For the second straight night, the Guelph Storm found themselves in an early hole – down 4-0 to the Kitchener Rangers just minutes into the second period. It was a hole not even a hat trick and four-point night performance from veteran James McEwan could help dig out of in what would end up being a 7-5 final on Friday night.
Starting out flat, the Storm put two shots on Rangers’ netminder, Luke Richardson, through the first 20 minutes of play. Richardson went on to make 20 of 25 saves in the win. For the Storm, Anthony Popovich was relieved 2:17 into the second period, allowing three goals on 11 shots. Rookie Nico Daws shouldered the rest of the load in relief, turning aside 15 of 19 Kitchener attempts in the loss.
Offensively, outside of McEwan’s second star performance with three goals and one assist recorded in the latter half of the contest, both Barret Kirwin and Dmitri Samorukov tallied two assists.
For the Rangers, winger Joseph Garreffa registered four assists for first star honours, with Adam Mascherin adding two goals on the night.
Following a tough first period that saw goals from Kole Sherwood and Mascherin less than a minute apart, the Rangers used the opening four minutes of the second to make it a 4-0 game with markers from Guelph native Connor Bunnaman and Jonathan Yantsis’ first of the season.
Isaac Ratcliffe eventually got things going for the Storm minutes later, getting the visitors on the board by crashing the net for his ninth of the season. At the 7:52 point of the period, rookie Cam Hillis followed suit with a one-timer, cutting the Rangers lead in half to make it a 4-2 contest.
Less than five minutes later, the Rangers capitalized on poor defensive decision making, restoring a three goal lead as Nick McHugh made it a 5-2 contest.
The teams then exchanged power play tallies in the latter half of the second – first with McEwan netting his first of the night to pull the Storm back to within two, only to have Mascherin net his 11th of the season 1:50 later, making it a 6-3 game with 20 minutes remaining.
An unassisted marker from the Rangers’ Cole Carter all but solidified things minutes before the halfway point of the third, but McEwan added his seventh and eighth of the season in the final five minutes of the game to round out the hat trick performance, the second of his career, in a 7-5 loss for the Storm.
The Storm will look to rebound on Sunday, hosting the Sarnia Sting for a 6pm puck drop. Purchase your tickets online here, by calling (519) 837-9690, or in person at the Guelph Storm Box Office in Old Quebec Street Mall.
Guelph Storm 5 at Kitchener Rangers 7 – Status: Final
Friday, November 17, 2017 – Kitchener Memorial Auditorium
Guelph 0 3 2 – 5
Kitchener 2 4 1 – 7
1st Period-1, Kitchener, Sherwood 7 (Garreffa, Stanley), 14:11. 2, Kitchener, Mascherin 10 (Stanley, Garreffa), 14:52. Penalties-Primeau Gue (high sticking), 13:39; Damiani Kit (hooking), 13:44.
2nd Period-3, Kitchener, Bunnaman 12 (Sherwood, Garreffa), 2:17 (PP). 4, Kitchener, Yantsis 1 (McHugh, Petizian), 3:32. 5, Guelph, Ratcliffe 9 (Primeau), 5:49. 6, Guelph, Hillis 8 (McEwan, Samorukov), 7:52. 7, Kitchener, McHugh 4 (Yantsis), 12:13. 8, Guelph, McEwan 6 (Ralph, Toropchenko), 14:47 (PP). 9, Kitchener, Mascherin 11 (Garreffa, Damiani), 16:37 (PP). Penalties-Ratcliffe Gue (check from behind), 1:32; Vallati Kit (tripping), 14:27; Kirwin Gue (hooking), 15:36; Ratcliffe Gue (roughing), 20:00; Damiani Kit (slashing), 20:00.
3rd Period-10, Kitchener, Carter 4 8:37. 11, Guelph, McEwan 7 (Bertuzzi, Kirwin), 15:34. 12, Guelph, McEwan 8 (Kirwin, Samorukov), 17:30 (PP). Penalties-Sherwood Kit (tripping), 9:11; Hall Kit (holding), 17:09; Bertuzzi Gue (blindsiding), 19:46.
Shots on Goal-Guelph 2-12-11-25. Kitchener 10-14-6-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Guelph 2 / 4; Kitchener 2 / 4.
Goalies–Guelph, Popovich 10-7-0-1 (11 shots-8 saves); Daws 0-1-0-1 (19 shots-15 saves). Kitchener, Richardson 7-5-1-0 (25 shots-20 saves).
Referees-Aaron Neely (15), Ben Wilson (32).
Linesmen-Scott Lawson (98), Kevin Hastings (61).