Nick Suzuki assisted on two of the goals while single assists were awarded to Nate Schnarr, Dmitri Samorukov, Markus Phillips, Fedor Gordeev and Owen Lalonde.
Alex Gritz had an unassisted goal for Erie.
The teams were tied 1-1 at the end of the first period and the Storm grabbed a 3-1 lead in the second.
The Storm outshot the Otters 31-29 and both were held scoreless on their power plays. Erie had two power plays while the Storm had five.
Anthony Popovich blocked 28 shots for the win for the Storm while Cole Ceci had 27 saves for Erie.
The Storm is fourth in the Western Conference standings at 31-16-6-4 with 11 games to go in their regular season. London Knights (40-11-6-1) lead the conference and are followed by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (38-13-6-1) and Saginaw Spirit (37-15-2-3). Kitchener Rangers (28-26-3-1) are fifth and Erie is ninth and five points out of the conference’s final playoff spot at 23-31-2-1.
The Storm’s next three games are all away from the Royal City as they’re to tangle with the Flint Firebirds (11-43-5-0) at Flint Saturday at 7 p.m., the London Knights at London Tuesday at 7 p.m. and the Erie Otters at Erie Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Storm 4 Otters 1
1. Erie, Gritz (unassisted), 10:45
2. Guelph, Ratcliffe (Schnarr), 19:03
Penalty: Gue (hooking), 12:42.
3. Guelph, Ratcliffe (Samorukov, Suzuki), 1:19
4. Guelph, Ratcliffe (Suzuki, Phillips), 16:37 sh
Penalties: Duff Erie (interference), 4:21; Yetman Erie (slashing), 9:03; Schnarr Gue (cross checking), 15:20; Martin Erie (slashing), 19:31.
5. Guelph, Stevenson (Gordeev, Lalonde), 13:23
Penalties: Yetman Erie (interference), 4:50; Singer Erie (unsportsmanlike conduct), Commisso Gue (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:56; Poddubnyi Erie (holding), 16:51.
Shots on Goal
Goalies: Ceci (L, 31 shots-27 saves), Erie; Popovich (29 shots-28 saves), Guelph.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Erie 0-2; Guelph 0-5.
- Guelph Sports Journal