London Knights had their 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup on the line tonight facing the Guelph Storm who eliminated them in the OHL’s Western Conference Semi-Finals. London came out with the most jump creating chances and playing with penalty of energy. However a defensive breakdown combined with a great pass by Brock McGinn (Carolina) set up Scott Kosmachuk (Winnipeg) who was all alone in the slot and quickly buried to give Guelph and early 1-0 lead. Things got ugly when Zack Mitchell (Minnesota) stuck his leg out when going for a hit on Dakota Mermis (2014 Re-Entry) taking him out and resulted in Mitchell being ejected. London however struggled immensely on the powerplay. Too many skilled players were trying to do it all themselves which made it easy for the Storm to shut them down. With one minute left in the five minute powerplay Ryan Rupert (Toronto) took a penalty of his own. On the ensuing powerplay, Robby Fabbri (2014 Eligible) set up Scott Kosmachuk for a one-timer and his second goal of the game. Physical play started picking up and more specifically Zack Bell (Free Agent) started asserting himself against the biggest and toughest players for Guelph. The Storm take a bench minor and the Knights second powerplay was a polar opposite of their first and only took twelve seconds for London to convert, when Ryan Rupert fed Brett Welychka (2014 Re-Entry) for a one-timer to make it 2-1 Guelph. London had several chances late including a goal post but couldn’t tie it up ending the period 2-1 Guelph.
London started out strong with some chances but after giving up an off man rush the Knights took a penalty. Tyler Bertuzzi (Detroit) missed the net on his initial shot, but the puck bounced back up off the wall and Anthony Stolarz (Philadelphia) accidentally kicked the puck into his own net making it 3-1 Guelph. That resulted in a goaltending change. With Jake Patterson (2014 Re-Entry) in goal the Knights found new energy and created a few scoring chances. Ultimately it would be Josh Anderson (Columbus) who made a quick, intelligent play to kick the puck up to his stick and roof a backhander making it 3-2. Guelph then had all the energy after a TV timeout and a power play after a questionable knee on knee by Nikita Zadorov (Buffalo) on Tyler Bertuzzi (Detroit). Bertuzzi returned moments later to roof an absolute laser top shelf to give Guelph a 4-2 lead. Josh Anderson then delivered a questionable hit from behind on Robby Fabbri giving Guelph a powerplay going into the break.
The Storm opened the third period with a power play and near the end Jason Dickinson (Dallas) wired a powerful wrist shot top glove hand on Patterson to give Guelph a 5-2 lead. London didn’t give up and even drew a powerplay with hard work and created multiple excellent chances but just couldn’t convert. An odd man rush would put the exclamation point on this game when Scott Kosmachuk completed the hat trick tapping home a pass for the 6-2 lead. Aside from a little rough stuff and a late goal by Marc Stevens (2014 Eligible) both teams coasted to a 7-2 final, ending the Knights season and sending Guelph into Sunday’s final with a perfect 3-0 record.
Photos: CHL Images