It was another must win for the Guelph Storm on Friday night.
Hosting the Saginaw Spirit, the teams went into the tilt tied in the standings, with both squads looking to leap-frog with two big points.
With a fitting overtime finish, the Storm didn’t jump ahead by two, but did grab the all-important extra point on the table with a 4-3 final as Isaac Ratcliffe posted his 30th of the season for the win.
Cedric Ralph was the game’s first star, recording his 19th of the year on an impressive shorthanded break.
Defenseman Dmitri Samorukov — recognized with third star honours — had an impressive performance two points (one goal, one assist), while Cam Hillis led the way with one goal and two assists on the night.
For the Spirit, Cole Coskey earned the game’s second star with two points (one goal, one assist), with rookie Nicholas Porco matching his totals, and defenseman Hayden Davis posting two assists in the loss.
Between the pipes, Anthony Popovich had his second start in just as many nights for the Storm, making 31 saves, while the Spirit’s goaltenders shared the crease with Evan Cormier making 29 saves through 59:45 of play until a broken skate forced rookie Cameron Lamour to finish out the game, turning aside four shots through 4:47 of play.
To start things off, Hillis potted a shorthanded tally at the 5:39 point of the first, following up on an odd bounce off the end boards for his 19th of the season. Later, minutes before the halfway point of the game, the Storm jumped ahead to a 2-0 lead courtesy of a blast from the point from Dmitri Samorukov on the power play.
The Spirit responded with two goals of their own, though — first on the power play with a quick release from Cole Coskey in the slot, followed by a breakaway goal from Camaryn Baber for his career’s first just over two minutes later, tying the game.
Moving into the third, only 1:49 into the frame, Garrett McFadden found Ralph with a long feed, who used an impressive burst of speed to drive the net for his 19th of the season, putting the Storm ahead 3-2.
In the latter half of the third, it was tie game once again as a low shot got through for an initial save from Popovich, only to have Porco burry the rebound on the doorstep.
With regulation solving nothing, the match-up went to overtime, which featured strong possession from the Storm for almost the full five minutes until Ratcliffe made no mistake with a wrist shot from the slot to register his 30th goal of the season with just 28 seconds remaining.
With three consecutive wins, the Storm look ahead to Sunday’s match-up as divisional rivals, the London Knights, are in town for a 2:00pm puck drop. Tickets can be purchased online here, by calling (519) 837-9690, or in person at the Guelph Storm Box Office in Old Quebec Street Mall.
Saginaw Spirit 3 at Guelph Storm 4 (OT) – Status: Final OT
Friday, February 9, 2018 – Sleeman Centre
Saginaw 0 2 1 0 – 3
Guelph 1 1 1 1 – 4
1st Period–1, Guelph, Hillis 19 5:39 (SH). Penalties-Schnarr Gue (hooking), 4:55; Shoemaker Gue (tripping), 11:09; Penman Sag (holding), 16:45.
2nd Period–2, Guelph, Samorukov 8 (Hillis, Schnarr), 5:04 (PP). 3, Saginaw, Coskey 24 (Giroux), 11:18 (PP). 4, Saginaw, Baber 1 (Porco, Davis), 13:44. Penalties-Katic Sag (high sticking), 1:29; Jenkins Sag (hooking), 4:03; Hawel Gue (hooking), 11:14; Everett Sag (tripping), 15:38.
3rd Period–5, Guelph, Ralph 19 (McFadden), 1:49 (SH). 6, Saginaw, Porco 4 (Coskey, Davis), 14:01 (PP). Penalties-Schnarr Gue (slashing), 0:39; Samorukov Gue (hooking), 12:14; served by Porco Sag (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 17:10.
OT Period–7, Guelph, Ratcliffe 30 (Hillis, Samorukov), 4:32. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Saginaw 13-11-10-0-34. Guelph 8-8-17-4-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Saginaw 2 / 5; Guelph 1 / 5.
Goalies-Saginaw, Cormier 20-15-6-0 (33 shots-29 saves); Lamour 5-4-1-0 (4 shots-4 saves). Guelph, Popovich 26-16-1-2 (34 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Jason Goldenberg (19), Mike Marley (31).
Linesmen-Brady Fagan (70), Dave Pfohl (96).