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The Storm Get Stung, Hottot Pots Two. A Storm Hits Plymouth

First off sorry for the delay in posting this game report. I was writing this report on a new site we are trying out and it doesn't auto save long story short, blog goes up late. My apologies.

As the regular season winds down each game becomes more and more important for the bubble teams. The Guelph Storm defiantly fit into this category. As of Friday afternoon they were on the outside looking in. They were in 9th place in the West, one point out of a playoff position. After upsetting the 67's last Friday on the road the Storm were looking for an encore at home against the Sarnia Sting.

The Storm's power play unit got on the ice early as Sting forward Craig Hottot received a minor penalty for clipping, as he was skating to the sin bin he let the officials know what he thought of the call. In response the officials let Hottot know what they thought of his opinion by slapping him with an extra two for unsportsmanlike. The extra minor would be costly for the Sting, with just seconds left in the second minor penalty Scott Kosmachuk wired a shot high short side over Sting goaltender J.P. Anderson to put the home team up 1-0. For the remainder of the period the teams exchanged power plays and scoring chances. Late in the first Sting defence men Alex Basso went for a big hit along the boards but only got half man, half boards. He would take a couple shifts in the second but would eventually leave the game for good. Both Sparks and Anderson came up with big saves to keep the score 1-0 in favor of Guelph after one.

Sarnia would start the second on the power play but couldn't find the back of the net. Just a minute after killing off the Pedan minor Guelph Defence men would get his stick up high on a Sarnia forward which would give the Sting a four minute advantage of their own, Sting forward Brett Thompson would get called for hitting from behind erasing the later half of the advantage. Just moments into the Thompson infraction Hottot would take a stick to the face in his own end, instead of staying down he got right back up and headed up ice with his teammates and was rewarded when he put the puck past Sparks to tie things up at one. Spencer Turcotte and Justice Dundas would drop the gloves with Turcotte getting the decision. Guelph it would seem had stolen the momentum back, that was not the case though as a minute later Ludvig Rensfeldt would take a pass from Thompson and put the puck around Sparks and into the net putting Sarnia up 2-1, a lead they would not relinquish. Again the teams would exchange power plays but the score after two would stay 2-1 for the Sting. Despite the score the Storm really controlled most of the play in the second period but they just couldn't capitalize on their chance's.

Early in the third the Storm would take a few minor penalties that seemed to really take away the momentum they had built late in the second. At the 11:07 mark of the period things started to look good as Dundas would run Sparks and it looked like Guelph would head to the power play but Sparks would proceed to feed Dundas's face with blocker shots. After things calmed down Sparks would get a minor for roughing much to the delight of the Storm faithful who cheered for Sparks and enjoyed the one sided exchange. With both teams sending a player to the box, it was four on four hockey. Sarnia would send the puck down the ice and a foot race between Sting forward Domenic Alberga and Guelph goalie Garret Sparks, Sparks won the race and with a spin-o-rama tried to fling the puck out of the zone with his trapper instead of hanging on to the puck. Before the puck could clear the zone however Charles Sarault picked it up and had a wide open net and didn't miss his chance as he put it right in the net to make it 3-1 Sting. With their collective backs against the wall the Storm responded just fifty-five seconds later when Andrey Pedan fired the puck at the net but the shot was blocked and went directly to a wide open Cody McNaughton who fired the puck into the empty side of the cage to make it a one goal game again. However the final nail in the Storm coffin came with just under 3 minutes to go when Zack Mitchell would take a penalty for tripping. Just after the penalty expired Hottot attacked the net from the goal line and slide it behind Sparks but the puck went straight across the goal line and stayed out, but as Sparks was searching for the puck his pad accidentally bumped the puck across the line with only forty-five seconds remaining. The Sting won the game 4-2.

The news got worse for the Storm and their fans after the game as Windsor collected two points for beating the Knights, the Soo came back and defeated Saginaw in OT so the Soo were awarded two points and the Spirit managed to get one. The Storm are now 3 points back of the Grey Hounds for the 8th and final playoff spot, but have 3 games in hand on the Hounds.

Projected first overall pick Nail Yakupov looked really good at times going past and through Storm players, but Matt Finn and the Guelph defence did a great job of holding Yakupov goalless. Sparks also had to be sharp and held up his end of the bargain making big saves on a few occasions stoning Nail.

Next up for the Storm are the Plymouth Whalers in Plymouth. I just checked the score and Guelph was victorious 9-1. Cody McNaughton had a hat trick and two assists on the night. Garret Sparks made 30 saves on the evening, if the Storm hope to make the playoffs they have to beat teams ahead of them in the standings which is the majority of the league. Guelph wrap up their tough weekend on Monday against the third place Kitchener Rangers.

Give me a follow for in game tweet's and updates @ChrisMcdonald91

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