Storm comeback effort not enough in 5-4 loss to Otters

It was an early deficit that set the tone for the Guelph Storm on Sunday night in Erie.

Visiting the Otters for the first of a home-and-home series this weekend, the Storm fell behind 2-0 in the first, and although climbed their way back into a one-goal game twice, couldn’t complete the comeback effort in an eventual 5-4 loss.

Nate Schnarr received second star honours in the game, registering a goal and an assist, with Dmitri Samorukov mirroring the effort, while Ryan Merkley and Isaac Ratcliffe each had two assists.

For the Otters, Alex Gritz led the way with two goals and first star honours, with Troy Lajeunesse and Patrick Fellows adding a pair of helpers each in the win.

Between the pipes, the Storm’s Anthony Popovich got the nod once again, turning aside 38 of 43 attempts, while at the other end of the ice, Anand Oberoi made 17 saves for the Otters.

To start, the Storm were down 2-0 nearing the halfway point of the first with goals 22 seconds apart from Hayden Fowler and Gritz. Then, just 4:24 into the middle frame, the Otters extended their lead to 3-0 courtesy of Gritz’s second of the game on the power play.

In the latter half of the second, James McEwan — walking around the Otters’ defenseman and putting a quick shot off the bar and in — got the Storm on the board with his 12th of the season.

Minutes into the third, Schnarr pulled the Storm to within one as Merkley sent a cross-ice feed to the Arizona Coyotes prospect to make it a 3-2 contest on the power play.

Just 19 seconds later, though, the Otters restored the two-goal lead as Kyle Maksimovich registered his 25th of the year off a wrister from the top of the face off circle.

Alexey Toropchenko was next to pull the Storm back to within one, putting on a determined display to net his 13th of the season.

In response, the Otters make it 5-3 at the 12:50 point of the frame courtesy of a slapshot from Owen Headrick, which would be the eventual game winner.

With under four minutes remaining Samorukov netted his ninth of the season on the man-advantage, but the Storm’s comeback stopped there, resulting in a 5-4 final.

The Storm and the Otters are right back in action on Monday afternoon for a 2:00pm puck drop at the Sleeman Centre. The game also features Spyke & Stormy’s Mascot Bash, and a post-game Skate with the Storm. Purchase your tickets online here, by calling (519) 837-9690, or in person at the Storm Box Office in Old Quebec Street Mall.

Guelph Storm 4 at Erie Otters 5 – Status: Final
Sunday, February 18, 2018 – Erie Insurance Arena

Guelph 0 1 3 – 4
Erie 2 1 2 – 5

1st Period-1, Erie, Fowler 7 (Girhiny), 8:42. 2, Erie, Gritz 11 (Fellows, Henry), 9:04. Penalties-Ratcliffe Gue (roughing, roughing), 15:59; Henry Er (roughing), 15:59; Fowler Er (slashing), 18:16.

2nd Period-3, Erie, Gritz 12 (Beamish, Fellows), 4:24 (PP). 4, Guelph, McEwan 12 (Schnarr, Samorukov), 16:47. Penalties-Henry Er (holding), 0:55; Ratcliffe Gue (blindsiding), 2:27.

3rd Period5, Guelph, Schnarr 14 (Merkley, Ratcliffe), 2:37 (PP). 6, Erie, Maksimovich 25 (Lajeunesse), 2:56. 7, Guelph, Toropchenko 13 (Poirier), 8:33. 8, Erie, Headrick 9 (Lajeunesse), 12:50. 9, Guelph, Samorukov 9 (Merkley, Ratcliffe), 16:19 (PP). Penalties-Wainman Er (interference), 2:22; Merkley Gue (tripping), 10:22; Maksimovich Er (tripping), 15:26.

Shots on GoalGuelph 7-4-10-21. Erie 12-15-16-43.
Power Play OpportunitiesGuelph 2 / 4; Erie 1 / 3.
GoaliesGuelph, Popovich 26-17-2-3 (43 shots-38 saves). Erie, Oberoi 7-8-3-1 (21 shots-17 saves).
Referees-Brent Coulombe (22), Quincy Evans (7).
Linesmen-Raymond King (95), Adam Harris (49).

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