Bulldogs score early and often to beat Storm 5-3

Three first period goals in the end were just too much of a mountain for the Storm to climb back up as Guelph dropped a 5-3 decision to the Hamilton Bulldogs Saturday night in front of 4,243 at First Ontario Centre.

Bulldogs first round selection Matthew Strome (younger brother of Ryan and Dylan) opened the scoring just 4:17 in when his shot from the left side of the net would roll over the left arm of Storm goaltender Michael Giugovaz and fall into the net. Hamilton would take a 2-0 lead at 11:44 when Michael Cramarossa would find a streaking Adam Laishram in the slot who would then deke out Giugovaz for his 10th goal of the season. Matthew Strome would collect his second goal of the period just a few minutes later when he picked up the puck in the Storm crease and swept it around Giugovaz for a 3-0 lead. Guelph would stop the bleeding late in the period when Matthew Hotchkiss would feed the puck to Nick Deakin-Poot who found himself all alone at the top of the Hamilton crease, his first shot would be stopped by Bulldogs netminder Kaden Fulcher but Deakin-Poot would send his own rebound in for just his 3rd of the season at 17:52.

After what had been a dismal opening period for the Guelph Storm other than the Deakin-Poot goal the remainder of the game seemed to turn into Guelph’s favour. The Storm would spend long stretches of time during the middle frame with control of the puck deep in the Hamilton zone but Kaden Fulcher would bail his team out several times including back to back 2 on 1 and 3 on 1 rushes for the Storm.

Guelph would finally beat Fulcher for the second time in the evening when a Garrett McFadden point shot on the power play at 11:14 would go in after Fulcher got a large piece of the shot. The 3-2 goal had come just moments after James McEwan had hit the post while looking at a wide open net.

While the Storm were mostly in control they could not stop Hamilton from regaining their two goal lead when just 5:50 into the third period MacKenzie Entwistle would dance around James McEwan and snap a shot from the slot right through the five hole of Giugovaz for the 4-2 Hamilton lead.

Guelph would respond quickly however as James McEwan would pot his team leading 24th goal of the season at 8:32 when he would put away his own rebound on the doorstep after Fulcher had come up with a big initial save.

The Storm spent the rest of the third period pressing for an equalizer but it would unfortunately never come as eventually Matt Luff would seal the deal with an empty net goal at 18:47 just seconds after Giugovaz had vacated the Storm cage for the extra attacker. After the goal however Marc Stevens from his own bench would give Luff a hard wack with the stick which earned Stevens an ejection from the game as Hamilton celebrated a 5-3 victory.

With the loss the Storm’s magic number to clinch last place and the first overall selection in the upcoming draft now sits at 7. Should the Storm lose 4 of their final 7 games in regulation time they will finish last regardless of what the Sudbury Wolves do.

One positive note was Guelph’s lack of penalties during the game as Hamilton only enjoyed one man advantage all evening, an area the Storm have definitely needed to improve on this season.

The Storm return home to finish their three in three weekend on Sunday afternoon at 2PM when they host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.


  • Guelph’s overall record falls to 12-43-4-2

  • Guelph’s road record falls to 3-24-3-1

  • Guelph finishes their eastern conference schedule this season with a record of 3-14-1-2

  • The Storm will finish the season with a road record of 1-7-1-1 against eastern conference opponents

  • The Storm were 1 for 3 on the PP while Hamilton was 0 for 1

  • Givani Smith and Nick Deakin-Poot had a team high 4 shots on goal

  • James McEwan led the Storm in the faceoff circle going 13 for 21

  • Luke Burghardt struggled on faceoffs going only 4 for 20

  • McEwan leads the Storm with 24 goals and 45 points on the season

  • 7 of Garrett McFadden’s 9 goals this season have come on the power play

  • Despite holding a team second best 19 goals on the season Givani Smith is currently on a 12 game goalless drought, his last tally was during a 4-1 loss at Mississauga on February 3rd

  • Jake Bricknell and Christian Mieritz both former Bulldogs made their first trip to First Ontario Centre since being acquired by the Storm in separate transactions

  • Brock Philips had a quick 2nd period tussle with Hamilton captain Justin Lemcke who landed several punches on the Storm defenceman turned forward
  • The Storm dropped both their games against the Hamilton Bulldogs this year also losing 7-4 at the Sleeman Centre on December 4th

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