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Nichols spectacular in OT loss

Visiting the Owen Sound Attack on Saturday night, the Guelph Storm dropped their second straight in a 1-0 overtime final.

Steph Coratti, GuelphStorm.com —

They may be without a goal through the first two games of the 2015-16, but the Guelph Storm are surely not short of a star.

Goaltender Justin Nichols was nearly impeccable on Saturday night in Owen Sound, facing a total of 46 shots on the night – with 33 of them coming through 40 minutes of play. 

Nichols was named the game’s second star, while the netminder at the other end in Michael McNiven was also recognized, pitching a 31 save shutout to give the Owen Sound Attack a 1-0 victory in overtime.

Jaden Lindo would get the game winner on a two-on-one passing play, giving the Attack their second straight victory in extra time this season. 

The first 20 minutes of the contest featured Nichols almost exclusively, facing a flurry of shots – a total of 20 on the period (in comparison to the Storm’s five shots) – in which the overage goaltender would be perfect through. 

The story didn’t alter too much come the middle frame, with the Nichols-show very much on loop as the score remained locked at zero. 

Kincardine, Ontario native Garrett McFadden had a rough night, finding himself in the penalty box for a total of eight minutes on the game, including a four-minute checking-from-behind penalty 1:49 into the second. During the penalty kill, Owen Sound would generate strong pressure with almost perfect puck movement, prompting Nichols to come out as, yet again, the backbone of the Storm’s game through 40 minutes.

Another overager in Tyler Hill also progressed to have a strong game, bringing some much needed offensive energy for a club that hasn’t scored a regulation goal yet this season. Hill drove the net, using size and stride, trying to produce something at the other end of the ice for the visiting club just minutes before the period ended, however, couldn’t quite capitalize as the puck would go wide of McNiven.

With 40 minutes in the books, Nichols faced a total of 33 shots, while the Storm had totaled for 14.

The third period provided a change, with Guelph gaining momentum to have their best period of the game. Sophomore Tyler Boston was in on the team’s two biggest chances, first turning the play around to slide the puck up to Luke Burghardt who would have McNiven out of position but couldn’t get the shot away.

Boston would be in the thick of things again as the clock winded down to the six-minute mark. The Storm generated a four-on-two with the puck fed back to the Newmarket, Ontario native, who wound up in close for a good shot away but would be robbed by McNiven.

McNiven would, once again, come up big in the dying seconds of the game as newly appointed assistant captain Marc Stevens would fire a sharp shot, forcing the Attack netminder to come up with a big glove save.

That would be it for regulation, prompting the new three-on-three overtime format to decide the game. 

The story of saves didn’t end there, however, as both netminders continued impressive play between the pipes. An end-to-end sequence featured the Storm’s Givani Smith walking in to the Attack’s defensive zone for a break in off the wing, yet unable to beat the quick McNiven. Shortly thereafter, Nichols remained perfect, stopping a breakaway.

Keeping in tune with the action of three-on-three, the Attack would then break in on a two-on-one with defenceman Noah Carroll in on the play with 1:16 remaining in the overtime period. Josh Sterk of Owen Sound would feed Jaden Lindo who would make no mistake but to roof it high over a scrambling Nichols. 

With that, Owen Sound took the game in a 1-0 final.

The Storm are back in action on Oct. 2 at the Sleeman Centre with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in town.

GAME NOTES

  • Saturday’s match-up was the first of eight meetings between the Attack and the Storm on the season.
  • Guelph has now been shutout for six straight periods.
  • Storm assistant captain Garrett McFadden is a native of nearby Kincardine, Ontario.
  • The Storm are back in action next against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Oct. 2. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at the Sleeman Centre. 

—–

Guelph Storm 0 at Owen Sound Attack 1 (OT) – Status: End of Game
Saturday, September 26, 2015 – Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre

Guelph 0 0 0 0 – 0
Owen Sound 0 0 0 1 – 1

1st Period– No Scoring. Penalties-McFadden Gue (slashing), 11:06.

2nd Period– No Scoring. Penalties-McFadden Gue (check from behind, check from behind), 1:49; Burghardt Gue (interference), 4:48; Palmu Os (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 4:48; Hill Gue (holding), 14:36; McFadden Gue (delay of game), 17:47.

3rd Period– No Scoring. Penalties-No Penalties

OT Period-1, Owen Sound, Lindo 2 (Sterk), 3:44.

Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on GoalGuelph 5-9-13-3-30. Owen Sound 19-14-8-5-46.
Power Play OpportunitiesGuelph 0 / 0; Owen Sound 0 / 5.
GoaliesGuelph, Nichols 0-1-1-0 (46 shots-45 saves). Owen Sound, McNiven 2-0-0-0 (30 shots-30 saves).

A-2,874
Referees-Steve Picco (24), Mike Cairns (34).
Linesmen-Kevin McArthur (47), Scott Lawson (98).

Three Stars:

3) OS – 22 Jaden Lindo 

2) GUE – 39 Justin Nichols

1) OS – 40 Michael McNiven

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