Early penalty trouble hurts Storm
Friday night at the Sleeman Centre, the Storm had a chance to gain ground on the Soo Greyhounds in the chase for their 20th straight playoff appearance. Standing in their way was the first place London Knights, who proved too much to handle as Guelph fell 5-1 to their Midwest Division rivals.
Elsewhere in the OHL, the Soo Greyhounds jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Sarnia Sting poured in five straight on their way to a 5-4 win. With the Windsor Spitfires idle, the standings see the Storm and Greyhounds tied for 8th spot, one point behind Windsor. All three clubs have four games remaining.
The first period opened well for the home side until a run of penalties left them in a 3-0 hole. Last night in London, Guelph killed off each of seven Knights powerplays, but at the Sleeman Centre it was a different story as Greg McKegg, Vlad Namestnikov and Scott Harrington each connected in the first. Then with 2:55 remaining in the perod, Chris Tierney scored to make the score 4-0 after 20.
A goaltending change to start the second sparked Guelph as the play went backand forth for five plus minutes with the Storm registering several quality scoring chances. It was a night of bad bounces for Guelph and when a shot by Andreas Athanasiou redirected off a Storm defender in tight, it made it 5-0 London.
With a 5-0 lead after 40, all that was left to decide was Michael Houser’s bid for a seventh shutout of the season. Brock McGinn from the goal line finally solved the London netminder to make it a 5-1 final.
Sunday at 4:30 pm, Guelph will face the Otters in Erie for the front end of a home-and-home series that shifts to the Sleeman Centre on Wednesday night at 7 pm.
London Knights 5 at Guelph Storm 1 – Status: Final
Friday, March 9, 2012 – Sleeman Centre
London 4 1 0 – 5
Guelph 0 0 1 – 1
1st Period-1, London, McKegg 31 (Maatta), 7:18 (PP). 2, London, Namestnikov 22 (Harrington, Rupert), 7:56 (PP). 3, London, Harrington 3 (Domi, Namestnikov), 13:05 (PP). 4, London, Tierney 9 (Horvat, Harrington), 17:05. Penalties-Athanasiou Ldn (roughing), 3:28; Pedan Gue (roughing), 3:28; Dickinson Gue (tripping), 4:07; Kosmachuk Gue (check to the head), 6:15; Mitchell Gue (slashing), 7:35; Rupert Ldn (fighting), 9:31; Nichol Gue (fighting), 9:31; Kosmachuk Gue (roughing), 12:56; Harrington Ldn (tripping), 13:27.
2nd Period-5, London, Athanasiou 22 (Tierney, Harrington), 7:23. Penalties-Harrington Ldn (delay of game), 12:06; Menard Gue (high sticking), 12:55; Bertuzzi Gue (roughing), 17:04; Namestnikov Ldn (cross checking), 18:26.
3rd Period-6, Guelph, McGinn 10 (Pedan, Kosmachuk), 5:05 (PP). Penalties-Raine Ldn (instigator, fighting, 10-min. misc.), 4:29; Bertuzzi Gue (fighting), 4:29; Anderson Ldn (fighting), 10:12; Kosmachuk Gue (fighting), 10:12.
Shots on Goal-London 10-9-5-24. Guelph 8-13-6-27.
Power Play Opportunities-London 3 / 6; Guelph 1 / 4.
Goalies-London, Houser 45-13-0-1 (27 shots-26 saves). Guelph, Sparks 24-25-1-3 (10 shots-6 saves); Foote 3-6-1-1 (14 shots-13 saves).
Referees-Ryan Carroll (9), Dave Koziel (8).
Linesmen-Tim Steen (75), Frank Rocca (38).