The Guelph Storm scored three goals – a game-tying goal, a game-winner and an empty net insurance marker – in a span of 1:19 to stun the Kitchener Rangers with a 7-5, come-from-behind win in front of 2,832 fans at the Sleeman Centre on Tuesday night in Game 3.
The Rangers now lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1, with Game 4 slated for tomorrow night at 7pm at the Sleeman Centre.
Even more of a dagger was how late in the game the Storm’s scoring spree came; with just 2:09 left to play in regulation and with the Rangers holding a 5-4 lead.
The game tying goal came by way of the power play, which was a thorn in the side of the Blueshirts all night long. The Storm would finish the night with three goals in five opportunities with the man advantage.
Kole Sherwood led the Rangers offensively with a pair of goals and tied Logan Brown for a team-high seven shots on goal. Brown, along with Kyle Gentles, were the only other multi-point performers for Kitchener each with a pair of assists.
Logan Stanley, Givani Smith and Riley Damiani were the other goal scorers for the Rangers, who will now host a Game 5 at The Aud on Friday, March 30 at 7:30pm. Tickets for Game 5 will go on sale tomorrow morning, Wednesday, March 28 at 10am. Purchase options are listed below.
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the night which saw the Rangers open the game’s scoring with Stanley’s first goal – and third point – of the post-season, from Jonathan Yantsis and Adam Liška just 3:08 into the first period to give Kitchener a 1-0 lead.
But Guelph would strike back just over two minutes later with their first goal on the man advantage, as Garrett McFadden tallied his first of the playoffs, from Isaac Ratcliffe and Nate Schnarr, to even things up at 1-1 at 5:20.
The Storm’s first lead came on the stick of Barret Kirwin from Mason Primeau at 10:26, but the lead was short-lived as Sherwood’s first of the night made it 2-2, from Brown and Vukojevic, at 13:01.
Smith rounded out the high-scoring first period with his second goal of the post-season campaign against his former club, from Brown and Gentles, to give the visitors a 3-2 lead heading into the break.
Despite the score being close through the opening 20 minutes, the shots on goal were lopsided in Kitchener’s favour, 14-6.
Midway through the second frame the Storm found their second equalizer of the game, as Liam Hawel made it 3-3, from Zach Poirier and Primeau at 9:29.
But the Rangers stole the momentum back quickly thereafter as Damiani registered his second of the playoffs just 40 seconds later, putting Kitchener up 4-3. Nick McHugh earned the lone assist on the goal at 10:09.
A late period marker by Schnarr, from Ratcliffe and Ryan Merkley, sent the game into the second intermission tied 4-4.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes were 29-15, Kitchener.
Sherwood’s second of the night came early in the third – 1:58 – and looked like it could potentially stand to be the game winner as the Rangers held on to that 5-4 lead until nearly two minutes left in the game.
With the Storm on their fifth power play of the night, Alexey Toropchenko once again made it a tie game, 5-5, from Ratcliffe and Merkley.
Just 24 seconds later fortune and some lucky bounces went the Storm’s way as Poirier gave his team the 6-5 go-ahead with 1:45 to play before Cedric Ralph added an unassisted empty netter at 19:10 to solidify the 7-5 final.
Shots on goal at the final buzzer were 35-26, Kitchener.
The Rangers were held scoreless on their one and only power play opportunity of the night, while the Storm were 3-for-5 with the man advantage.
Kole Sherwood (KIT) (3), Isaac Ratcliffe (GUE) (2), and Zach Poirier (GUE) (1) were selected as the Three Stars of the Game.
Logan Stanley, Adam Mascherin, and Logan Brown each wore an “A” and skated as alternates to Rangers’ captain Connor Bunnaman.
Tickets to all Kitchener Rangers home playoff games are $24.00 each for adults, $20.00 for children 12 and under including HST. They are available in person or by calling the Activa Box Office at The Aud, from Centre in the Square (519) 578-1570 -or- 1-800-265-8977, or by purchasing online here. Fans can also find more information about playoff tickets here.
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Western Conference Quarter-Final
(2) Kitchener Rangers vs. (7) Guelph Storm
Kitchener leads series 2-1
Game 1 – Friday, March 23: Guelph Storm 2 at Kitchener Rangers 7
Game 2 – Sunday, March 25: Guelph Storm 1 at Kitchener Rangers 2
Game 3 – Tuesday, March 27: Kitchener Rangers 5 at Guelph Storm 7
Game 4 – Wednesday, March 28: Kitchener Rangers at Guelph Storm 7pm
Game 5 – Friday, March 30: Guelph Storm at Kitchener Rangers 7:30pm
*Game 6 – Sunday, April 1: Kitchener Rangers at Guelph Storm 2pm
*Game 7 – Tuesday, April 3: Guelph Storm at Kitchener Rangers 7pm