There was a whole lot of thought at the start of the series that if it was going to be anything, it would be long.
Maybe six games. Maybe seven.
A 3-1 win by the Guelph Storm on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens has now guaranteed a sixth game.
Nick Suzuki’s goal just before the four-minute mark of the third period broke a 1-1 tie and stood up as the game winner.
The London native also added the empty-netter and has five points in the two Guelph wins which have come back to back following three straight victories by London to begin the second-round series between the two clubs.
Friday’s game was the lowest scoring game of the five they have played so far in the playoffs.
Both teams had plenty of opportunities to score more often than they did.
Both London and Guelph posted 0-for-7 nights on the power play.
The goaltenders were each named stars. Jordan Kooy made 32 saves in net for the Knights. His work included another robbery of Sean Durzi on a wrist shot labelled for the top corner of the net. Anthony Popovich stopped 35 pucks in the Guelph net. He kicked out pucks left and right and was able to stuff a Liam Foudy chance that Foudy created by cutting to the net.
Out of the seven playoff meetings the teams have had against each other in the past 15 years, this is only the second time they have gone beyond a Game 5.
Game 6 will be played in Guelph at 7 p.m. on Saturday night.
Domenico Commisso put a ping-ponging puck past Jordan Kooy from the edge of the London Knights crease at 9:44 of the first period to give Guelph a 1-0 lead.
The score stayed that way until the final minute of the first when Alex Formenton picked up a puck off a faceoff in the Storm zone and rifled a shot past Anthony Popovich to even the score at 1-1.
The next goal in the game did not come until the 3:59 mark of the third period and it was scored by Nick Suzuki of Guelph. He nabbed a puck in the London zone and rocketed a wrist shot into the top corner of the Knight net to make it 2-1 for the Storm.
Suzuki then finished the scoring into an empty net to force Game 6.
The other series
Sault Ste. Marie forced Game 6 with the Saginaw Spirit as Morgan Frost scored three times and added an assist for seven points in 24 hours and a 6-2 victory for the Greyhounds. The Spirit lead that series three games to two.
Ottawa advanced to the third round of the OHL playoffs with a triple-overtime win on Thursday that gave the 67’s a four-game sweep over the Wolves. The game was the longest in 67’s history and was won on a power-play goal by Tye Felhaber at 10:15 of the third overtime period.
Oshawa and Niagara will play Game 5 of their series on Saturday night. The home team has won every time the teams have met so far. The Ice Dogs will be without forward Jason Robertson. He was given a one-game suspension for a cross-check that took place in Game 4.
Knights and Storm participate in U-18 OHL Priority Selection
The Under-18 selection was held on April 10. It allows teams to pick players who played Major Midget this past season and were not selected as 16-year-olds.
London selected two forwards, Jacob Chantler of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs and Kolby Poulin of the Clarington Toros.
The Storm added three players. They took goaltender Felix Schnell of the Ottawa Senators Midgets in round one, defenceman Brendan Boyce of CIH Academy Green in round two and forward Gavin Brown of the North Bay Trappers in round three.
Along with Chantler going to the Knights, two other members of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs were selected by the Erie Otters. Defenceman Connor Olson was picked third overall by Erie and goaltender Bryce Walcarius, who posted some fantastic numbers in 2018-19, including a goals-against average of 1.78 went 23rd overall.
The Knights and Storm will play Game 6 in Guelph at the Sleeman Centre on Saturday night. The puck will drop just after 7 p.m. and you will be able to hear the game beginning at 6:30 with the pre-game show on 980 CFPL, at http://www.980cfpl.ca and on the Radioplayer Canada app.