Monday night at the Sleeman Centre, the Storm surrendered a pair of goals ten minutes apart in the middle frame and couldn’t overcome the two goal deficit dropping a tight checking 2-1 decision. The two clubs are right back at it with Game Four of the series going Tuesday night at the Sleeman Centre.
After a two-night layoff, the two clubs wasted little time mixing it up as emotions ran high in the early going. Less than eight minutes in, the Storm had a golden opportunity to score the first goal of the game for the first time in the series with a brief five-on-three advantage but failed to convert. The Greyhounds gained some momentum from the penalty kill and less than ten minutes later enjoyed a five-on-three opportunity of their own. Guelph’s penalty kill stood tall during the 82 second two-man advantage and when the Soo had a few quality chances, Thomas McCollum closed the door with a key stop. All told, the physical first period featured twelve minors with both clubs misfiring on five powerplay opportunities. Shots on goal in the frame were 14-11 in favour of the Greyhounds.
Four minutes into the second, the visitors ended the scoreless draw off a broken play to the right of McCollum. Dustin Jeffrey picked up a wide feed from Michael Quesnele, then spun and fired a hard shot through traffic that snuck past McCollum. Just over eight minutes later, Guelph had another chance to get on the board but couldn’t convert after Dylan King cleared the puck into the crowd. Moments after the Soo killed off their sixth straight Storm powerplay, Matt Caria spotted Arron Alphonso behind the Storm defence and fed a perfect pass to send the streaking winger in all alone. Alphonso didn’t waste the opportunity faking to the forehand then lifting a backhander past McCollum to double the Soo lead to 2-0. Before the end of the second, the Storm would finally solve Gajewski with Matt Lyall in the box for a hard slash on Drew Doughty. After Rafael Rotter threw a pass back to Doughty, the Storm blueliner sidestepped a Soo forward and wristed a shot from the top of the circle. Brandon Buck deflected the high wrist shot under Gajewski for his fourth of the playoffs and energized the Storm crowd. Headed to the break with a one-goal lead, the Greyhounds outshot Guelph 11-10 in the second and were ahead 25-21 after two.
The Storm pressed in the final period taking a few chances and outshooting the Soo 13-8, but couldn’t manage the equalizer. Matt Kennedy from the side of the net just past the mid-way mark of the stanza and a barrage of shots from in tight during the dying seconds were as close as they would come. Both goalies continued to shine in the game as the Hounds held on for a 2-1 win.
Game Four goes Tuesday night in Guelph for a 7 pm start. Tickets for Game Four or Game Six (if necessary) on Saturday night at the Sleeman Centre are on sale in person or by calling (519) 837-9690.