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Game Preview: Storm host Spirit Friday, 7:30pm

OHL Images/Aaron Bell

On Friday, the Storm host the Saginaw Spirit in a key match-up with huge playoff implications where a Storm loss would drop them to 8th. Puck drop is set for 7:30 pm. Guelph has won all three games in the season series so far. The last game in Guelph back on February 9th was the closest with the Spirit scoring late to push overtime. Isaac Ratcliffe would eventually score the overtime winner and the Storm would take home the two points with a 4-3 victory. The London native has been the Storm’s most consistent goal scorer throughout the three game series recording at least one goal in each game for a total of four.

Tickets are very limited for Friday’s game, but can be purchased either in-person at the Sleeman Centre Box Office, by calling (519) 837-9690 or online at ticketmaster.com.

Saginaw Spirit

After just missing the playoffs last year, the Spirit will see hockey past the regular season this year, clinching a playoff birth with a win over the Wolves last weekend. That win also snapped a six game losing skid that saw the Spirit out shot 24-4. With a record of 28-26-8-0, they currently sit 8th in the Western Conference. Their 64 points, place them one point behind Guelph and Windsor in the standings.

One of the key acquisitions the Spirit made happened early in the season. Trading Mason Kohn has had a very positive impact on this team. In 48 games with the Spirit, he has 16 goals and 30 assists, putting him just under a point per game. Kohn was with the Oshawa Generals to start the season, recording just 5 points in his first 10 games.

Guelph Storm

The Storm are starting to see the turnaround after drafting high in the last 2 seasons. Guelph is going to the playoffs for the first time in the last couple years. They have a record of 28-26-5-4 for 65 points. This is good enough for the 7th seed in the Western Conference, ahead of Saginaw and tied with Windsor.

Rookie forward Keegan Stevenson is the only Storm player with a plus rating this season. Playing in 56 games so far, the Sault St. Marie native is a +6. He has scored four goals, two of which came last weekend, and five assists for nine points. With 27 shots on goal and four goals scored, the 16 year old has a shooting percentage of 14.8%.

Head to Head

2017-18 Regular Season
SAG 0-2-1-0 GUE 3-0-0-0
2016-17 Regular Season
SAG 2-2-0-0 GUE 2-2-0-0
Last Five Years
SAG 7-10-1-1 GUE 12-7-0-0
Last Five Years At Saginaw
SAG 3-7-0-0 GUE 7-3-0-0
Last Five Years At Guelph
SAG 4-3-1-1 GUE 5-4-0-0
Previous Meetings This Season
Top Scorers
Saginaw Guelph
(12-40-52)
(12-51-63)
(17-34-51)
(38-25-63)
(26-22-48)
(19-35-54)
(18-23-41)
(6-37-43)
(19-21-40)
(14-26-40)
Last 5 Games
Saginaw Guelph
2 – 5 L @ London (2018-03-07)
0 – 2 L v. Oshawa (2018-02-25)
5 – 6 L v. Flint (2018-03-02)
1 – 4 L @ Erie (2018-02-23)
Match Up
Saginaw Guelph
Season Record 28-26-8-0 28-26-5-4
Last 10 Games 3-7-0-0 1-5-3-1
Streak 1-0-0-0 0-1-1-0
Last Game 5-2 W vs Sudbury (2018-03-04) Final 5-2 L @ London (2018-03-07) Final
Home Record 17-14-2-0 16-9-5-2
Away Record 11-12-6-0 12-17-0-2
Goals For 183 211
Goals Against 215 242
Power Plays 38/247 (15.4%) 52/231 (22.5%)
Power Plays – Home 19/131 (14.5%) 22/114 (19.3%)
Power Plays – Away 19/116 (16.4%) 30/117 (25.6%)
Penalty Killing 48/228 (78.9%) 43/214 (79.9%)
Penalty Killing – Home 24/114 (78.9%) 18/110 (83.6%)
Penalty Killing – Away 24/114 (78.9%) 25/104 (76%)
Leading Rookie Jenkins (19-21-40) Hillis (19-35-54)
Most Penalty Minutes Max Grondin Ryan Merkley
Team PIM/GM 9/62 8.9/63

Players to Watch

This game will feature 10 players who have been drafted into the NHL. Guelph has six, five of which were taken in the 2017 NHL Draft. Isaac Ratcliffe (Philadelphia Flyers) was a 2nd round pick. Nate Schnarr (Arizona Coyotes) and Dimitri Samorukov (Edmonton Oilers) were 3rd round picks. Liam Hawel (Dallas Stars) and Alexey Toropchenko (St. Louis Blues) went in the 4th round. The sole 2016 draftee was Mark Shoemaker (San Jose Sharks), who was taken in the 6th round. Saginaw has the remain 4 players drafted. Keaton Middleton (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Evan Cormier (New Jersey Devils) were both 4th round draft picks in 2016. Rielly Webb (Detroit Red Wings) was taken in the 6th round of 2017 and forward Brady Gilmour (Detroit Red Wings) was a 7th round pick that year.

Playing in only two games against Saginaw, Nate Schnarr has played well against the Spirit, assisting on three goals in those games. Overall, he has 15 goals and 22 assists for 37 points this season in 53 games for the Storm. Damien Giroux has also played well against the Storm, getting a point in each game in this match-up this season. Of his 18 goals and 23 assists, one goal and two assists have come against Guelph.

Upcoming Game

On Saturday, the Storm travel to Sarnia to take on the Sting for the fourth and final time this season. This game may be setting up a possible playoff match-up between these two clubs. Sarnia has won each game against the Storm, but two of them have been pushed into overtime.

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