by Matt Pelkey
Leave it up to their Highway 7 rivals to spoil the party.
On a day where the Guelph Storm’s all-time leading scorer, Jeff O’Neill, was honoured with a banner raising ceremony, the rival Kitchener Rangers came to town and ruined the fun.
The Storm (2-19-1-0), the OHL’s lowest-scoring team, certainly could have used one of O’Neill’s 120 career goals scored in a Guelph uniform, too.
Kitchener (18-2-3-0) used three third period goals to propel themselves to a 5-1 win over the Storm, handing them their sixth straight loss.
Adam Mascherin scored 1:24 into the third period to give Kitchener a two-goal lead and draining away any life Guelph had in the contest.
Playing four-on-four, Mascherin scored after Storm defenceman Garrett McFadden rushed to the bench after breaking his stick. The Rangers’ forward picked a spot short-side on Bradley Van Schubert before McFadden could get back into the play.
The goal made it 3-1 for the visitors early in the final frame before Gustaf Franzen extended the Kitchener lead to 4-1. Franzen poked in an easy goal after Van Schubert delivered an incredible save on a Joseph Garreffa wrap-around attempt.
With 5:24 remaining, Jeremy Bracco made the hurt even worse for Storm fans when he tallied to make it 5-1.
The Rangers only led 2-1 after 40 minutes.
Thanks to Van Schubert’s start of the season, Guelph trailed by just a single goal while being outshot 19-7 halfway through the game.
Vladislav Barulin knotted the game at one when he redirected a centering James McEwan pass, who was standing to the right side of the Kitchener net, past Kitchener goaltender Luke Opilka, .
Just 37 seconds later, the Rangers reclaimed the lead when Dylan Di Perna fired a slap shot to the left of the net past Van Schubert’s blocker.
Despite a four-minute penalty near the end of the middle frame, Guelph’s league-worst home power play (10.8%) could not capitalize.
Mason Kohn opened the scoring 8:30 into the game when his shot rang off of both posts before trickling over the line behind a sprawling Van Schubert.
Van Schubert stopped 35 shots in the loss while Opilka made 22 saves in the victory.
Final shots were 40-23 for Kitchener.
The Storm have now dropped 16 of their last 17 games.
Guelph returns to action next Friday, November 27 when they begin a two-game road trip in Kingston. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
– Tonight’s game was the 3rd of 8 meetings this season. Kitchener currently leads the season series 3-0.
– Guelph is 3-7 in their last 10 vs the Rangers.
– Prior to the start of the game, the Storm honoured their all-time leading scorer, Jeff O’Neill, with a banner-raising ceremony.
– Rangers forward Connor Bunnaman is a Guelph native.
Kitchener Rangers 5 at Guelph Storm 1 – Status: Final
Saturday, November 21, 2015 – Sleeman Centre
Kitchener 1 1 3 – 5
Guelph 0 1 0 – 1
1st Period-1, Kitchener, Kohn 8 (Bunnaman, Franzen), 8:30. Penalties-Barulin Gue (hooking), 6:16; Robinson Kit (cross checking), 9:38; MacInnis Kit (high sticking), 13:29.
2nd Period-2, Kitchener, Di Perna 2 (MacInnis, Blaisdell), 11:09. 3, Guelph, Barulin 5 (Ratcliffe, McEwan), 11:10. Penalties-Robinson Kit (check from behind-dbl minor), 18:25; Ratcliffe Gue (hooking), 19:34.
3rd Period-4, Kitchener, Mascherin 10 (Roberts), 1:24. 5, Kitchener, Franzen 5 (Garreffa, Bunnaman), 11:17. 6, Kitchener, Bracco 3 (Robinson, Sergeev), 14:36. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Kitchener 13-13-13-39. Guelph 5-8-10-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Kitchener 0 / 2; Guelph 0 / 3.
Goalies-Kitchener, Opilka 13-2-2-0 (23 shots-22 saves). Guelph, Van Schubert 0-9-0-0 (39 shots-34 saves).
Referees-Brent Coulombe (22), Joe Park (27).
Linesmen-Kevin Hastings (61), John Fischer (63).
1) KIT Connor Bunnaman – 2 assists
2) KIT Mason Kohn – 1 goal
3) KIT Gustaf Franzen – 1 goal, 1 assist