Tough Knight for Storm
Thurday night in London, the Storm and Knights hooked up for the front end of a home-and-home that will wrap up Friday night at the Sleeman Centre. In seventh spot in the Western Conference heading into action, the Storm needed a win over the first place Knights to gain ground in their chase for a 20th straight playoff appearance. Instead, it was a 4-1 loss while down the 401 in Windsor, the worst possible outcome happened as the Soo Greyhounds topped the Spitfires 2-1 in overtime. The overtime loss for Windsor moves them into solo seventh while the ‘Hounds are now tied with Guelph for eighth.
After killing off a pair of early penalties, Guelph enjoyed their first man advantage with 5:24 remaining in the first of the scoreless draw when Seth Griffith was whistled for hooking. London killed off the powerplay, then moments after stepping out of the box, Griffith streaked in behind Max Domi who fed him from behind the net for his 45th of the season.
The Storm pressed for the equalizer in the middle stanza, but instead London’s Jared Knight snapped home his 100th career tally through Garret Sparks to make it 2-0 just over six minutes in. The Knights had a chance to add to their two-goal lead a few minutes later with 1:14 of five-on-three, but couldn’t solve the Storm penalty kill with the best chances actually going the otherway for Guelph. The Storm had a shorter two-man advantage of their own later in the period with Scott Kosmachuk and Zach Leslie having the best scoring opportunities but neither player could beat Michael Houser.
Late in the second a Storm powerplay turned into another five-on-three that carried over into the third period. This time the visitors took advantage as Jason Dickinson batted down a high Andrey Pedan rebound with his glove and banged home his 11th of the year. With over a minute remaining in the powerplay, Guelph had a great chance to even the score. After killing off the Storm powerplay, London’s Knight restored the two goal lead again as he drove the net and batted a Greg McKegg centering pass out of the air and behind Sparks. Down a pair late, the Storm were forced to gamble and the Knights capitalized as Andreas Athanasiou one-timed a goal mouth pass with 1:56 remaining to make it 4-1.
Friday night at the Sleeman Centre the Storm will host the Knights looking to answer back with a home win of their own. Then Sunday, it will be part one of another Midwest Division home-and-home for Guelph when they visit the Erie Otters.
Guelph Storm 1 at London Knights 4 – Status: Final
Thursday, March 8, 2012 – John Labatt Centre
Guelph 0 0 1 – 1
London 1 1 2 – 4
1st Period-1, London, Griffith 45 (Domi, Knight), 16:50. Penalties-Bertuzzi Gue (check from behind), 1:27; Mitchell Gue (slashing), 6:57; Griffith Ldn (hooking), 14:36.
2nd Period-2, London, Knight 24 (Rupert, Rupert), 6:12. Penalties-Kosmachuk Gue (hooking), 9:02; Gaskin Gue (cross checking), 9:48; Rupert Ldn (tripping), 12:11; Garlent Gue (inter. on goaltender), 13:44; Rupert Ldn (roughing, roughing), 13:44; Gaskin Gue (interference), 16:12; Pereira Gue (slashing), 17:26; Knight Ldn (slashing), 17:26; Rupert Ldn (holding), 18:47; Cook Ldn (tripping), 19:53.
3rd Period-3, Guelph, Dickinson 11 (Pedan, Menard), 0:41 (PP). 4, London, Knight 25 (McKegg, Domi), 2:38. 5, London, Athanasiou 21 (Anderson, Tierney), 18:04. Penalties-Pedan Gue (elbowing), 9:27; Pedan Gue (high sticking), 14:47.
Shots on Goal-Guelph 16-11-9-36. London 18-13-16-47.
Power Play Opportunities-Guelph 1 / 5; London 0 / 7.
Goalies-Guelph, Sparks 24-24-1-3 (47 shots-43 saves). London, Houser 44-13-0-1 (36 shots-35 saves).
Referees-Ryan Hutchison (20), Scott Hoberg (13).
Linesmen-Chris Thornton (89), Ryan Lachine (81).