The Guelph Storm climbed into a three-way tie for sixth in the Western Conference thanks to a 3-2 road win over the Owen Sound Attack on Saturday night. The victory, Guelph’s third in a row, pulls them within five points of the fourth place Sarnia Sting with the Storm holding three games in hand. Tomorrow afternoon at the Sleeman Centre at 2 pm, the Storm will look to make it four in a row when they host the Kitchener Rangers for RBC Play Hockey Day in support of Guelph Giants hockey. Guelph will wear replica Giants jerseys that will be auctioned off online as part of the special fundraising afternoon.
A pair of powerplay goals only 41 seconds apart in the second gave the visitors a lead they wouldn’t surrender. While Scott Kosmachuk’s second of the contest early in the third proved to be the game winner as the Storm held on over the final minute and a half with Owen Sound pulling Scott Stajcer for a six-on-four advantage and Andrey Pedan in the box.
Coming off a 3-0 Friday night win over the Niagara IceDogs, Garret Sparks entered Saturday’s tilt with a shutout streak of over 100 minutes stretching back to the first period of last Sunday’s win over Sarnia. The Attack tested Sparks early as they recorded the first 10 shots of the period before Guelph hit Stajcer. They finally solved the Storm netminder at the 11:02 mark, but not without a short video review as Mike Halmo crashed the net on the powerplay and poked home his team best 30th of the year.
After a slow start, the Storm rebounded in the second and were rewarded with a one goal edge after 40. A pair of Owen Sound penalties 18 seconds apart gave Guelph 1:42 of five-on-three advantage and they capitalized. Zack Mitchell tied the score, one-timing a Tanner Richard feed from the faceoff circle for his 25th of the season. Just 41 seconds later after Zach Leslie’s point blast bounced off the end wall and back in front, Kosmachuk pounced on the loose puck and gave the Storm their first lead of the evening. The visitors had a great chance to add to the cushion when Daniel Catanacci was handed a five minute major for slew footing, but couldn’t covert.
Early in the third, the trio of Kosmachuk with rookies Hunter Garlent and Jason Dickinson pinned the Attack deep in their zone and they were rewarded with the Storm’s third of the night. Dickinson’s wraparound attempt slid through a crowd beside the goal and found Kosmachuk all alone at the other side for an easy tap in – his 22nd of the campaign. The Attack cut the lead to one with their second powerplay goal of the night, but despite 90 seconds of late pressure they couldn’t manage the equalizer.
Kosmachuk with a pair of goals including the game winner was the first star, while Sparks earned third star honours with another solid start as he turned aside 38 of 40 shots for the win.
Guelph Storm 3 at Owen Sound Attack 2 – Status: Final
Saturday, January 28, 2012 – Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre
Guelph 0 2 1 – 3
Owen Sound 1 0 1 – 2
1st Period-1, Owen Sound, Halmo 30 (Catenacci, Gilbert), 11:03. Penalties-Pedan Gue (cross checking), 3:52; Bertuzzi Gue (check to the head), 6:12; Zweep Os (charging), 6:12; Turcotte Gue (fighting), 9:44; Rymarchuk Os (fighting), 9:44; Richard Gue (check from behind), 12:53; Gaskin Gue (delay of game), 13:36; Kosmachuk Gue (roughing), 16:17; Dotchin Os (roughing), 16:17.
2nd Period-2, Guelph, Mitchell 25 (Richard, Pereira), 9:14 (PP). 3, Guelph, Kosmachuk 21 (Dickinson, Leslie), 9:55 (PP). Penalties-Gilbert Os (hooking), 3:07; Halmo Os (holding opp. stick, misc-abuse of off.), 8:07; Cutting Os (delay of game), 8:25; Catenacci Os (match-slew foot), 11:35; Bertuzzi Gue (fighting), 19:22; Cook Os (fighting), 19:22.
3rd Period-4, Guelph, Kosmachuk 22 (Dickinson, Garlent), 3:20. 5, Owen Sound, Gilbert 6 (Gavrus, Bigras), 13:50 (PP). Penalties-Nastasiuk Os (inter. on goaltender), 12:28; Finn Gue (roughing), 12:41; Horvat Gue (inter. on goaltender, roughing), 13:29; Stajcer Os (roughing), 13:29; Pedan Gue (tripping), 18:29.
Shots on Goal-Guelph 6-14-8-28. Owen Sound 17-9-14-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Guelph 2 / 5; Owen Sound 1 / 5.
Goalies-Guelph, Sparks 18-13-1-2 (40 shots-38 saves). Owen Sound, Stajcer 8-7-2-3 (28 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Jason Faist (5), Seth Ferguson (39).
Linesmen-Tim Steen (75), Mike Zujko (80).