Storm drop season opener in overtime, fall 4-3 in Windsor


The Guelph Storm showed all sorts of fire power in the first game of the 2018-19 Season on Thursday night in Windsor, but fell just short of the first win.

The Storm put a total of 46 shots on the Windsor Spitfires’ rookie netminder, Kari Piiroinen, who made 43 saves, earning first star honours in the 4-3 final.

Storm netminder Anthony Popovich was also a strong spot in the loss, turning aside 26 of 29 shots faced, including several big saves in crucial moments throughout the match-up.

Offensively, Liam Hawel and Nate Schnarr each had two-point nights with two goals and one goal and an assist, respectively.

Rookie Ty Collins earned his first career OHL point in the game, assisting on Hawel’s second goal of the game in the third period.

Piiorinen stole the show through the first 20 minutes, turning away a total of 19 shots faced as the Storm held the momentum for the majority of the frame. For the Storm, Popovich wasn’t far behind the spotlight, facing 11 shots, including a few big saves to keep the game scoreless heading into the second period.

Things stayed busy for both goaltenders in the middle frame, with the Storm outshooting the Spitfires 15-12. The Spitfires were first to strike on the scoreboard, though, as Lev Starikov opened the scoring at the 6:14 mark, seconds after a penalty to Cam Hillis expired.

Later in the period, Schnarr – all alone in front – got the Storm on the board, tying things up off a rebound.

Although, it would take just 54 seconds for the Spitfires to regain the lead, capitalizing on an odd play, as icing was waived off only to have Mat MacDougall make it a one-goal game once again.

The back-and-forth play continued in the third, starting with Hawel tying things up at two just 38 seconds into the frame.

Hawel struck again later in the period, giving the Storm their first lead of the game.

A lead that wouldn’t last long, as the Spitfires’ Will Cuylle tied things up at three just over a minute later, eventually forcing overtime.

In the extra period, the Spitfires took home the extra point as Luke Kutkevicius scored at the 2:03 point on a delayed penalty call to the Storm.

The Storm will look to build on their first point of the 2018-19 Season on Friday at the Sleeman Centre as they host the Sudbury Wolves.

For tickets to the Storm’s home opener, click here. All fans with a ticket to the game are invited to join the first annual Fan Fest from 4-7pm. For more information, click here.

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The 2018-19 Season is proudly presented by RBC.

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