Storm Eliminate London From Memorial Cup
LONDON, Ont. — The Guelph Storm eliminated the host London Knights from the Memorial Cup with a 7-2 win Wednesday.
The Ontario Hockey League champion Storm went undefeated in the round robin at 3-0 and will play in Sunday’s championship game.
Matt Finn finished the night with two assists and was a +1. He has four points, all assists in three games with a +8 rating.
Although he did record an assist in Wednesday's loss, it was a tough night for Leafs prospect Ryan Rupert who finished the tournament at minus 3.
The Val-d’Or Foreurs, 2-1, and Edmonton Oil Kings, 1-2, meet in Friday’s semifinal with the winner facing the Storm for this year’s Cup.
Watch the semi-final featuring Leafs prospect Antoine Bibeau at 7pm on Sportsnet.
Scott Kosmachuk led the Storm with a hat trick, Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice and Jason Dickinson and Marc Stevens added a goal apiece for the Storm and their explosive offence that’s produced 18 goals in three games in the tournament.
Brett Welychka and Josh Anderson replied for the host Knights, who were winless in their own tournament. London needed a win against their OHL rival to get into a tiebreaker game.
Knights goalie Anthony Stolarz stopped 14-of-17 shots and was replaced by Jake Patterson early in the second when he in advertently kicked the puck into his own net. Patterson allowed four goals on 21 shots.
The Storm’s Justin Nichols held off the Knights when they pressed late in the first period and midway through the second. He made 45 saves for the win.
Guelph also ousted London from this year’s OHL playoffs on Apr. 11, so the host team had five weeks without a game prior to the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
This was London’s third straight appearance in the Canadian Hockey League’s championship tournament after winning the OHL title in 2012 and 2013. This was the earliest exit of the three.
The Knights lost in the 2012 final 2-1 in overtime to the host Shawinigan Cataractes. They were eliminated in last year’s tournament in Saskatoon by the Portland Winterhawks in the semifinal.
London was one of three OHL teams along with Guelph to score over 300 goals in the regular season, but their offence sputtered and their goaltending situation was unsettled at the Memorial Cup.
The Knights were stopped on two penalty shots in the tournament and they scored once on 11 power-play chances. Stolarz was replaced by Patterson both Wednesday and after two periods of Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Edmonton.
The Windsor Spitfires were the last team to go 3-0 in the round robin en route to winning their second Cup in a row in 2010.
This year’s preliminary-round finale featured a pair of frightening knee-on-knee collisions, although the players in each case escaped major injury.
Storm assistant captain Zack Mitchell was booted from the game at 6:56 of the the first period for kneeing London defenceman Dakota Mermis.
The CHL suspended his Storm teammate Chadd Bauman for the rest of the tournament Wednesday for the same hit on Val-d’Or defenceman Guillaume Gelinas on Monday.
Knights defenceman Nikita Zadorov took a tripping minor in a second-collision with Bertuzzi, who limped off the ice.
But both Mermis and Bertuzzi stayed in Wednesday’s game, whereas Gelinas was unable to play the following night against Edmonton.
London’s frustration at its early exit boiled over in the final minutes. Stevens scored Guelph’s fourth power-play goal of the game on a two-man advantage at 17:14.
Kosmachuk finished a pretty passing play with Kerby Rychel and Robbi Fabbri and beat Patterson between the pads at 8:01 of the third to complete his hat trick. Dickinson scored another power-play goal at 1:20 of the third period.
Bertuzzi was roundly booed by the capacity at Budweiser Gardens, who believed he embellished the Zadarov hit.
The nephew of Detroit Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi further alienated the Knights faithful by beating Patterson high glove side with wrist shot at 16:05 of the second to make it 4-2.
Anderson backhanded a rebound by Nichols at 5:34 to draw the Knights within a goal.
Guelph went up 3-1 early in the second on an own-goal by the Knights. Bertuzzi’s shot off the backboards bounced to the side of London’s net as Stolarz slid to his right to play it.
The puck deflected off the goalie’s pad and in at 2:23 for Guelph’s second power-play goal of the game. Stolarz was replaced by Patterson for the second game in a row.
After two goals by Knights defencemen, Welychka was the first Knights forward to score in the tournament. Ryan Rupert threaded the puck across the offensive zone for Welychka, who scored a power-play goal at 17:05 of the first period.
London couldn’t turn Mitchell’s major into a goal and Matt Rupert reduced their power play time with a high-sticking minor.
Kosmachuk scored his second of the period during Guelph’s man advantage. The Winnipeg Jets prospect banged in a rebound from the slot at 12:44 for a 2-0 lead.
Hard work behind London’s net by Brock McGinn and Dickinson helped generate Guelph’s first goal at 5:56. They chased down the dump-in to gain control of the puck and McGinn fed Kosmachuk in the slot.