By Matt Pelkey
For the second straight home game, the Guelph Storm exploded offensively. And for the second straight home game, the Guelph Storm scored nine goals.
After scoring just seven goals in three road games last weekend, the Storm erupted for nine goals when they beat the Plymouth Whalers 9-3 Friday night at the Sleeman Centre.
Robby Fabbri, who in his last two home games has back-to-back hat-tricks and 10 points (6+4=10), led the scoring parade with his second hat-trick of the month while Matthew Hotchkiss scored twice and Adam Craievich, along with newly-acquired Chris Marchese, added singles. Zac Leslie also had a big game, registering three assists. Justin Nichols made 29 saves in the victory.
The Whalers’ Sonny Milano led the way for the visitors with two points. Scoring goals for the opposition were Bryce Yetman, Mathieu Henderson, and Matt Mistele. Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic turned aside 39 shots.
Despite the score, the game was a see-saw battle through the first 40 minutes of play.
The opening period showed both teams hitting the ice ready to battle. After a physical start to the game by both teams, it was the Storm who found the back of the net first when Hall stepped into a slap shot and ripped it past the visiting goaltender Nedeljkovic just four minutes into the game.
It didn’t take long for the Whalers to answer, though, as Yetmen tied the game just over three minutes later.
Guelph’s Fabbri would score his 11th goal of the season just 1:18 later when he finished off a beautiful pass from Noah Carroll on a two-on-one break.
The Storm killed off three straight Plymouth power plays in the opening period before heading into the intermission with a 2-1 lead.
The second period began in favour of the Storm, who earned a four-minute power play four minutes into the frame. Fabbri capitalized on the tail-end of the man-advantage when he scored a highlight-reel goal by deking past a Whalers defender and sliding the puck into the back of the net for his second of the contest.
Much like after the first Guelph goal, Plymouth would answer shortly after when Henderson beat Nichols to get the Whalers back within a goal.
Then Fabbri registered his second hat-trick of the month on another Guelph power play. Facing some pressure down low, Bertuzzi spun and made a tape-to-tape pass to Fabbri who one-timed the puck past a sprawling Nedelkjovic.
Although being outshot 25-15 midway through the period, the Whalers found a way to get back to within one when Mistele shot a puck that redirected off a Guelph defender’s stick and over the shoulder of Nichols, making it 4-3.
Despite the shot differential, Plymouth had a number of prime scoring opportunities late in the middle frame, but Nichols came up big every time to preserve the lead as the Storm led 4-3 after 40 minutes.
The rookie Hotchkiss would regain Guelph’s two-goal lead for the third time of the night, burying a wrist shot while falling in the slot to make it 5-3.
The Storm extended their lead just under four minutes later when Marchese scored his first goal as a member of the Storm, beating the Whalers goaltender for the sixth time of the night.
Craievich netted his first of the year on a beautiful wrist shot from the slot when he picked a corner on Nedeljkovic, making it 7-4 Guelph.
Bertuzzi would also get in on the scoring himself when he found himself alone on the crease and with the puck on his stick. He made no mistake lifting the puck off the crossbar and into the net to give the Storm their eighth goal of the night.
Guelph would get their ninth and final goal of the contest when Hotchkiss buried home his second of the game on a shot from low in the zone. The marker gave Guelph a six-goal cushion late in the third, bringing us to our final: Guelph 9, Plymouth 3.
With the win, Guelph improved to 11-9-0-1 while Plymouth dropped to 8-12-1-1.
The Storm are back in action on Sunday when they host the Kitchener Rangers at 2:00 PM.
The Storm have now won 9 of their last 11 games versus Plymouth.
Tonight’s game marked the 2nd straight game Guelph has scored 9 goals at home.
Tonight’s game marked Guelph forward Chris Marchese’s first game with the Storm after being acquired earlier in the day from the Windsor Spitfires.
Guelph defenceman Ben Harpur returned to the lineup after missing the last 3 games due to suspension.
Storm defender Phil Baltisberger missed the game as he served a one-game suspension.
Plymouth Whalers 3 at Guelph Storm 9 – Status: Final
Friday, November 21, 2014 – Sleeman Centre
Plymouth 1 2 0 – 3
Guelph 2 2 5 – 9
1st Period-1, Guelph, Hall 2 4:06. 2, Plymouth, Yetman 6 (Jones), 7:21. 3, Guelph, Fabbri 11 (Carroll, Marchese), 8:39. Penalties-Dickinson Gue (boarding), 1:41; Bertuzzi Gue (slashing), 12:09; Bauman Gue (holding), 14:40.
2nd Period-4, Guelph, Fabbri 12 (Leslie), 4:55 (PP). 5, Plymouth, Henderson 2 (Milano, Campagna), 5:13. 6, Guelph, Fabbri 13 (Bertuzzi, Leslie), 7:42 (PP). 7, Plymouth, Mistele 15 (Milano, Di Carlo), 12:22. Penalties-Wesley Ply (cross checking, slashing), 2:18; Rathgeb Ply (tripping, roughing), 6:50; Carroll Gue (roughing), 6:50; Jones Ply (instigator, fighting, 10-min. misc.), 9:13; Bauman Gue (fighting), 9:13; Stevens Gue (holding), 13:30; Di Carlo Ply (hooking), 19:39.
3rd Period-8, Guelph, Hotchkiss 2 ( , Dickinson), 1:29 (PP). 9, Guelph, Marchese 9 (Leslie, Nichols), 5:13 (PP). 10, Guelph, Craievich 1 (Bauman, McFadden), 7:31 (PP). 11, Guelph, Bertuzzi 11 (Fabbri, Marchese), 10:38 (PP). 12, Guelph, Hotchkiss 3 (Burghardt, Hilton), 12:46. Penalties-Watson Ply (delay of game), 4:16; Caamano Ply (high sticking), 5:33; Scognamiglio Ply (interference), 10:10; Carroll Gue (holding), 13:36; Stevens Gue (cross checking), 16:40.
Shots on Goal-Plymouth 11-8-13-32. Guelph 13-14-21-48.
Power Play Opportunities-Plymouth 0 / 6; Guelph 6 / 8.
Goalies-Plymouth, Nedeljkovic 7-9-1-1 (48 shots-39 saves). Guelph, Nichols 10-7-0-1 (32 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Ryan Hutchison (20), Patrick Brown (18).
Linesmen-Drew Jackson (57), Fraser Williams (71).
3) GUE Chris Marchese (1g, 2a)
2) GUE Zac Leslie (3a)
1) GUE Robby Fabbri (3g, 1a)