by Matt Pelkey
With a reputation of being a third-period team, the Guelph Storm couldn’t get it done in the final frame Friday night.
The Storm (37-26-2-2) dropped a 4-3 decision to the visiting Owen Sound Attack (34-24-2-7) at the Sleeman Centre in what could very well be a first round playoff matchup.
Heading into the third period evened at three, Guelph failed to score in the period where they have been so strong in all season. It was an Owen Sound goal with 5:31 remaining that turned out to be the game-winner.
Providing goals for the Storm were Pius Suter, Jason Dickinson, and Givani Smith while Justin Nichols made 31 saves in the defeat.
For Owen Sound, Daniel Milne, Erik Bradford, Kyle Platzer, and Holden Cook tallied as Jack Flinn turned away 33 shots in the win.
Going into the game, Guelph held a 5-1-0-1 record against the Attack this season with a 3-0 home record.
It only took 17 seconds into the game for the first goal to be scored, and it was the Attack who supplied it.
Milne opened the scoring on a goal generated by an aggressive forecheck right off the opening faceoff as the visitors took an early 1-0 lead.
4:22 later, Guelph tied the game.
Suter evened the score at one with a wrister from the slot when he was fed a pass from Fabbri out of the left corner. Suter, scoring his 41st of the season, beat Flinn over his blocker.
Less than a minute later, Bradford would regain Owen Sound’s lead on their first power play of the game when he threw a wristshot on net that beat Nichols.
Although the scoring didn’t happen as early as it did in the first period, it still came.
Dickinson tied the game 9:45 into the second when he finished off a nice tic-tac-toe passing sequence. After Tyler Bertuzzi fed Smith, the Storm rookie dropped it to a wide open Dickinson who wristed it over the glove of Flinn.
Not even two minutes later, Smith was in on the action again.
Guelph took a 3-2 lead when the Toronto native popped the puck between the legs of Flinn after he received a sneaky pass from Bertuzzi who was to the side of the net.
The goal snapped an 11-game goalless drought for Smith.
With 1:35 remaining in the middle frame, though, Platzer tied the game at three. The Attack’s leading scorer buried on a nice individual effort where he deked out a Storm defender before doing the same to Nichols and wrapping the puck into an open net.
The tie would set things up for an exciting third period as the teams skated off for the intermission with Guelph leading in shots, 30-21.
The final frame was a battle of inches.
In the first 10 minutes, both teams traded opportunities that narrowly missed as neither team could score the crucial next goal.
It wasn’t until 5:31 remaining in the contest that the next goal and eventual game-winner was scored.
Cook, with time in the slot, snapped a shot to the top right corner of the net to give Owen Sound the lead late in the game.
Despite late pressure, the Storm saw a seven-game home win streak snapped as the Attack grabbed a 4-3 win.
Final shots were 36-35 for Guelph.
With the loss, the Storm drop to 21-9-2-1 at home while the Attack improve to 14-14-2-4 on the road.
The Storm are back in action on Sunday when they welcome the Sarnia Sting for the final game of the regular season. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:00 PM.
– Tonight’s game was the last of 8 meetings between the teams this season. Guelph won the season series 5-2-0-1. The Storm finished with a 3-1 record at home this season against the Attack.
– 5 of the 8 games between the two teams this season have been decided by 1 goal.
– Guelph snapped a 7 game home win streak.
– Tyler Bertuzzi played in his 200th OHL game.
– With 2 assists on the evening, Bertuzzi now sits just 1 shy of 100 assists in his OHL career.
– The Storm failed to secure a point and therefore clinch 4th place in the Western Conference. With a point on Sunday, Guelph will own the 4th seed and have home-ice advantage for the 1st round of the OHL Playoffs.
Owen Sound Attack 4 at Guelph Storm 3 – Status: Final
Friday, March 20, 2015 – Sleeman Centre
Owen Sound 2 1 1 – 4
Guelph 1 2 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Owen Sound, Milne 20 (Cook, Bradford), 0:17. 2, Guelph, Suter 41 (Fabbri, Marchese), 4:39. 3, Owen Sound, Bradford 28 (Schemitsch, Platzer), 5:18 (PP). Penalties-McFadden Gue (holding), 5:05; served by Foss Gue (too many men), 6:40; Brack Os (interference), 11:20; Walters Os (holding), 17:26.
2nd Period-4, Guelph, Dickinson 26 (Smith, Bertuzzi), 9:45. 5, Guelph, Smith 7 (Bertuzzi, Dickinson), 11:20. 6, Owen Sound, Platzer 33 (Palmu, Sharipzyanov), 18:25. Penalties-Nichols Gue (tripping), 1:36; Milne Os (inter. on goaltender), 6:32.
3rd Period-7, Owen Sound, Cook 15 (Brack), 14:29. Penalties-Dunda Os (roughing), 5:53; Smith Gue (roughing), 5:53; Tetrault Gue (holding), 16:49.
Shots on Goal-Owen Sound 12-9-14-35. Guelph 12-18-6-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Owen Sound 1 / 4; Guelph 0 / 3.
Goalies-Owen Sound, Flinn 17-16-1-6 (36 shots-33 saves). Guelph, Nichols 33-19-2-1 (35 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Mike Cairns (34), Pat Myers (40).
Linesmen-Dustin McCrank (68), Ryan Holmstead (91).
3) OS Kyle Platzer – 1 goal, 1 assist
2) GUE Givani Smith – 1 goal, 1 assist
1) OS Holden Cook – 1 goal, 1 assist