Storm and Knights to begin Western semifinal Friday
GUELPH – The Guelph Storm and London Knights are to start their Ontario Hockey League Western Conference semifinal at London’s Budweiser Gardens Friday night.
London has home-ice advantage in the best-of-seven series by virtue of finishing first in the conference while the Storm was fourth.
The Knights are to host the first two games of the series. Game time Friday is 7:30 p.m. while the second game is to go April 7 starting at 2 p.m.
The Storm are to host Games 3, 4 and if it’s needed, 6. All three have 7 p.m. game times.
Game 3 is to be played April 8 while Game 4 is scheduled for April 10 and Game 6 is slated for April 13.
If a fifth game is needed, it’s scheduled for April 12 at London, starting at 7:30 p.m.
If the series goes its seven-game maximum, the seventh game is to be played at London April 16. Game time is 7 p.m.
Both teams swept their conference quarter-finals, the Storm knocking off the fifth-place Kitchener Rangers and the Knights disposing of the eighth-place Windsor Spitfires.
London had finished the regular season at 46-15-6-1 while the Storm finished at 40-18-6-4.
The Storm won the regular-season series between the teams as they had four wins, two at the Sleeman Centre and two at London. The Knights had two wins, one in Guelph and one in London.
The Storm won 3-2 in overtime at the Sleeman Centre Oct. 14, 7-5 at London Jan. 8, 7-3 at London Feb. 26 and 5-1 at the Sleeman Centre March 13.
The Knights prevailed 2-1 in a shootout in Guelph Nov. 17 and 6-1 at Budweiser Gardens Feb. 13.
The Guelph side had seven players with five or more points in the series win over Kitchener. Nate Schnarr led with 10 (2 goals-8 assists) while Alexey Toropchenko (5-2) and Nick Suzuki (4-3) each had seven, Isaac Ratcliffe (2-4) had six and MacKenzie Entwistle (2-3), Liam Hawel (2-3) and Sean Durzi (0-5) each had five.
London had three players with five or more points in the series win over Windsor. Alex Formenton collected 11 (2-9) while Evan Bouchard (2-8) had 10 and Adam Boqvist (6-1) had seven.
Each team had 11 players record goals in their conference quarter-final series victories.
Anthony Popovich had a 1.50 goals-against average and .947 save percentage for the Storm as he played all four games in the series with Kitchener.
The Knights went with Jordan Kooy in net for all four games in the series with Windsor. He had a 2.00 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.
The Storm had 10 players record 10 or more goals in a Guelph uniform during the regular season. Ratcliffe led with 50 while Hawel had 37, Schnarr 34, Cedric Ralph 21, Keegan Stevenson 19, Toropchenko 17, Entwistle 15 (in 28 games), Suzuki 12 (in 29 games), Dmitri Samorukov 10 and Cam Hillis 10 (in 33 games).
The Knights had 13 — Liam Foudy and Connor McMichael with 36 apiece, Nathan Dunkley 23, Cole Tymkin 22, Kevin Hancock 21 (in 33 games), Boqvist 20, Josh Nelson 17, Evan Bouchard 16, Billy Moskal 14, Formenton 13 (in 31 games), Antonio Stranges 13, Matvey Guskov 12 and Alec Regula 11.
Popovich was 30-13-5-2 in net during the regular season for the Storm. He had a 3.29 goals-against average and .899 save percentage while Nico Daws was at 10-5-1-2 with 3.25 goals-against average and .893 save percentage.
For London, Kooy was 16-6-2-0 with a 2.87 goals-against average and .908 save percentage and Joseph Raaymakers was 30-9-4-1 with 2.95 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.
- Guelph Sports Journal