by Matt Pelkey
Playoff hockey is a time when veterans generally bring their ‘A’ game. Sunday night’s game was no different for the Guelph Storm.
Led by their veteran players, the Storm (4) defeated the Owen Sound Attack (5) 5-4 in overtime at the Sleeman Centre in game two of the Ontario Hockey League Playoffs.
The Storm blew a two-goal lead in the second period when the Attack scored three goals in 3:18 to pull out in front. Guelph’s experienced players led the comeback en route to a crucial win that tied the series at one heading to Owen Sound for game three.
Leading the way offensively for Guelph was Tyler Bertuzzi, who recorded three goals in regulation and was named the game’s first star. Jason Dickinson also scored in regulation before Chris Marchese netted the game-winner 2:47 into overtime. Justin Nichols stopped 30 shots in regulation and two in overtime.
Luke Cairns finished with three assists while Robby Fabbri and Phil Baltisberger each finished with two.
For Owen Sound, Santino Centorame, Chris Bigras, Daniel Milne, and Kyle Platzer all scored in regular time. Jack Flinn turned aside 21 shots in the first 60 minutes before making one save in overtime.
Out of the gate, fans at the Sleeman Centre witnessed a very rough and physical start from both teams.
Guelph displayed good puck control and solid cycles in the Owen Sound zone, but were not able to convert in the early going.
On the Storm’s first power play of the night, Guelph scored the game’s first goal for the first time in the series.
Controlling the puck low in the Attack zone, Cairns found an open Bertuzzi at the top of Flinn’s crease. Cairns made a nice pass right to the stick of Bertuzzi who tapped it through the legs of the Owen Sound netminder.
3:10 later, Guelph’s captain extended the lead.
Dickinson capitalized on an Owen Sound turnover just inside the Attack blueline and fired off a low wristshot over the right pad of Flinn to make it 2-0.
With just under three minutes remaining in the period, emotions finally boiled over. After a big hit from Givani Smith, Jacob Busch challenged the Storm rookie to a fight.
Guelph got the early start they needed and entered the first intermission with a 2-0 lead while outshooting the Attack 9-7.
Everything that went right for the Storm in the first went wrong for them in the second frame.
Guelph was scrambling on a delayed penalty to them when the visitors finally got on the board.
With a screen in front of Nichols, Centorame sent a wrister along the ice that eventually snuck past the Storm goaltender.
1:15 later, Bigras scored to tie the contest. With the puck on the other side of the zone, the defenceman snuck behind Guelph defenders when he received the puck all alone at the left hash marks and shot it off the far post and in.
Milne scored just 2:03 after Bigras’ tally to give Owen Sound three unanswered goals in 3:18.
After a turnover in the Guelph end, Milne banged in a rebound from the tip of the crease after Nichols had denied the original shot.
A stunned crowd saw their team enter the second break down 3-2 after being outshot 12-3 in the period.
1:09 into the third, the fans had something to cheer about again.
Bertuzzi evened the score at three when he corralled a loose puck in the slot and snapped it over the left pad of Flinn. The goal was the Sudbury, Ontario native’s second of the evening.
Guelph’s regular season scoring leader would complete the hat-trick and regain the Storm lead 4:48 later. On a power play, Bertuzzi scored on a goal similar to his second, lasering a wristshot over the left pad of Flinn in the slot.
Owen Sound got a chance to change the momentum and tie the game after Dickinson was penalized with a four-minute penalty.
With just 18 seconds remaining on the penalty, Platzer wristed the puck to the top right of the net with traffic in front of Nichols. The marker tied the game for the third time in the contest.
As both teams battled to get the late go-ahead goal, each had grade-A scoring chances to do so but it would not be as the teams ended regulation knotted at four.
Owen Sound led in the shot department after 60 minutes, 34-25.
Fortunately for the hometown fans, they did not have to wait long into the extra frame for the game to end on a good note.
2:47 into overtime and picking up the puck as a result of a neutral zone turnover, the Storm went down on a three-on-one break where Marchese elected to shoot. The overage forward snapped the puck short side over the blocker of Flinn to give the Storm a 5-4 victory.
With the win, Guelph evened up the best-of-seven series at one.
Final shots were 36-27 for Owen Sound.
The teams will next battle in Game 3, when the Storm head north to Owen Sound this Tuesday, March 31. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM.
– Tyler Bertuzzi recorded his first career OHL Playoff hat-trick, and 3rd-ever multi-goal game in the playoffs.
– Chris Marchese scored just his 2nd career OHL Playoff goal in his 7th game.
– Luke Cairns recorded his first-ever multi-point playoff game, registering 3 assists.
– The best-of-7 series is now tied 1-1.
Owen Sound Attack 4 at Guelph Storm 5 (OT) – Status: Final (OT)
Sunday, March 29, 2015 – Sleeman Centre
Owen Sound 0 3 1 0 – 4
Guelph 2 0 2 1 – 5
1st Period-1, Guelph, Bertuzzi 1 (Cairns, Fabbri), 12:41 (PP). 2, Guelph, Dickinson 2 15:51. Penalties-Hall Gue (tripping), 3:20; Bigras Os (cross checking), 10:50; Busch Os (fighting), 17:26; Smith Gue (fighting), 17:26.
2nd Period-3, Owen Sound, Centorame 1 (Platzer, Milne), 7:29. 4, Owen Sound, Bigras 1 (Bradford, Milne), 8:44. 5, Owen Sound, Milne 2 (Bradford, Cook), 10:47. Penalties-McFadden Gue (tripping), 0:24; Cook Os (roughing), 5:29; Baltisberger Gue (roughing), 5:29; Rhodes Gue (check from behind), 15:04; Centorame Os (interference), 15:22; Dickinson Gue (cross checking), 17:13.
3rd Period-6, Guelph, Bertuzzi 2 (Fabbri, Cairns), 1:10. 7, Guelph, Bertuzzi 3 (Cairns, Baltisberger), 5:58 (PP). 8, Owen Sound, Platzer 1 (Milne, Gilligan), 11:13 (PP). Penalties-Meyer Os (interference), 5:03; Sharipzyanov Os (roughing), 7:36; Baltisberger Gue (roughing), 7:36; Dickinson Gue (check from behind-dbl minor), 7:36; Nastasiuk Os (high sticking), 16:14.
OT Period-9, Guelph, Marchese 1 (Baltisberger), 2:47. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Owen Sound 7-12-15-2-36. Guelph 9-3-13-2-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Owen Sound 1 / 6; Guelph 2 / 4.
Goalies-Owen Sound, Flinn 1-0-0-0 (27 shots-22 saves). Guelph, Nichols 0-1-0-0 (36 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Mike Marley (31), Ryan Hutchison (20).
Linesmen-Jordan Browne (93), Dave Pfohl (96).
3) GUE Chris Marchese – 1 goal (GWG)
2) OS Daniel Milne – 1 goal, 3 assists
1) GUE Tyler Bertuzzi – 3 goals