Sunday afternoon in front of 4,993 at the Sleeman Centre, the Storm took a hard fought 5-4 shootout win over the Kitchener Rangers to clinch a spot in the OHL playoffs for the 18th consecutive season. The victory leaves Guelph only two points behind Saginaw for seventh and three points back of sixth place Erie with a head-to-head meeting against the Otters on tap for this Friday night in Guelph.
The Rangers held 1-0 and 4-2 leads in the contest, but each time the hosts battled back to pull even. After Gabriel Landeskog scored in the first, Guelph would reply with two of their own only 54 seconds apart to grab their first lead of the game heading into the first break.
Outplayed and outchanced in the opening twenty by Guelph, Kitchener dominated the middle frame with Matthew Tipoff scoring a pair followed by Jeremy Morin to give the visitors the first two goal lead of the afternoon. Down 4-2, Guelph’s first shot of the second took over 11 minutes to record, but they made it count with Sam Lofquist finishing off a three on two with a rocket of a shot past Mike Morrison only seconds after the Storm killed off the fourth straight Kitchener powerplay. Shots on goal were 14-4 in the second and the visitors would own a one goal advantage of their own when the puck dropped for the third stanza.
The third period proved to be the tightest of the game with only a single shot separating the two teams on the shot clock and only a single goal separating them on the scoreboard. Fortunately for the home crowd, it was the Storm that owned the advantage in both. After some sustained pressure in the Kitchener zone, Tim Campbell grabbed a failed clearing attempt and quickly snapped it on goal. Parked in front of Morrison, Sisca deflected it off the inside of the post and in for the equalizer. With less than a minute to play, the Rangers would get a golden opportunity to settle this one in regulation when Cody McNaughton was whistled for interference. The Storm would kill off 46 seconds of the man advantage in the third and hold the Rangers off the board on their 1:14 four-on-three in overtime.
After a scoreless sudden death, the clubs went to a shootout where Brandon Foote maintained his perfect OHL shootout record stopping all three Kitchener shooters. Over the past two seasons, the Storm netminder is a perfect 13 of 13 in the shootout and owns a 5-0 record. Peter Holland beat Morrison on Guelph’s first attempt and capped off a first star performance to lift the Storm to a 5-4 win.
Only three games remain for the Storm in the 2009-10 regular season. Guelph will be hoping that next Friday night’s home game against the Erie Otters is a battle for sixth or seventh in the conference. Friday’s contest is Fan Appreciation Night with great giveaways throughout the game including the Pizza Pizza Fan of the Year and $1,000 in Pizza Pizza Gift Certificates up for grabs. For tickets call or visit the Guelph Storm box office.
Kitchener Rangers 4 At Guelph Storm 5 (SO) – Status: End of Game SO
Mar 7, 2010 – Sleeman Centre
Kitchener 1 3 0 0 – 4
Guelph 2 1 1 0 – 5
1st Period-1, Kitchener, Landeskog 22 (Akeson, Skinner), 3:40. 2, Guelph, McNaughton 15 (Menard), 13:25. 3, Guelph, Latta 32 (Sisca, Holland), 14:19. Penalties-Akeson Kit (tripping), 9:36; Tipoff Kit (slashing), 9:51; Beck Gue (interference), 10:09.
2nd Period-4, Kitchener, Tipoff 22 (Mascioli, Cimadamore), 4:54. 5, Kitchener, Tipoff 23 (Akeson, Moore), 6:05 (pp). 6, Kitchener, Morin 46 (Akeson, Moore), 9:04 (pp). 7, Guelph, Lofquist 5 (Holland), 11:13. Penalties-Latta Gue (interference), 5:32; Sandlak Gue (hooking), 8:26; O’Donnell Gue (tripping), 9:04; Sisca Gue (high sticking), 13:54; MacKinnon Kit (hooking), 15:02.
3rd Period-8, Guelph, Sisca 33 (Campbell), 4:59. Penalties-Skinner Kit (inter. on goaltender), 0:29; Akeson Kit (10-min. misc.), 9:33; Kelly Kit (10-min. misc.), 9:33; Morin Kit (fighting), 9:33; Latta Gue (fighting), 9:33; Sisca Gue (10-min. misc.), 9:33; Syvret Gue (10-min. misc.), 9:33; Skinner Kit (slashing), 11:38; Skinner Kit (slashing), 16:14; McNaughton Gue (interference), 19:14.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout – Kitchener 0 (MacKinnon NG, Morin NG, Skinner NG), Guelph 1 (Holland G, Latta NG, Beck NG).
Shots on Goal-Kitchener 8-14-7-0-0-29. Guelph 12-4-8-0-1-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Kitchener 2 of 6; Guelph 0 of 6.
Goalies-Kitchener, Morrison 5-1-1-0 (24 shots-20 saves). Guelph, Foote 16-8-1-0 (29 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Jason Faist (5), Brent Holdsworth (22).
Linesmen-Darryl Wolfe (53), Ben Wilson (92).