Storm toppled by Givani Smith and Rangers

KITCHENER – Givani Smith came back to haunt the Guelph Storm as he had a goal and two assists to lead the Kitchener Rangers to a 4-2 victory over his former team in Ontario Hockey League play Sunday at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.

Smith scored the second goal for the Rangers and assisted on goals netted by Adam Liška (Kitchener’s first goal of the game) and Eric Guest (a shorthanded insurance marker). Guelph native Connor Bunnaman scored the game-winner for the Rangers on an unassisted effort.

Smith was traded to the Rangers for three second-round draft picks Jan. 7.

Alaxay Toropchenko and Isaac Ratcliffe hit for a goal apiece for the Storm while Ryan Merkley and Cam Hillis each had one assist.

Other assists for Kitchener went to Michael Vukojevic, Joseph Garreffa and Kole Sherwood.

Kitchener led 1-0 at the end of the first period and 3-1 after the second and the Rangers outshot the Storm 38-30. Both teams were held scoreless on their power plays, Kitchener on five of them and Guelph on three.

Mario Culina picked up the win in net for Kitchener while Anthony Popovich took the loss for the Storm despite turning in a solid effort.

Kitchener leads the Midwest Division at 31-14-2-0 while the Storm is third at 22-18-1-3, six points behind the second-place London Knights (25-17-2-2) and three up on the fourth-place Owen Sound Attack (19-18-2-5).

The Storm is seventh in the Western Conference, two behind both the Saginaw Spirit (23-17-4-0) and Windsor Spitfires (23-17-2-2). Top eight qualify for the playoffs and Owen Sound is eighth, 10 points clear of the ninth-placed Erie Otters (13-24-6-3).

The Storm has a three-in-three weekend this weekend as they’re to host the Flint Firebirds (13-27-3-1) Friday at 7:30 p.m., play the Attack at Owen Sound Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and the Knights at London Sunday at 2 p.m.

For the Storm’s Hillis and Ryan Merkley it’s to be a four-in-four as they’re to play in the Sherwin Williams CHL Top Prospects Game at the Sleeman Centre Thursday.


Rangers 4 Storm 2
First Period
1. Kitchener, Liška (Vukojevic, Smith), 9:14
Penalties: Stanley Kit (high sticking), 7:48; McEwan Gue (interference), 8:15; Toropchenko Gue (illegal equipment), 12:31.
Second Period
2. Kitchener, Smith (Garreffa, Sherwood), 6:26
3. Guelph, Toropchenko (Merkley), 15:15
4. Kitchener, Bunnaman (unassisted) 17:12
Penalties: Yantsis Kit (holding), 9:32; Ratcliffe Gue (roughing), 11:17.
Third Period
5. Guelph, Ratcliffe (Hillis), 11:22
6. Kitchener, Guest (Smith), 14:04 sh
Penalties: Stanley Kit (cross checking), 12:46; Lalonde Gue (high sticking double minor), 14:34; Damiani Kit (high sticking double minor), 14:55; Hillis Gue (face-off violation), 15:11; Merkley Gue (holding, unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:56.
Shots on Goal
Guelph           12-8-10–30
Kitchener     12-15-11–38
Goalies: Popovich (L, 38 shots-34 saves), Guelph; Culina (W, 30 shots-28 saves), Kitchener.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Guelph 0-3; Kitchener 0-5.
  • Guelph Sports Journal