Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Off-Season Outlook: Guelph Not Done Yet

2018-19 OHL Season: The Guelph Storm were able to defy all odds in their 2018-2019 OHL Championship season as they defeated the Ottawa 67’s to capture their fourth Robertson Cup in franchise history. Guelph finished the regular season fourth in the Western Conference with a record of 40-18-6-4, totaling 90 points and slotting them against the Kitchener Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. Captain Isaac Ratcliffe led the way on offense for the Storm with 50 goals (82 total points), while goaltender Anthony Popovich posted his first 30 win season of his OHL career.

Isaac Ratcliffe of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

New Faces Lead the Way: Forwards Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound) and MacKenzie Entwistle (Hamilton) were both picked up in trades midway through the season, both of whom turned out to be keys to both regular season and playoff success. Suzuki, the Montreal Canadians prospect, totaled 49 points (12 G, 37 A) in just 29 regular season games for the Storm while setting a single-playoff points record with 42, a Guelph record previously held by Martin St-Pierre with 35. Entwistle chipped in 30 points (15 G, 15, A) in 28 regular season games as well as 21 points (7 G, 14 A) 24 playoff games. Defenseman Sean Durzi, acquired in the Suzuki trade, also played a key role for the Storm as a strong two-way presence following the departure of Ryan Merkley.

Comeback Kids: Although the Storm were able to capture the 2018-2019 OHL title by handing Ottawa their first and only four losses of the postseason, it was by no means a walk in the park. After their first-round sweep of the Kitchener, Rangers Guelph was forced to come back from 3-0, 3-1, and 2-0 series deficits in the last three rounds against London, Saginaw, and Ottawa respectively. Guelph showed tremendous poise and resiliency to come back in each of those series and even defeat a previously undefeated 67’s team who had not lost a game over the first 12 games of their postseason.

Memorial Cup Bound: With Robertson Cup in hand, the Guelph Storm will travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia for the 2019 Memorial Cup tournament. Other teams making this tournament are the WHL champion Prince Albert Raiders, QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, and host Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL as well. The Storm last qualified for the Memorial Cup in 2014 when they lost to the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. Round Robin tournament action will start on May 16 while the final game is on May 26, the full schedule of games can be found here.

Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

2019 OHL Priority Draft: Midway through their Western Conference championship series against Saginaw, the Storm received some wonderful news about their future. Forward Danny Zhilkin of the Toronto Marlboros and Guelph’s 14th overall pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Draft signed a standard players contract for the upcoming season. This is big news for the Storm as Danny had previously verbally committed to play the Boston University for the ’21-22 season.

“Danil Zhilkin’s game is built around his ability as a natural goal-scorer. He is an instinctive shooter who can change angles and find shooting lanes through the most minuscule of holes. Featuring an electric release with impressive power, his snapshot is potent and can easily beat goaltenders straight up. He has excellent accuracy as well, often finding opportunities to sneak a puck in the short side.” – Prospect Pipeline 

For Prospect Pipelines full write up on Danny Zhilkin click here.

The remainder of Guelph’s 2019 draft class can be found below:

#14 Guelph Storm Danny Zhilkin (F)
#39 Guelph Storm Jacob Maillet (F)
#55 Guelph Storm Marco Sikic (F)
#77 Guelph Storm Dylan Gratton (D)
#96 Guelph Storm Braeden Bowman (F)
#112 Guelph Storm Jack Devine (F)
#116 Guelph Storm Owen Richer (D)
#136 Guelph Storm Declan Ride (D)
#156 Guelph Storm Nolan Forster (F)
#176 Guelph Storm Camden Daigle (F)
#196 Guelph Storm Dixon Grimes (G)
#216 Guelph Storm Quinn Tavares (F)
#236 Guelph Storm Austin Clark (D)
#256 Guelph Storm Ryan Remick (F)
#276 Guelph Storm Sasha Pastujov (F)
#296 Guelph Storm Evan Roccatani (D)

Source: Elite Prospects

2019 NHL Draft: Guelph Currently has two players on Central Scoutings 2019 draft eligible players list. left winger Keegan Stevenson jumped from 148th at the midterm to 95th overall while right winger Pavel Gogolev moved up from 197 to his final ranking of 140th overall. Stevenson put up 34 points (19 G, 15 A) in 55 games played this season while Gogolev put up 9 points (3 G, 6 A) in just 8 games after being traded from Peterborough.