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Game Preview: Highway Seven rivalry renewed with trip to Kitchener

The Guelph Storm visit their Highway Seven rival, the Kitchener Rangers, for the last time on Tuesday, squaring off for the seventh of eight match-ups this season. 

On Tuesday night, the Guelph Storm (20-33-3-2, 5th Midwest) will travel down Highway Seven for the final time this season, to face divisional rivals, the Kitchener Rangers (32-23-2-2, 4th Midwest).

Starting their three-game week on Tuesday night, the Storm will look to regain their form from last Friday when the beat the Erie Otters, following an 8-1 loss to the London Knights last Sunday. However, it won’t be an easy task as the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium has been a very difficult building for the Storm, with just one win since 2014. That win came this year during the last time these two teams met.

The Rangers, on the other hand, are 5-5 over their last 10, dropping two of their three contests last week. Tuesday night is an important matchup for the Rangers as they find themselves currently sixth in the Western conference just three points ahead of the Firebirds and six points ahead of the Sarnia Sting.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm.

Season Series

Oct. 10: Guelph 4 @ Kitchener 8
Boxscore for Oct. 10

Oct. 16: Guelph 2 vs Kitchener 3
Boxscore for Oct. 16

Nov. 20: Guelph 3 @ Kitchener 6
Boxscore for Nov. 20

Dec. 17: Guelph 5 vs. Kitchener 2
Boxscore for Dec. 17

Jan. 3: Guelph 2 vs. Kitchener 5
Boxscore for Jan. 3

Jan. 20: Guelph 3 @ Kitchener 2
Boxscore for Jan. 20

Player Watch

  • Guelph Storm

With a point in Sunday’s loss, rookie defenceman Ryan Merkley officially took over the team lead in points with 45. No stranger to the Highway Seven series registering a point in every game thus far. The Mississauga, Ontario native will look to cap off an impressive month, registering nine points in his last 10 games. In total, Merkley has 10 goals and 35 assists for 45 points in 52 games played, including seven against the Rangers.

Right behind Merkley is sophomore winger Isaac Ratcliffe. The London, Ontario native has played well against the Highway Seven rivals, registering five points in six games. Despite being held without a point in his last four games, Ratcliffe continues to be one of the Storm’s top offensive threats generating chances. In total, the six-foot-six, 195-pound forward has 23 goals and 21 assists for 44 points in 57 games played.

Rounding out the Storm trio, is the reigning Storm Player of the Week, James McEwan. The Chatham, Ontario native has been a jack of all trades for the Storm playing both forward and defence during the team’s past two games. The veteran forward also potted three goals and was named the first star in the Storm’s win over the Otters last Friday. In total, McEwan has 16 goals and 15 assists for 31 points in 48 games played.

 

  • Kitchener Rangers

Leading the charge offensively for the Rangers is third-year forward Adam Mascherin. The Florida Panthers prospect continues to make big strides offensively, becoming a stronger playmaker, well surpassing his assists from last year. Currently ranked third in league scoring, the Maple, Ontario native has 33 goals and 57 assists for 90 points in 56 games played, including 12 points against the Storm.

Guelph, Ontario native Connor Bunnaman is third on the roster in production, recording 29 goals and 13 assists for 42 points in 55 games this season. The veteran forward is just three goals shy of doubling his sophomore total. Held in check by the Storm, Bunnaman has only two points against the Storm, scoring twice in the first game of the Highway Seven series.

The Rangers top scoring defenceman, Dylan Di Perna continues his best OHL season, registering seven goals and 26 assists for 33 points in 56 games, surpassing his career high’s set last season. The Woodbridge, Ontario native has been on fire as of late with six points in his last five games. The overage defender has appeared in six games against the Storm recording seven assists.

 

GAME NOTES

  • Tuesday’s match-up is the seventh of eight meetings between the Storm and the Rangers this season.
  • Kitchener leads the season series 4-2.
  • Following Tuesday’s game, the Storm return home for a Friday night contest against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. For tickets visit the Storm Box Office in the Old Quebec St. Shoppes, call 519-837-9690 or online here!

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The 2016-17 Season is proudly presented by RBC

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