Depleted Storm can’t contain Otters
With key elements of the back end out of the line up, the Guelph Storm struggled to contain the Erie Otters in an 8-4 loss on Wednesday night.
Steph Coratti, GuelphStorm.com
The Guelph Storm concluded a hard fought season series with the Erie Otters on Wednesday night with an 8-4 loss. Both teams won three games throughout the 2014-15 campaign.
This one, though, featured a depleted Storm line up with Jason Dickinson slotted in as a defenceman. Overcoming injuries throughout most of the season, the Storm couldn’t quite overcome this one, falling to the Otters in a tough match-up.
With Dickinson getting the Connor McDavid match-up for the majority of the game, the projected first overall selection of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft took advantage of the usual-centerman, scoring his first OHL hat trick en route to four goals on the game.
Despite the score, Justin Nichols made several impressive saves throughout the night, totaling for 29 stops.
A tough first period would feature three goals from the Otters beginning with McDavid scoring back-to-back to put the home squad up 2-0 before the ten-minute mark. To open the scoring, the Newmarket, Ontario native extended his point streak to 22 games off a tic-tac-toe passing play from Nick Baptiste and Dylan Strome on the power play with Pius Suter in the box for tripping.
Just over two minutes later at the 8:48 mark of the period, McDavid pocketed his 34th of the season skating around rookie defenseman Noah Carroll and chipping it just over Nichols to extend Erie’s lead to two.
Nick Betz would add one more for the Otters before the opening 20 minutes came to a close, tipping in a pass from Mason Marchment for his 21st of the year. Strome recorded his second assist of the night on the tally.
With chances few and in between throughout the first, the Storm would go to their second power play of the game late in the period as Kurtis MacDermid was called for holding. The man advantage, though unsuccessful, would feature Guelph’s best scoring opportunity of the period as Devin Williams was forced to come up with a big save on the back door play to remain perfect on the period.
Looking like a different team, the Storm came out of the gates for the middle frame ready to climb back into the contest with Tyler Boston putting Williams to work early off a feed from Tyler Bertuzzi.
Following suit, 3:29 into the period Marc Stevens would capitalize off a strong fore check created and maintained by Tyler Hill and Chris Marchese to get the Storm on the board. With an assist on the goal, Marchese extended his point streak to eight straight games.
Less than three minutes later, Cory Genovese would cut across the ice catching Hill with a hard hit. Hill would go to the dressing room briefly, but would rejoin the Storm bench shortly afterwards. For the hit, Genovese would receive a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
The Otters would successfully kill off the five-minute major, and look to get back on track offensively immediately afterwards, breaking in on a two-on-one that would feature a solid backchecking effort from Dickinson to break up the play.
With around 4:30 remaining in the period, Nichols would steal the spotlight with a huge blocker save as Betz broke through the Storm defence.
Shortly after the save, a screened Nichols would be beat by a point shot from T.J. Fergus who recorded his second of the season to make it a 4-1 contest in favour of the Otters.
Following the play, Nichols would be at it again, completely denying Taylor Raddysh with an incredible diving cross-crease save.
Keeping to the theme of the anything-goes second period, Luke Burghardt would be called for roughing, only to have Suter score his 33rd of the season shorthanded merely nine seconds after the penalty call. The goal would bring the Storm within two in a 4-2 score.
The final frame continued with the up-and-down rollercoaster for Guelph, beginning with McDavid, taking advantage of Dickinson on the backend, netted his first OHL hat trick 49 seconds into the period. Strome added his third helper on the night.
Dickinson would respond at the 2:09 mark of the period, scoring his 23rd of the season off a nice feed from Bertuzzi. The goal would pull the Storm within two of the Otters on the scoreboard.
As it has so often happened this season, the Storm surged in quick doses as Marchese stripped Raddysh of the puck only to follow it up with a relentless effort to make it a 5-4 game just 20 seconds after Dickinson’s tally.
That would be as close as Guelph would come, however, as Darren Raddysh pocketed one from the point at the 9:51 mark of the period to make it 6-4 Erie.
Despite the score, Nichols continued to come up with remarkable saves, including one spiraling glove reach to deny McDavid his fourth on the night.
McDavid would eventually net his fourth, though, registering his 36th of the season at the 13:19 mark.
Just over a minute later, it would be Baptiste solidifying the 8-4 victory for the Otters with a power play marker.
With the win, the Otters tied up the season series at three-a-piece in the final meeting of the 2014-15 regular season between these divisional rivals.
The Storm are back on the road for the fourth straight game on Friday, visiting another rival in the London Knights for the final time this regular season. The match-up will be aired nationally on Rogers Sportsnet as part of the ‘Friday Night Hockey’ program.
- Phil Baltisberger sat out for the second of an automatic two-game suspension for a compilation of checking-to-the-head penalties. Baltisberger served the first game of the suspension against the Mississauga Steelheads this past Sunday.
- With a depleted back end, centerman Jason Dickinson manned the blue line for Guelph.
- Chris Marchese extended his point streak to eight games with a goal and an assist in the contest. Marchese now has three goals and ten assists over the stretch.
- With a shorthanded goal in the loss, Pius Suter now has 11 goals in his last ten games played throughout the month of February.
- Wednesday’s match-up was the sixth and final meeting between the Storm and the Otters. The season series featured both teams winning three games.
- Guelph is back on the road on Friday night as they visit the London Knights for the final time this regular season.
Guelph Storm 4 at Erie Otters 8
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 – Erie Insurance Arena
Guelph 0 2 2 – 4
Erie 3 1 4 – 8
1st Period-1, Erie, McDavid 33 (Baptiste, Strome), 6:29 (PP). 2, Erie, McDavid 34 (Dermott, Genovese), 8:48. 3, Erie, Betz 21 (Marchment, Strome), 16:29.
Penalties-Genovese Er (slashing), 1:43; Suter Gue (tripping), 5:19; MacDermid Er (holding), 17:51.
2nd Period–4, Guelph, Stevens 4 (Hill, Marchese), 3:29. 5, Erie, Fergus 2 (McDavid, Baptiste), 16:35. 6, Guelph, Suter 33 (Bertuzzi), 18:24 (SH).
Penalties-Genovese Er (check to the head, game misc-check to head), 6:04; Burghardt Gue (roughing), 18:15; Bertuzzi Gue (hooking), 19:46; MacDermid Er (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 20:00.
3rd Period-7, Erie, McDavid 35 (Strome), 0:49. 8, Guelph, Dickinson 23 (Bertuzzi), 2:09. 9, Guelph, Marchese 14 2:29. 10, Erie, Raddysh 12 9:51. 11, Erie, McDavid 36 (Baptiste, Dermott), 13:19. 12, Erie, Baptiste 24 (McDavid, Strome), 14:39 (PP).
Penalties-Rhodes Gue (roughing), 11:50; Marchment Er (roughing), 11:50; Rhodes Gue (roughing), 14:18.
Shots on Goal–Guelph 5-12-5-22. Erie 12-13-12-37.
Power Play Opportunities–Guelph 0 / 4; Erie 2 / 4.
Goalies–Guelph, Nichols 29-15-2-1 (37 shots-29 saves). Erie, Williams 25-11-1-1 (22 shots-18 saves).
Referees-Brent Coulombe (2), Ryan Moniz (21).
Linesmen-Jean-Francois Menard (52), Raymond King (95).