Multi-point nights by James McEwan and Ryan Merkley helped propel the Guelph Storm out of their slump in a big way, on Friday night, with a 4-2 win.
The Storm opened their final weekend of the 2016-17 season playing host to the Sarnia Sting, who recently clinched the eighth and final seed of Western Conference playoffs. With it being a three-in-three weekend for the Storm, Liam Herbst got the call in net while the Sarnia countered with Justin Fazio.
It was an entertaining first period with back-and-forth action, but neither team was able to find the back of the net.
After 20 minutes of play, the game was scoreless, while the shots were 11-8 in favour of the Sting.
Both teams turned up the pressure to start the second and it quickly resulted in the first goal of the game. Anthony Salinitri potted the game’s first goal with a quick wrist shot past Herbst.
The Storm quickly countered, as Isaac Ratcliffe, streaked down the wing and fired a wrist shot just over the shoulder of Fazio. Givani Smith picked up the assist on the goal, setting a new career high in points.
Albert Michnac gave the Storm their first lead of the game just three minutes later after burying the loose puck in front. James McEwan and Ryan Merkley were credited with the assists on the goal.
However, the Sting had an answer of their own, as Anthony Salinitri scored just two minutes later on the power play with a tremendous one-timer.
Not much separated the two teams after two periods of play, with the score tied at two, and shots tied at 23.
Behind the rowdy Sleeman Centre crowd, the Storm took full control of the game, hemming the Sting deep in their zone for the majority of the period.
The pressure would pay off as Merkley sent an outlet pass to McEwan, springing the veteran on a breakaway. The Chatham, Ontario native made good on his chance converting for his 18th goal of the year, for his 100th career OHL point.
In the dying moments of the game, Garrett McFadden sent a puck down the ice into the empty net scoring a career-high 12th goal from his own goal line. Liam Herbst Was credited with the lone assist.
Herbst made 27 saves in the win, while Fazio turned aside 35 shots in the loss.
With the win, the Storm improve to 21-38-5-2, while the Sting fall to 31-30-6-1.
The Storm return to action Saturday night for their final visit to Erie to face the OHL leading Otters. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm.
- This was the fourth and final meeting between the two teams.
- The season series finished tied at two wins each.
- James McEwan reached the career milestone of 100 career OHL points with his two-point night.
- Isaac Ratcliffe extended his point streak to four games.
- Garrett McFadden extended his point streak to three games.
- GUE James McEwan
- SAR Anthony Salinitri
- GUE Ryan Merkley