Storm come up just short in 4-3 shootout loss to Greyhounds

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds have won 23 straight as of Saturday night.

The Guelph Storm, however, came pretty close to putting an end to that streak in a 4-3 shootout loss.

In a game that featured everything from incredible goaltending, to goal scoring, and extra time, the Storm came up just short with no goals scored in the shootout, while Jack Kopacka netted the lone goal to give the Greyhounds the win.

Isaac Ratcliffe potted two goals for the second consecutive game, earning second star honours, with rookie Cam Hillis recording a two assists in the loss.

Goaltender Anthony Popovich was as strong as ever between the pipes, turning away 39 of 42 attempts.

For the Greyhounds, former Storm defenceman Noah Carroll tallied three assist’s for the game’s first star, while Morgan Frost and Barrett Hayton each posted one goal and one assist. In the blue paint, Matthew Villalta earned the win with 38 saves, and stopping all three Storm shootout attempts.

The Greyhounds got things going offensively on the man advantage, with Tim Gettinger opening the scoring with a high shot off the post from the face off dot 8:26 into the game.

In the last four minutes of the frame, the Storm responded as Ratcliffe buried the puck on a scramble in front to get the visitors on the board.

The Greyhounds regained the lead though, as Carroll put a point shot off the end boards to Frost, who potted his 21st of the season, making it a 2-1 game with 1:50 remaining in the first.

The middle frame was all Storm, coming out with noticeable energy to take control on the scoreboard with two goals in the final five minutes of the period.

First, shorthanded, Liam Hawel took advantage of a turnover, turning the other way with Givani Smith. Smith, fed by Hawel, with two Greyhounds on him, tied the game up at two with his sixth of the season.

Less than two minutes later it was Ratliffe striking again, spinning on the backhand to register his second of the game, and giving the Storm a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.

The Greyhounds responded quickly though, as a Carroll point shot was redirected by Hayton to tie the game up at three just 28 seconds into the third.

The remainder of the period and overtime solved nothing, forcing a shootout to be the deciding factor.

Ratcliffe, Merkley, and Hawel all shot from the Storm, having unsuccessful attempts.

For the Greyhounds, it was Kopacka with the lone goal, securing the 23rd straight win for the Soo. Rasmus Sandin and Morgan Frost were the other shooters.

The Storm are right back in action on Sunday afternoon, visiting the Sudbury Wolves for a 2pm puck drop.

Guelph Storm 3 at Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 (SO) – Status: Final SO
Saturday, December 30, 2017 – Essar Centre

Guelph 1 2 0 0 – 3
Sault Ste. Marie 2 0 1 0 – 4

1st Period-1, Sault Ste. Marie, Gettinger 19 (Carroll, Hayton), 8:26 (PP). 2, Guelph, Ratcliffe 17 (Hillis, Lalonde), 16:17. 3, Sault Ste. Marie, Frost 21 (Carroll, Sandin), 18:50. Penalties-Smith Gue (tripping), 7:18.

2nd Period4, Guelph, Smith 6 (Hawel), 15:27 (SH). 5, Guelph, Ratcliffe 18 (Hillis, McEwan), 17:15. Penalties-Hillis Gue (high sticking, high sticking), 13:00.

3rd Period-6, Sault Ste. Marie, Hayton 15 (Carroll, Frost), 0:28. Penalties-Trott Ssm (interference), 7:39; Lalonde Gue (interference), 8:25; DeMeo Ssm (interference), 9:14; Verbeek Ssm (slashing), 14:06.

OT Period– No Scoring. Penalties-McFadden Gue (tripping), 4:20.

ShootoutGuelph 0 (Ratcliffe NG, Merkley NG, Hawel NG), Sault Ste. Marie 1 (Kopacka G, Sandin NG, Frost NG).
Shots on GoalGuelph 10-11-15-5-0-41. Sault Ste. Marie 16-16-8-2-1-43.
Power Play OpportunitiesGuelph 0 / 3; Sault Ste. Marie 1 / 4.
GoaliesGuelph, Popovich 17-10-1-2 (42 shots-39 saves). Sault Ste. Marie, Villalta 23-2-1-0 (41 shots-38 saves).
Referees-Ben Wilson (32), Patrick Battista (10).
Linesmen-Scott Reed (81), Troy Miller (74).

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