Good news for Guelph! Their captain Matt Finn will return to the lineup tonight. The Storm are coming off a weekend where they clinched a playoff spot and went 2-1, beating Niagara and Sudbury, the wins were separated by a shutout loss to Barrie. The team was able to clinch a playoff spot for the 21st straight year. More good news from last weekend, with his 2 wins Garret Sparks (Pictured Left) now has a new career high in wins with 31. That number will only go up in what has been the Leafs prospects best year to date in his OHL career.
This weekend will test the Storm's bus legs as they head north to face the Greyhounds and the Sudbury Wolves. Both the Hounds and Wolves find themselves in the playoffs but Sudbury has yet to clinch. With both teams looking to improve their playoff position Guelph won't be able to take any shifts off, especially against the Hounds.
@Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds- (33-21-3-3= 72 pts) 6th in the West.
Gametime: Friday March 1st 7:07 PM
The Guelph Storm find themselves playing their biggest game of the year so far tonight against the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The Soo are just 1 point behind the Storm in the Western Conference. Both teams have clinched a playoff birth but want to improve their position. Guelph will have to becareful with the Hounds as it seems no matter what the score is the Hounds are never out of any game.
-The Storm will get a huge break as the OHL's leading scorer Nick Cousins will miss the game due to suspension for an incident from last weekend. Cousins will be serving the 3rd game of the a 4 game suspension.
-The Soo have already played once this week, losing in a shootout to the Wolves. The positive in that game for the Hounds was that their rookies stepped up huge. McCann and Tolchinsky looked great and accounted for 3 of the Soo's 4 goals.
-Each team has beat the other in their own barn so far this season with the winner scoring at least 6 times.
Players to watch:
If you're looking for draft eligible players, then I have 2 guys for you to keep a watchful eye on. The 1st really needs no introduction as I am sure if you follow draft talk you have heard Darnell Nurse's name a time or two. Nurse will be a 1st round pick in this years draft and has started to see a jump in his offensive numbers this year. The second guy is Sergey Tolchinsky. He scored a beautiful goal in Guelph last time these teams met, he was standing alone near the bottom of the far circle and batted the puck out of mid air past a sprawling Garret Sparks.
@Sudbury Wolves- (27-23-4-7=65 pts) 5th in the East.
Gametime: Sunday March 3rd 2:00 PM
Last weekend these teams faced one another for the 1st this year and Guelph officially renamed the Wolves, the Sudburied Wolves because they hammered them 7-2. Only Michael Kantor could solve the goaltending rubix cube that is Garret Sparks. Sudbury bounced back Wednesday night however defeating the Greyhounds in a shootout and they will take on the Peterborough Pete's tonight. It won't be east though, the Pete's have found their stride and are making a playoff push that was thought to be impossible.
-The most impressive stat from the Storm's game against Sudbury last weekend was that Guelph had 7 different goal scorers in the game. Patrick Watling had a game high 3 points.
-Last year the Storm were 1-1 against Sudbury, having already beat them last weekend Guelph will hope to better last years record against the Wolves. On the opposite side Sudbury will look to prove their not the push overs them seemed to be last Sunday.
-It doesn't get any easier for the Wolves after this Sunday's game. A quick look at their schedule shows that their remaining games are against Barrie, Niagara, Oshawa, and 2 against Belleville.
Player to watch:
Dominik Kahun the Czech import has had a solid rookie season for the Wolves posting 12 goals, 23 assists for 35 points in 51 games. The knock on Kahun is his size, much like the Hounds Tolchinsky, Kahun is on the smaller side standing at 5'9. He is not as offensively gifted as Tolchinksy but has showed flashes of brilliance at times. He is also eligible for this years NHL draft.
The Storm have lost their last 2 road games (Plymouth, Barrie) that streak will end, but not tonight. Despite missing the OHL's current leading scorer Nick Cousins, I think the Hounds will still get the victory in extra time. But the Storm will bounce back against Sudbury and get the 2 points.
Look for Robby Fabbri to score his 11th of the year either tonight or Sunday in Sudbury.
My interview with Niagara's Ryan Strome has not been posted yet. As soon as it is I will tweet the link so you can listen.
Thanks for reading and as always follow me on Twitter @ChrisMcdonald91