Storm sunk by Saginaw in series opener
SAGINAW – The Guelph Storm surrendered five goals in the second period as they were handed a 7-2 setback by the Saginaw Spirit in the opening game of the Ontario Hockey League’s Western Conference final Thursday night at Saginaw’s Dow Event Center.
The best-of-seven series started two days after the Storm won Game 7 of their conference semifinal with the London Knights to cap a comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the series.
Thursday, the teams were tied 1-1 at the end of the first period, but the hosts scored twice before the second was six and a half minutes old to grab a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Storm did cut the gap to a goal at 8:57 of the second, but the Spirit responded with four consecutive goals including three in the final seven and a half minutes of the second.
Isaac Ratcliffe and Sean Durzi scored the goals for Guelph while assists went to MacKenzie Entwistle, Durzi, Dmitri Samorukov and Nick Suzuki.
Cole Perfetti and Cole Coskey each fired home a pair of goals and Blade Jenkins, Brady Gilmour and Mason Millman added single goals. Gilmour and Perfetti collected two assists apiece and single assists were awarded to Albert Michnac, Millman, Coskey, Reagan O’Grady, Reilly Webb, Nicholas Porco and Camaryn Baber.
Saginaw outshot the Storm 30-28, but was scoreless on its lone power play. Guelph scored on its only power play.
Anthony Popovich was tagged with the loss in the Guelph net. He had 19 saves in the first two periods while Nico Daws played the third and had four saves in his second appearance of the playoffs. He played the final 17:27 in a 7-0 loss to London April 7 in the second game of the conference semifinal.
Ivan Prosvetov picked up the win in net for Saginaw. He stopped 26 shots.
The Spirit finished the regular season second in the Western Conference at 45-17-3-3 while the Storm was fourth at 40-18-6-4.
The teams met four times during the regular season and split those games. The Storm won 6-5 in overtime at Saginaw Sept. 29 and 8-2 at the Sleeman Centre Jan. 30. The Spirit won 5-4 in in a shootout at home Nov. 3 and 5-3 at Guelph March 8.
Second game of the conference final is set for Saturday at Saginaw. Game time is 7:05 p.m.
Winner of the series plays the winners of the Eastern Conference final between the Ottawa 67’s and Oshawa Generals in the OHL final. The 67’s opened that series with a 6-4 win at home Thursday night, scoring four unanswered goals in the third period – including three in the final six minutes – for the win.
Spirit 7 Storm 2
1. Guelph, Ratcliffe (Entwistle, Durzi), 0:40
2. Saginaw, Jenkins (Michnac, Millman), 4:35
Penalty: Durzi Gue (high sticking), 7:34.
3. Saginaw, Gilmour (Coskey), 2:55
4. Saginaw, Perfetti (O’Grady), 6:20
5. Guelph, Durzi (Samorukov, Suzuki), 8:57 pp
6. Saginaw, Coskey (Gilmour, Perfetti), 12:44
7. Saginaw, Perfetti (Gilmour), 15:31
8. Saginaw, Coskey (Webb, Perfetti), 19:34
Penalty: Murray Sag (interference), 7:58.
9. Saginaw, Millman (Porco, Baber), 7:28
Penalties: Gordeev Gue (unsportsmanlike conduct), Wilde Sag (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:17.
Shots on Goal
Goalies: Popovich (L, 40:00, 25 shots-19 saves); Daws (20:00, 5 shots-4 saves), Guelph; Prosvetov (W, 28 shots-26 saves), Saginaw.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Guelph 1-1; Saginaw 0-1.
- Guelph Sports Journal