The Guelph Storm started out their 2019 Memorial Cup journey a little shaky. The Storm fell behind 1-0 2:17 into the first period in what should have been a harmless play. Vincent Marleau drove down the outside of the ice looking to allow his linemates to make a change and finding room under Storm’s goalie Anthony Popovich’s arm to put his team up 1-0.
After that, the Storm found their game and didn’t look back en route to a 5-2 win over the QMJHL Champions, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
Let’s take a look at the top five players for the Storm.
*Legend of stat abbreviations and meaning at the bottom of the page*
16:44 TOI / 3 G / 4 SOG / 9 DZS / 2 NZS / 7 OZS / 42 CF% / +2 / 1 Natural Hat-Trick
Alexey Toropchenko was the Storm’s top player in the first period when they needed one of their someone to take control of the game. Toropchenko started it off with a short-handed goal 11:00 into the first period to tie the game. The Moscow, Russia native would add his second marker less than 2 minutes later and would complete the natural hat-trick with 1:37 left in the first period. Toropchenko’s third goal would hold up as the eventual game-winner. The St. Louis Blue’s prospect would see his minutes in all situations, seeing 2:39 on the penalty kill, 0:56 on the power-play and 13:14 at even-strength.
23:49 TOI / 1 PA / 2 SA / 3 P / 3 SOG / 9 DZS / 2NZS / 7 OZS/ 61 CF% / +2 /
Sean Durzi showed everyone his offensive and defensive sides of his game. Durzi started his offensive showcase when he notched the secondary assist on Toropchenko’s hat-trick and the game winner. The right-shot defenseman then added two more assists in the second period, including the primary assist on Suzuki’s goal, when he showed his hockey sense jumping in on a 2-on-1 with Suzuki, settling down the pass before sliding back to Suzuki for the tap-in. The Mississauga native also showed his strong defensive play, with a +11 CF differential while starting in the defensive zone 50% of the time.
24:03 TOI / 1 G / 5 SOG / 6 DZS / 3 NZS / 6 OZS / 58 CF% / +1 /
Nick Suzuki led all forwards in ice-time and was flying all over the ice on the fore-check and back-check making life hard for the Huskies. Suzuki had five shots-on-goal, including a goal that saw the Montreal Canadiens prospect turn on the jets with Durzi and the long-time team-mates made a highlight reel back and forth play. The center-man didn’t have the best night in the face-off dot, finishing 7/19 but did cover his defensive responsibilities with a 58 CF% while starting in the defensive zone 40% of the time.
23:31 TOI / 1 PA / 4 SOG / 6 DZS / 3NZS / 6 OZS / 58 CF% / +2 /
Isaac Ratcliffe was all over the ice with line-mates Suzuki and MacKenzie Entwistle, including setting up Entwistle to make it a 4-1 game. Ratcliffe also added four shots-on-goal, while playing in all situations. The Storm captain played 1:11 on the penalty kill, 0:56 on the power-play and 21:24 at even-strength.
2 Goals-Against / 22 Saves / 0.916 SV% /
Anthony Popovich might have had some nerves when he let in the second shot he faced in the game but Popovich was rock solid after that. The Belleville, Ontario native made 21 of 22 saves after that to help the Guelph Storm win the opening game of their Memorial Cup tournament. The Storm goalie had a 0.923 combined high and medium danger save percentage.
TOI – Time On Ice (Amount of time a player was on the ice in all situations)
G – Goal (Goal scored in all situations)
PA – Primary Assist (Last person to touch the puck before goal score)
SA – Secondary Assist (Second last person to touch the puck before goal scorer)
SOG – Shots On Goal (Shot on goal in all situations)
DZS – Defensive Zone Start (Start shift during a defensive zone draw)
NZS – Neutral Zone Start (Start shift during a neutral zone draw)
OZS – Offensive Zone Start (Start shift during an offensive zone draw)
CF % – Corsi For Percentage (Percentage of even-strength shot-attempts while on the ice)
+/- – Plus/Minus (Even-strength goal for or against while on the ice)