It may have been a bit harder than it had to be, but the Guelph Storm got it done in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Erie Otters on Friday night at the Sleeman Centre.
Up 3-1 at one point in the contest, the Otters pushed back, eventually scoring with 13 seconds remaining in regulation to send things to extra time. The Storm hung on for the two points though, with Cedric Ralph continuing his hot play, scoring his 11th of the season, and second of the game, just 20 seconds into the overtime period to earn first star honours.
Sophomore Barret Kirwin also had a two-point night, recording two assists in the win, while rookie Tag Bertuzzi got in on the offence with his first career OHL goal. Captain Garrett McFadden, who added a nice helper on the game winner, was part of the milestones on the night, playing in his 250th career game in the OHL, and with the Storm.
For the Otters, offence was spread across the board with four different goal scorers, with Owen Headrick as the most note worthy with the tying marker in the dying seconds of the game to push the game into overtime, giving the visitors an earned point.
Between the pipes, Storm netminder Anthony Popovich turned aside 34 of 38 shots, while Otters’ goaltender Troy Timpano made 32 saves.
The Otters got the offensive affair going quickly, scoring the game’s opening goal 3:28 into the contest as Ivan Lodnia recorded his 15th of the year off a rebound.
Seconds before the midway point of the first, the Storm took control of the scoreboard, first with rookie Cam Hillis potting his 12th of the season on the power play, and then just short of four minutes later, veteran Givani Smith making it a 3-1 contest from an off-angle shot at the side of the net.
Ralph added to the lead 4:21 into the middle frame off of a nice feed from Kirwin, but just over a minute later, the Otters struck back as Maxim Golod made it 3-2, capitalizing on a breakaway opportunity following a collision between Mark Shoemaker and Mark Woolley.
Bertuzzi regained the two goal lead for the Storm later in the period with just two seconds remaining on the clock, putting a quick wrist shot on Timpano off of rebound in front to pot his first career OHL tally.
The Otters took advantage in the third winning the period with two goals to claw their way back into the game. First with a shot beating Popovich glove side from Joseph Mack just past the five-minute point, and later in the frame with 13 seconds remaining as Ryan Merkley sat in the box for a delay of game penalty.
Needing extra time to decide the contest, Kirwin, Ralph, and McFadden were the big-three to start for the Storm in overtime – and would be the three to end it. Ralph, netting his 11th of the year, capitalized on a nice feed from McFadden to finalize the 5-4 win.
The Storm are right back in action on Saturday night, visiting the Owen Sound Attack for a 7:30pm puck drop.
Erie Otters 4 at Guelph Storm 5 (OT) – Status: Final OT
Friday, December 1, 2017 – Sleeman Centre
Erie 1 1 2 0 – 4
Guelph 2 2 0 1 – 5
1st Period-1, Erie, Lodnia 15 (Sambrook, Wainman), 3:28. 2, Guelph, Hillis 12 (Toropchenko, Merkley), 9:56 (PP). 3, Guelph, Smith 2 (Schnarr), 13:34. Penalties-Ratcliffe Gue (cross checking), 6:03; Headrick Er (hooking), 9:49; Fellows Er (hooking), 17:11.
2nd Period–4, Guelph, Ralph 10 (Kirwin, Poirier), 4:21. 5, Erie, Golod 5 (Robinson, Poddubnyi), 5:27. 6, Guelph, Bertuzzi 1 (Primeau, Samorukov), 19:58. Penalties-Golod Er (hooking), 15:43.
3rd Period-7, Erie, Mack 4 (Girhiny, Fellows), 5:48. 8, Erie, Headrick 8 (Maksimovich, Raddysh), 19:47 (PP). Penalties-Merkley Gue (delay of game), 18:06.
OT Period–9, Guelph, Ralph 11 (McFadden, Kirwin), 0:20. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Erie 15-8-15-0-38. Guelph 12-20-4-1-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Erie 1 / 2; Guelph 1 / 3.
Goalies-Erie, Timpano 7-8-2-1 (37 shots-32 saves). Guelph, Popovich 12-8-1-1 (38 shots-34 saves).
Referees-Quincy Evans (7), Ben Wilson (32).
Linesmen-Dustin McCrank (68), Mac Nichol (93).