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Series Tied at 2, Now A Best of 3 Series

Heading into Thursday's game against the Plymouth Whalers the Guelph Storm were sitting pretty, they had a 2 games to one series lead and they were playing on home ice with a chance to go up three to one in the best of seven series.

The Storm came out of the gate on fire and nearly took the early lead after a puck got by Whalers goalie Scott Wedgewood and hit the post, Guelph's Tanner Richard was right there for the tap in but Wedgewood dove back across the crease to rob Richard of what would've been the games opening goal. Fans however wouldn't have to wait too much longer, later in the period Whalers d-man Nick Malysa was able to keep the puck in and threw it at the net, Tom Wilson was waiting and deflected the puck past the Storm tender Garret Sparks to give Plymouth the lead 1-0. Guelph would get a late power play and would capitalize after some nifty passing that started with Matt Finn passing to Tanner Richard and eventually dished the puck onto Zack Mitchell's stick and Mitchell tied the game up at one, and that's how the period would end.

The Whalers started the second with an abbreviated five on three power play that they wouldn't waste as Dario Trutmann beat Sparks from the point with lots of traffic out front. Plymouth's lead would only last for two minutes however. Jason Dickinson who seems to get better with every game he plays. After he dangled around two defenders, he turned on a dime and found Cody McNaughton wide open in the slot. McNaughton was able to beat Wedgewood to tie it up again. The teams exchanged some power plays but neither team could cash in, the score was 2-2 after 2.

At the start of the third this game seemed destined for OT, however it was not to be. I will get to that in a minute. Plymouth would be awarded a power play when Matt Finn was called for hooking which looked slightly embellished to me. It was the beginning of the referee show. Never the less the Whalers capitalized when JT Miller hit Mitchell Heard with a beautiful blue line to blue line pass which sent Heard in behind everyone and he beat Sparks with ease to give his team a 3-2 lead early in the third. Just past the halfway point of the period in the biggest game of the series, Alex Aleardi put Plymouth up 4-2. It was bad enough the Storm trailed by two with less then ten-minutes to go, but then the officials took over what had been a great game. Tanner Richard was given a 10 minute misconduct for abuse of the official. Less then a minute after Richard was dispatched Scott Kosmachuk was given a 10 minute misconduct as well for abuse of the official. Prior to the Kosmachuk misconduct both he and Austin Levi were given roughing penalties. I was at the opposite end of the rink but what appeared to transpire was that Kosmachuk wanted a piece of Levi but the official wouldn't let him near him and some pushing ensued, hence why he was given a 10 minute misconduct. Too be fair I never seen anything from Kosmachuk that warranted a misconduct. But that coupled with the Richard misconduct spelt the end for the Storm's series lead and game 4. Aleardi would add a second goal to give the Whalers a 5-2 lead with three minutes to go. The officials weren't done there though, a minute after Aleardi's goal Jamie Devane hit Guelph's Brock McGinn from behind which sent everyone into a frenzy that seen Devane, Aleardi, and Guelph's Matt Finn all receive 10 minute misconducts. Cooler heads would prevail for the remaining two minutes and after the horn ended the game, Plymouth had tied the series at 2 games a piece.

The series is now a best of three with Plymouth retaining home ice advantage. Game five goes Saturday at 6:30pm in Plymouth. Needless to say the winner of game five controls their own destiny and will have a chance to eliminate the opposing team in game 6.

My prediction for game 5 is as follows, I see the Storm retaking the series lead and winning the game by a final of 4-3. Look for Dickinson and Finn to have big games.

Give me a follow @Chrismcdonald91. You can also listen to my post game interview with Plymouth Whalers goalie Scott Wedgewood on the site under the heading ITO Playoff Interviews.

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