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Guelph Storm gets its mojo back and sends Prince Albert packing (7 photos)

Guelph dominates 'gassed' Raiders to finish round robin portion of Memorial Cup at 2-1 and advance to either semifinal or final

HALIFAX – They weren't going to be outworked two games in a row.

The Guelph Storm rebounded from a sub-par effort two nights ago with a near-dominant performance against the Prince Albert Raiders Tuesday, wrapping up the round-robin portion of their Memorial Cup with a 2-1 record following a 5-2 victory over the Western Hockey League champions.

Prince Albert (0-3) is eliminated.

Guelph must now wait for the final round robin game Wednesday between Halifax (2-0) and Rouyn-Noranda (1-1) to find out if they play in the semifinal on Friday or go straight to the final on Sunday.

"We just wanted to come out with a strong head on our shoulders and play with a little more confidence than we did in our last game and we did that," Storm captain Isaac Ratcliffe said.

"We tried to come back with a little bit more pace tonight. That comes with energy and that comes with rest."

The big man had a goal and two assists and linemate Nick Suzuki had two goals and an assist to lead the Storm attack.

"We got our chances tonight and the best part about it was that we capitalized on them too."

It was a 2-2 game after 20 minutes, but the Storm's Liam Hawel fired home a power play goal from the top of the slot early in the second to give Guelph the lead for good.

They led 4-2 after two periods and held the Raiders to just 21 shots on Anthony Popovich.

"We knew we had to up our compete level and win more corner battles and stick battles and I think we did a good job of that the whole game," Suzuki said.

"We're definitely happy, but now we have to watch this next game and see where that takes us."

A complicated tie-breaking formula could determine who goes to the final.

Wednesday's scenario plays out as follows:

If Halifax wins, or loses by one goal, with a score less than 5-4, the Mooseheads go straight to the final.

If Rouyn-Noranda wins by one goal with a score of 5-4 or higher, wins by two, three or four goals (other than 4-0) Guelph goes straight to the final. If Rouyn-Noranda wins 4-0, or by five goals or more. they go straight to the final.

"We showed some improvement," said Storm coach George Burnett. "We don't need to play like the Globetrotters. We need to play hard and take care of the puck. If we do we will score some pretty goals."

The Storm coach said there's still room for improvement.

"Was it our best game tonight? Not even close .... we know we can be better than we have been so far in the tournament."

Tuesday was Guelph's 100th game of the season.

An emotional Prince Albert coach Marc Habscheid said his team was running on fumes against the Storm.

"Tonight we were gassed," Habscheid said. "We played a fresh team and a very good team."

Habscheid said it wasn't too many years ago that his team was the laughing stock of the WHL and "had sand kicked in our face."

"But no one better look down on these guys, they're a hell of a group."

Prince Albert's Noah Gregor agreed that his team just didn't have any jump on Tuesday, but that the loss shouldn't diminish what the team accomplished this season.

"Small market Prince Albert hadn't won a championship in a very long time, so put P.A. back on the map and there's nothing but good things going forward for this organization."


Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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