by Matt Pelkey
What’s a Monday afternoon game without a little drama?
The Guelph Storm blew a two-goal lead before storming back late in the game and winning 5-4 over the Windsor Spitfires in overtime at the Sleeman Centre.
Down 2-0, the Spitfires (22-29-2-1) scored three unanswered goals before taking a 4-3 lead. A tying goal in the final minute and an overtime winner secured the victory for the Storm (31-20-2-2), who improve to 14-4-0-1 when leading after the first period.
Guelph goaltender Justin Nichols was yet again nothing short of spectacular, turning away 46 shots in another busy night for the St. Catharines, Ontario native.
Leading the way offensively for the Storm were Tyler Bertuzzi (four points), Pius Suter (three points), Givani Smith and Zac Leslie (two points). Tyler Hill, Suter, Bertuzzi, and Smith scored in regulation while Leslie netted the winner in overtme.
Patrick Sanvido, Slater Doggett, Anthony Stefano, and Lucas Venuto had markers for Windsor while Logan Brown had three assists. Alex Fortinos stopped 10 of 12 shots before being replaced by Brendan Johnston, who recorded 21 saves in the defeat.
The Storm struggled to find their footing in the early going, and they were outshot 8-1 in the opening 10 minutes.
After a timeout, the home team picked up the pace. On a great individual effort down low in the Windsor zone, Hill used his size to his advantage to pot the game’s first goal.
With 8:14 to go in the period, the big winger battled through two Spitfires defenceman before slipping the puck around a sprawled-out Fortinos.
Suter widened the Guelph lead with 1:13 remaining.
The Switzerland native, who has seven goals in six games this month, capitalized on a play where Fortinos failed to cover the puck behind his net. Suter stole the puck from the goaltender and wrapped it in for an easy empty net marker.
The Storm led 2-0 heading into the first intermission despite being outshot 20-12.
Windsor didn’t waste any time once the second period started, as Guelph native Sanvido fired a slapper from the point that trickled through the pads of Nichols.
Each team traded power play opportunities in the frame but neither could execute with the man advantage.
The Spitfires tied the game with 1:09 left in the period when Doggett found the puck in a scramble in front of the Storm net and lifted it over a screened Nichols.
In the third period, the visitors picked up right where they left off. A turnover in the Guelph zone led to a goal by Stefano only 10 seconds into the frame.
The Storm would answer back 1:36 later when Bertuzzi skated over the Windsor blueline and fired a long-distance wrister over the blocker of Johnston.
With an assist on the goal, Leslie recorded his 150th career point.
The Spitfires would retake a one goal lead late in a power play when Venuto deflected the puck up and over the right pad of Nichols.
Then it got very interesting.
With 55 seconds left in the game and Nichols on the bench, Smith poked in a loose puck with Johnston down on the ice to tie the game at four.
The Storm, for the second consecutive game, headed to overtime.
In the extra frame, it was Leslie who netted the winner and gave the Storm a 5-4 victory. The overage defender threw the puck towards the net where it hit a Spitfires defenceman and went into the net.
Final shots were 50-36 for Windsor. The Storm have now won three straight games.
With the win, Guelph improves to 17-8-2-1 on home ice while Windsor falls to 11-14-2-0 on the road.
The Storm return to action on Friday, February 20, when they host the Erie Otters as they kick off a 3-in-3 weekend. Puck drop is slated for 7:30 PM.
– Tonight’s game was the 3rd of 4 meetings between Windsor and Guelph this season. Guelph leads the season series 2-1.
– Tyler Bertuzzi extended his point streak to 6 games, amassing 12 points (6+6=12) in that span.
– Pius Suter continued his hot play in February. He now has 7 goals in 6 games this month.
– Zac Leslie recorded his 150th career point.
– Storm forwards Ryan Foss and Chris Marchese were traded from the Spitfires to the Storm earlier in the season.
– The Storm are 4-1 in their last 5 games played on a Monday.
– Windsor defenceman Patrick Sanvido is a Guelph native.
Windsor Spitfires 4 at Guelph Storm 5 (OT) – Status: Final OT
Monday, February 16, 2015 – Sleeman Centre
Windsor 0 2 2 0 – 4
Guelph 2 0 2 1 – 5
1st Period-1, Guelph, Hill 13 (Marchese, Hotchkiss), 11:46. 2, Guelph, Suter 29 (Smith, Bertuzzi), 18:47. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-3, Windsor, Sanvido 1 (Brown, Venuto), 0:44. 4, Windsor, Doggett 18 (Lewis, Brown), 18:51. Penalties-Kirwan Wsr (tripping), 13:15; Smith Gue (hooking), 16:09.
3rd Period-5, Windsor, Stefano 11 0:10. 6, Guelph, Bertuzzi 40 (Leslie, McFadden), 1:46. 7, Windsor, Venuto 17 (Brown, Burns), 11:07 (PP). 8, Guelph, Smith 6 (Bertuzzi, Suter), 19:05. Penalties-Stanley Wsr (fight-inst. upon), 2:28; Stevens Gue (instigator, fighting, misc-instigating), 2:28; Murray Wsr (hooking), 5:07; Povorozniouk Wsr (high sticking), 5:44; Baltisberger Gue (hooking), 9:58.
OT Period-9, Guelph, Leslie 11 (Bertuzzi, Suter), 3:01. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Windsor 20-20-9-1-50. Guelph 12-14-7-3-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Windsor 1 / 3; Guelph 0 / 3.
Goalies-Windsor, Fotinos 10-20-0-0 (12 shots-10 saves); Johnston 12-9-1-1 (24 shots-21 saves). Guelph, Nichols 26-14-2-1 (50 shots-46 saves).
Referees-Bob Langdon (7), Jeff Campbell (16).
Linesmen-Mike Harrington (90), Ryan Holmstead (91).
3) GUE Zac Leslie – 1 goal, 1 assist
2) WSR Logan Brown – 3 assists
1) GUE Tyler Bertuzzi – 1 goal, 3 assists