Storm top Otters to close in on berth in playoffs

GUELPH – The Guelph Storm are a win away from clinching a berth in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.

The Storm scored three times in the third period, including twice in the final three minutes, to down the Erie Otters 5-3 Friday night at the Sleeman Centre.

Guelph remains third in the Midwest Division, but moves into a tie with the Windsor Spitfires for fifth in the Western Conference. Both teams have 70 points, but Windsor has a game in hand.

The Storm are also 14 points ahead of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds who are ninth in the Western Conference. The Hounds have eight games to play which means the most points they can accumulate this season is 72. That’s the total the Storm will have with another win and the Storm will win a tie-breaker with Soo as they’ve won three of the four regular-season games.

The locals will also clinch a playoff berth with the next loss by the Greyhounds.

Friday at the Sleeman Centre, the teams were tied 1-1 at the end of the first period before Erie took a 3-2 lead by the end of the second thanks to a shorthanded goal midway through the period and a power-play goal with 24 seconds left in the frame. Guelph had scored early in the period.

The Storm tied it early in the third and then shot ahead with a power-play goal with 2:40 to play. They added an insurance goal into an empty net with 14 seconds to go.

Pavel Gogolev struck for a pair of goals for the Storm while Matthew Papais, Cedric Ralph and Eric Uba had one apiece. Cam Hillis and Fedor Gordeev each had two assists while Keegan Stevenson and Jacob Roach collected one each.

Elias Cohen, Maxim Golod and Jamie Drysdale netted the goals for Erie while Chad Yetman had two assists and Drysdale and Connor Lockhart had one each.

The Storm outshot Erie 37-24 and went 1-for-2 on their power play while the Otters went 1-for-4.

Nico Daws picked up the win for the hosts with 21 saves while Daniel Murphy took the loss despite making 32 saves.

Gogolev’s goals give him 41 for the season. He has 10 games to reach the 50-goal plateau that Isaac Ratcliffe hit last season which was the most since Scott Kosmachuk scored 49 in the 2013-14 season.

The Storm are to play the Spitfires at Windsor’s WFCU Centre at 7:05 p.m.


Storm 5 Otters 3
Erie           1-2-0–3
Guelph     1-1-3–5
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