Storm finishes OHL campaign with loss to Attack
GUELPH – The Guelph Storm completed their OHL season with an 8-5 loss to the Owen Sound Attack Sunday night at the Sleeman Centre.
The Storm yielded four of the game’s final five goals to suffer the loss, their 10th in 11 games.
The teams were tied 2-2 at the end of the first period before Owen Sound went ahead 5-4 by the end of the second.
The Attack outshot the Storm 36-20 and held their hosts to nine shots after the first period while they took 30. Owen Sound went 3-for-4 on the power play while the Storm went 1-for-2.
James McEwan, Ryan Merkley, Matt Hotchkiss, Isaac Ratcliffe and Liam Hawel scored the goals for Guelph while Nate Schnarr had two assists and Albert Michnac, Givani Smith, Luke Moncada, Hawel, Ratcliffe and goaltender Liam Herbst had one apiece.
Zachary Roberts recorded a hat trick for Owen Sound while Ethan Szypula, Santino Centorame, Jonah Gadjovich, Petrus Palmu and Maksim Sushko also scored. Markus Phillips had four assists while Szypula had three and Matt Schmalz and Palmu had two apiece.
Herbst was charged with the loss in the Guelph net while Michael McNiven picked up the win for the Attack.
The Storm finished out of the playoffs in 10th place in the Western Conference with a 21-40-5-2 record. They’ll get the second overall pick in the OHL draft April 8.
Owen Sound finished third in the Western Conference seedings at 49-15-2-2. They were a point behind the Midwest Division winning Erie Otters who finished at 50-15-2-1 after a win over the Storm in Erie Saturday night. The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are seeded second in the conference after finishing first in the West Division at 48-16-3-1, two points behind Owen Sound.
The Western Conference quarter-finals will pit Erie against the Sarnia Sting (31-30-6-1), Sault Ste. Marie against the Flint Firebirds (32-28-3-5), Owen Sound against the Kitchener Rangers (36-27-3-2) and the London Knights (46-15-3-4) against the Windsor Spitfires (41-19-5-3).
While two of the Eastern Conference quarter-finals are set, the other two will be decided after the Sudbury Wolves (26-34-7-0) and Mississauga Steelheads (34-20-6-7) meet in the final game of the league’s regular season Tuesday night at Mississauga. It’s a game that was postponed by poor weather last month.
Sudbury can finish sixth in the conference with a win. If Mississauga wins, the Ottawa 67’s (26-34-7-1) will be sixth. The game does have a bearing on who Mississauga plays in the conference quarter-finals. If they win they play the Wolves. If they lose, they play Ottawa.
The series already decided in the Eastern Conference has the Peterborough Petes (42-21-2-3) playing the Niagara IceDogs (23-35-6-4) and the Kingston Frontenacs (33-26-5-4) playing the Hamilton Bulldogs (33-27-4-4).
The Oshawa Generals (40-23-3-2) will play either Ottawa or Sudbury in the opening round.
The Storm finished the season with no player in the league’s top 50 in scoring. Their leader was rookie Merkley, the first pick in last year’s draft, who finished with 12 goals and 43 assists for 55 points. That tied him for 56th.
Ratcliffe was tied for 60th at 28 goals and 26 assists.
Alex DeBrincat of Erie won the scoring title with 65 goals and 62 assists for 127 points. Runner-up ws teammate Taylor Raddysh with 42 goals and 66 assists for 108 points while Kitchener’s Adam Mascherin finished third with 35 goals and 65 assists for 100 points.
Owen Sound’s McNiven was the top goalie with a 2.30 goals-against average while Michael DiPietro of Windsor was second at 2.35. McNiven, DiPietro and Kingston’s Jeremy Helvig each had six shutouts.
Herbst finished with a 3.93 goals-against average while Storm teammate Anthony Popovich finished at 4.61 in his first year in the league.
Herbst was the Storm’s lone over-age player this season which makes him the only one not eligible to return next season. However, they do have four players born in 1997 (forward McEwan and defencemen Austin Hall, Garrett McFadden and Kyle Rhodes). League rules state that a team can carry four until around the trade deadline when they must cut down to three, but they can never dress more than three for a game.
The 2016-17 season led to the third fewest points for the Storm behind the inaugural 1991-92 campaign when they had 19 with a 4-51-11 record and last season when they had 32 with a 13-49-4-2 mark. Those are the only seasons the Storm has failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Their 202 goals this season was 46 more than last season’s 156, their all-time low, while their 297 goals against were the exact same as the season before.
Attack 8 Storm 5
1. Owen Sound, Szypula 11 (Phillips, Durzi), 5:44 pp
2. Guelph, McEwan 19 (Schnarr, Michnac), 7:22
3. Owen Sound, Roberts 8 (Schmalz, Pryce), 10:44
4. Guelph, Merkley 12 (Smith, Schnarr), 14:54 pp
Penalties: Merkley Gue (slashing), 5:37; Friend OS (tripping), 13:38.
5. Owen Sound, Centorame 7 (Palmu, Szypula), 5:46
6. Owen Sound, Gadjovich 45 (Palmu, Hancock), 6:39 pp
7. Guelph, Hotchkiss 14 (Moncada), 7:45
8. Guelph, Ratcliffe 28 (Hawel ), 8:02
9. Owen Sound, Palmu 41 (Szypula), 12:51
Penalties: Szypula OS (interference), Ratcliffe Gue (hooking), 1:24; Makkonen Gue (cross checking), 5:46; Gadjovich OS (holding), 16:32; Samorukov Gue (clipping), 19:36.
10. Owen Sound, Roberts 9 (Phillips, Schmalz), 4:05
11. Guelph, Hawel 9 (Ratcliffe, Herbst), 9:42
12. Owen Sound, Sushko 18 (Phillips, Szypula), 15:46 pp
13. Owen Sound, Roberts 10 (Suzuki, Phillips), 17:43 en
Penalties: Cameron OS (unsportsmanlike conduct), Schnarr Gue (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:12; Schnarr Gue (high sticking), 13:47.
Shots on Goal
Owen Sound 6-16-14–36
Goalies: McNiven (W, 41-9-2-2, 20 shots-15 saves), Owen Sound; Herbst (L, 14-23-4-1, 35 shots-28 saves), Guelph.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Owen Sound 3-4; Guelph 1-2.
Referees: Goldenberg, Wilson; Linesmen: A.Smith, Tang.
- Guelph Sports Journal