Storm with solid effort, but fall to Rangers in OT

It may have been a loss, but the Guelph Storm solidified a playoff birth in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Kitchener Rangers at the Sleeman Centre on Sunday afternoon.

In the game, the tough part comes when the Storm – who put together a steady team effort – were up 4-2 in the third period, until the Rangers scored two in the final two minutes of play before sealing the 5-4 victory in the extra period.

Offensively, Isaac Ratcliffe led the way for the Storm yet again, tallying a goal and an assist for second star honours. Defenseman Ryan Merkley also had two assists in the game.

For the Rangers, Adam Mascherin did most of the damage, tallying four points – two goals and two assists, including a helper on the overtime winner, to earn first star recognition.

Anthony Popovich and Luke Richardson were the goaltenders for the match-up, with Popovich turning away 29 out of 34 attempts including some stellar saves to keep the game close early on, and the Rangers’ Richardson making 37 stops in the win.

The Storm opened the scoring 38 seconds into the second period, as the Rangers got into some penalty trouble through the tail end of the opening frame. Capitalizing on the five-on-three advantage, Nate Schnarr potted his 15th goal of the season.

Just shy of six minutes later, the Rangers knotted it up at one-a-piece with Mascherin netting his first of the game, followed by Logan Stanley just over three minutes later, making it 2-1 off of a two-on-none rush.

Moving into the third, the Storm took control early on, first with Ratcliffe grabbing his 37th of the season courtesy of a hard-earned Alexey Toropchenko assist. 52 seconds later, Cedric Ralph potted his 21st of the year, jumping on a bounce off a skate to make it a 3-2 game at the 8:11 point of the period.

Liam Hawel added another for the Storm in the latter half of the period to make it 4-2, capitalizing on the man-advantage at the 14:04 point.

With 1:13 left, though, the Rangers started the comeback – first with Mascherin’s second of the game, followed by Guelph native Connor Bunnaman’s 26th of the year, tying the game with 50 seconds remaining.

Needing an extra period to solve things, the Rangers’ Joseph Garreffa netted the game winner to make it a 5-4 final in favour of the blue shirts.

The Storm now look ahead to Wednesday when they will visit the London Knights.

Kitchener Rangers 5 (OT) at Guelph Storm 4 – Status: Final OT
Sunday, March 4, 2018 – Sleeman Centre

Kitchener 0 2 2 1 – 5
Guelph 0 1 3 0 – 4

1st Period– No Scoring. Penalties-Yantsis Kit (check to the head, game misc-check to head), 15:53; Poirier Gue (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 15:53; Stanley Kit (slashing), 18:43; McHugh Kit (closing hand on puck), 19:58.

2nd Period1, Guelph, Schnarr 15 (Ratcliffe, Merkley), 0:38 (PP). 2, Kitchener, Mascherin 37 (Bunnaman, Garreffa), 6:36. 3, Kitchener, Stanley 14 (Sherwood, Hugg), 9:49. Penalties-Poirier Gue (hooking), 2:28; Stanley Kit (elbowing), 7:39.

3rd Period4, Guelph, Ratcliffe 37 (Toropchenko, Merkley), 7:17. 5, Guelph, Ralph 21 (Shoemaker, Primeau), 8:11. 6, Guelph, Hawel 14 (Samorukov, Lalonde), 14:04 (PP). 7, Kitchener, Mascherin 38 (Stanley, Garreffa), 18:47. 8, Kitchener, Bunnaman 26 (Stanley, Mascherin), 19:10. Penalties-Poirier Gue (holding), 10:45; Sherwood Kit (hooking), 12:34.

OT Period-9, Kitchener, Garreffa 10 (Mascherin, McHugh), 2:56. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Kitchener 11-11-10-2-34. Guelph 13-14-12-2-41.
Power Play Opportunities-Kitchener 0 / 2; Guelph 2 / 5.
Goalies-Kitchener, Richardson 22-11-1-0 (41 shots-37 saves). Guelph, Popovich 27-18-4-3 (34 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Dave Lewis (16), Jesse Wilmot (17).
Linesmen-Kevin Hastings (61), Jean-Francois Menard (52).

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