Storm end weekend with 3-2 win over Knights

Aaron Bell/OHL Images

It was a busy weekend for the Guelph Storm, wrapping up a three-in-three in London on Sunday afternoon.

For Ryan Merkley, it was his fourth game in just as many days after participating in the NHL / CHL Sherwin-Williams Top Prospect game on Thursday, but showed no signs of that.

With a three-point effort, including the game winning goal, Merkley helped lift the Storm to a 3-2 win over the London Knights, earning the game’s second star.

Also playing in his fourth game in four consecutive days was rookie Cam Hillis, who posted two assists in the win, registering a total of six points (one goal, five assists) this weekend.

Liam Hawel added to the offence as well, recording a goal and an assist in Sunday’s win.

Between the pipes, Anthony Popovich got the nod after a night off in Owen Sound on Saturday, turning aside 25 shots. For the Knights, Jordan Kooy faced 32 Storm attempts, stopping 29 in the loss.

Offensively, Knights’ captain Evan Bouchard led the way with two points (one goal, one assist) and eight shots on net.

To start the Midwest Division tilt, Hawel gave the Storm a quick 1-0 lead, walking in off the wall behind the goal just 3:48 into the game.

Later in the first, Isaac Ratcliffe followed up on the effort, doubling the lead on the man-advantage as Merkley put a shot on net, only to have the Philadelphia Flyers prospect bang it home on the door step.

Just short of three minutes later, the Knights responded, getting on the board with a quick passing play between Liam Foudy and Billy Moskal on the rush, with Moskla slipping it past Popovich to make it 2-1 heading into the middle frame.

Not even two minutes into the second, though, Merkley struck again for a goal of his own with a shot from the high slot, putting the Storm up by two for the second time in the contest.

Quick to respond again, the Knights pulled to within one as Bouchard put a point shot by Popovich on the power play 2:40 into the second.

Still down by one, that was as close as the game would come with the Storm grinding out a 3-2 final over the Knights.

Next up, the Storm visit the Mississauga Steelheads on Thursday, and return home on Friday to host the Owen Sound Attack in the club’s Canadian Mental Health Association Night. For tickets, click here, call (519) 837-9690, or visit the Storm Box Office in Old Quebec Street Mall.

Guelph Storm 3 at London Knights 2 – Status: Final
Sunday, January 28, 2018 – Budweiser Gardens

Guelph 2 1 0 – 3
London 1 1 0 – 2

1st Period1, Guelph, Hawel 7 (Merkley, McEwan), 3:48. 2, Guelph, Ratcliffe 26 (Merkley, Hillis), 11:50 (PP). 3, London, Moskal 2 (Foudy, Bouchard), 14:47. Penalties-Shoemaker Gue (tripping), 5:43; Popov Ldn (cross checking), 11:32; Poirier Gue (slashing), 13:18; Tymkin Ldn (hooking), 14:06.

2nd Period4, Guelph, Merkley 12 (Hawel, Hillis), 1:22. 5, London, Bouchard 16 (Rollo, Dunkley), 2:40 (PP). Penalties-Primeau Gue (tripping), 2:16; Merkley Gue (hooking), 9:01.

3rd Period– No Scoring. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on GoalGuelph 15-8-9-32. London 6-13-8-27.
Power Play OpportunitiesGuelph 1 / 2; London 1 / 4.
GoaliesGuelph, Popovich 23-14-1-2 (27 shots-25 saves). London, Kooy 6-6-0-1 (32 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Joe Celestin (4), Ryan Hutchison (20).
Linesmen-Chris Chapman (50), Geoff Rutherford (62).

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