The Guelph Storm played a strong offensive and defensive game against the North Bay Battalion. Dawning their new one-of-a-kind Vimy Ridge commemorative jerseys, the Storm took home Friday nights game 6-2.
For the Storm, Anthony Popovich denied the Battalion 33 attempts at scoring, keeping his team in the lead for the entire game. The Battalion’s Julian Sime stopped 34 shots on net, unfortunately for him it wasn’t enough.
The first period got off to a quick start. The Storm brought the puck over the blue line with their sites set on the Battalion’s net. Ryan Merkley fired a shot that was deflected, this left Matt Hotchkiss in a perfect position to score the first goal of the game and his second of the season less than one minute into the game. Later in the period Hotchkiss set up Nate Schnarr in front of the net and he was able to sneak the puck by Smie to score his fourth of the season at 12:15. With this goal, the Storm were up 2-0 but they did not want to quit there. Barret Kirwin and James McEwan skated down the ice and with a quick pass from Kirwin, McEwan was able to score his fifth of the season at 17:15. The Storm left for the locker room leading the Battalion 3-0 and outshooting them 15-13.
Merkley started the second period out with a penalty for hooking for the Storm at 1:53. But after a shaky start the Storm was able to pull themselves together. Isaac Ratcliffe scored his sixth goal of the season with help from Alexey Toropchenko and Cam Hillis at 12:36, extending the Storms lead to 4-0. The Battalion had enough and struck back with their own goal at 15:01. Cam Dineen and Kyle Potts setup Riley Bruce to score his second of the season for the Battalion making the score 4-1. They did not stop there as Brett McKenzie scored his fourth of the season at 19:08 with assists from Jesse Saban and Luke Burghardt. Both teams left the ice with the score set at 4-2. The Battalion lead the period’s shots 15-13.
The Storm came out of their locker room ready to add to their lead, unfortunately when the chance came the Battalion’s Riley Bruce stopped them, taking a two minute interference penalty at 2:27. Not too long after, the Storm came back down the ice for a beautiful three-on-one play. Torochenko poked the puck away from the Battalion, passed to Hillis who sent it back to Torochenko who finally sent it to Ratcliffe who had no trouble putting the puck in the net and scoring his seventh of the season and his second goal of the game at 6:26. The score was set at 5-2 with much more hockey to be played.
The Battalion tried as hard as they could to get through the Storm’s defence and excellent goaltending, but it wasn’t enough. Late in the third period the Battalion pulled their goalie leaving the net wide open for Merkley to score his sixth goal of the season with help from Liam Hawel and Hotchkiss at 18:58. The score would remain at 6-2 in favour of the Guelph Storm as the final whistle blew ending the third period. The Storm outshot the Battalion 12-7 in the last period of play.
Guelph outshot North Bay 40-35 and claimed all three stars of the game. The third star was awarded to Hotchkiss, the second to Schnarr and the first to Ratcliffe.
You can catch your Guelph Storm back in action at the Sleeman Centre on November 12 where they will be facing the visiting Sudbury Wolves for a 2:00 pm puck drop. You can purchase tickets here.