GUELPH – Scott Kosmachuk and Tanner Richard scored two goals each and goaltender Garret Sparks stopped 34 shots as the Guelph Storm built a 2-1 lead after one period of play and the Storm went on to defeat the Plymouth Whalers, 4-1, in an Ontario Hockey League game played Saturday night before 3,636 at Sleeman Centre in Guelph.
The Whalers lost their second straight game and are now 17-8-2-1, good for 37 points. The Whalers remain in first place in OHL’s West Division, two points ahead of Sarnia. Sarnia (now 15-5-1-4, 35 points) lost, 4-2, to Niagara on Saturday. Plymouth is in second place in the Western Conference, two points behind London. London (now 19-5-0-1, 39 points) defeated Erie, 7-2, on Saturday.
More coverage – Guelph Mercury game story, by Tony Saxon.
After Tanner Richard scored a shorthanded goal at 9:40 of the first period on a breakaway (misfiring on the shot but scoring, five-hole, on Plymouth goaltender Matt Mahalak), Plymouth tied the game on a power play goal by Beau Schmitz, his seventh marker of the season. Schmitz finished off an excellent passing play, started by Rickard Rakell, who found Stefan Noesen in the left circle in the Guelph zone. Noesen found Schmitz breaking in from the right point to the right circle. Schmitz took no time in wiring the shot and he beat Sparks cleanly at 12:00.
Guelph took a 2-1 lead at 17:09 of the period on the only even strength goal of the game. Kosmachuk finished good pressure in the Plymouth zone after Mahalak made the first stop on Matt Finn’s point shot, but Kosmachuk snapped home the rebound from just outside the blue crease on the left side of the Plymouth goal.
Guelph had a territorial edge in the play in the second period, at one point outshooting Plymouth, 19-4, and Kosmachuk scored again on a power play at 9:21 to give Guelph a 3-1 lead. The goal came on a similar play as his first tally, as Kosmachuk followed up a shot that Mahalak stopped but scored on a rebound.
Plymouth pressured in the third period, but Sparks played well. Mahalak was pulled a couple of times over the final 2:30, but Richard closed the scoring at 18:29, scoring on a breakaway on the empty Plymouth goal.
Guelph outshot Plymouth, 41-35.
Plymouth now plays the next two weekends at home, hosting Sault Ste. Marie next Friday and Guelph next Saturday in the Whalers annual Teddy Bear Toss game. Plymouth then hosts Belleville on Fri. Dec. 9 and Sarnia on Sat. Dec. 10. All four games at Compuware Arena start at 7:05pm. Take advantage of $5 Fridays, sponsored by 99.5FM WYCD Detroit’s Country.
Friday: Peterborough 4, Plymouth 3.