From the Stands
By Paul Osborne, The Guelph Tribune
The big question coming into the Guelph-London Western Conference final was if the Storm could get the lead in the series, how would the Knights react? How would they handle the first adversity they’d been forced to face all season.
The answer so far is, not well.
Led by Head Coach Dale Hunter’s constant mocking of the officials with his childish hand clapping, the team has imploded at crunch time. Forward Corey Perry put himself ahead of the team in game four by crushing Niko Tuomi’s head against the glass with his elbow with just over three minutes remaining in a one goal game. He and teammate Rick Steadman then followed the example set out by their coach, tearing a strip off the official leading to their expulsion from the game when it was still up for grabs.
Afterwards, Hunter suggested referee Steve Webb had a personal vendetta against his family.
“He’s kicked out Dylan (Hunter, Dale’s son), Logan (Hunter, Dale’s nephew), Steadman (nephew), now Steady again. Maybe it’s something personal between me and him and he’s taking it out on my family. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask him.”
How the Ontario Hockey League puts up with his antics, is a mystery to me. Yes, he was the OHL Coach of the Year, but when things don’t go his way he goes out of his way to not only embarrass himself and his organization, but the league that he works in. It won’t stop either. He and his brother’s also own the team so there is no one to answer to; no one to call him onto the carpet ordering him to put the team first and not his petty frustrations.
With that said, London played their best game of the series Sunday night. For the first time in the series they carried the play 5-on-5 but Guelph special teams and goaltender Adam Dennis were the difference. The Storm went 4-for-7 on the powerplay, while the Knights were 0-4.
“We are glad we are up 3-1 in the series” said Dennis who was the first star of the game, “but they had 110 points (during the regular season) for a reason. They won’t quit fighting.”
The Knights have been coming on, yet Guelph keeps finding a way to win. London outplayed the Storm in Game three for the first two periods, before the Storm exploded for three third period goals to overcome a 3-1 deficit and win 4-3.
Guelph will try to wrap up this series Thursday night in London. There is a sense that you don’t want to give this talented Knights team any hope. They are an explosive bunch that could easily get on a roll if you open the door just a crack.
“We still have the most difficult win to get” said Storm Coach Shawn Camp. “We are not taking anything for granted. We learned in the Owen Sound series that we can’t afford to sit back.”
From the Land of Oz?..Jakub Koreis led the Storm offense in game four with two goals and an assist?.Kevin Klein has had a monster playoff with 8 goals and 9 assists (good for third in OHL playoff scoring). He scored twice in the Storm’s comeback win in game three and has four goals and two assists in the first four games?.St. Michael’s Majors defeated Mississauga 4-3 to grab a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference final. Majors star forward Tim Brent was forced to leave the game after being hit by the IceDogs Chris Bain. Bain was ejected from the game and faces a possible suspension. There was no word on the extent of Brent’s injury?Tyler Haskins, traded to Toronto to get Klein earlier in the year has three goals for St. Mike’s in the series?.Game six, if necessary in the Guelph-London series will be played Friday night at the GSEC. Game five is in London Thursday night.