by Matt Pelkey
It wasn’t a good weekend for the standings, but the effort was sure there.
The Guelph Storm dropped their fourth straight game and third in three nights Sunday night at the Sleeman Centre, getting blanked 2-0 by their Highway 7 rival Kitchener Rangers.
Though all losses, the Storm were competitive in all three games on the weekend and had a chance to win each one. Justin Nichols, who started all three, stopped 101 of 108 shots over that span, including 35 on Sunday.
Facing a tough Kitchener team who has yet to lose in regulation this year wasn’t exactly the easiest way to end the weekend.
After a scoreless first period that saw the visitors outshoot the home team 12-6, the Rangers netted two second period goals that proved to be the difference.
Brandon Robinson’s tally at 8:08 of the middle frame proved to be the winner Sunday night when Robinson, skating down the right wing in transition, wristed a shot over the left glove of Nichols.
Kitchener added to their lead with 2:55 left in the second when Brian Brosnan beat Nichols with a soft shot through a screen from the left circle.
The home team had a number of quality scoring chances throughout the game, but it was Kitchener’s Luke Opilka who kept all 30 shots sent his way out of the net.
Opilka turned aside two Tyler Boston one-timers from the slot in addition to an Isaac Ratcliffe wrister from the top of the crease generated from a two-on-one with Nicolas Sicoly back in the first period.
Surprisingly, the Storm still had some gas left in the tank in the final period. Despite stretches of heavy pressure, missed passes and shots proved costly as the Rangers emerged from the matchup with a 2-0 victory.
It was the fourth time this season that the Storm were shutout, already surpassing last season’s total of three.
Guelph’s powerplay, which ranked first in the league with a 27.8% success rate entering the game, went 0-for-4 and struggled to create any real threats. The Rangers’ powerplay unit was 0-for-1.
Final shots were 37-30 for the Rangers.
With the loss, Guelph drops to 1-7-1-0, while Kitchener improves to 6-0-3-0.
The Storm will hit the ice next on Wednesday, October 21, when they head north to Owen Sound. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 PM.
– Guelph lost their 4th consecutive game and were shutout for the 4th time this season
– Last season, Guelph and Kitchener split the season series, each winning 4 games
– With the loss, Kitchener now leads the season series 1-0
– The Rangers’ Connor Bunnaman is a Guelph native
Kitchener Rangers 2 at Guelph Storm 0 – Status: Final
Sunday, October 18, 2015 – Sleeman Centre
Kitchener 0 2 0 – 2
Guelph 0 0 0 – 0
1st Period– No Scoring.Penalties-Kohn Kit (fighting), 2:06; Stevens Gue (fighting, misc-helmet), 2:06; Brosnan Kit (slashing), 12:08.
2nd Period-1, Kitchener, Robinson 2 (Mascherin, MacInnis), 8:08. 2, Kitchener, Brosnan 1 (Franzen), 17:05. Penalties-Sergeev Kit (hooking), 4:49; Henderson Kit (slashing), 19:41.
3rd Period– No Scoring.Penalties-Brosnan Kit (cross checking), 9:37; Stevens Gue (roughing), 12:29; Llewellyn Kit (roughing), 17:15; Garcia Gue (roughing), 17:15.
Shots on Goal-Kitchener 12-17-8-37. Guelph 6-9-15-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Kitchener 0 / 1; Guelph 0 / 4.
Goalies-Kitchener, Opilka 4-0-2-0 (30 shots-30 saves). Guelph, Nichols 1-4-1-0 (37 shots-35 saves).
Referees-Sean Reid (26), Ben Moser (37).
Linesmen-Jordan Browne (93), Dustin McCrank (68).
1) KIT Brian Brosnan – 1 goal
2) KIT Luke Opilka – 30 saves
3) GUE Justin Nichols – 35 saves