Today’s game featured the OHL champion Guelph Storm - with Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Fedor Gordeev - going up against the QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. The benefit to both of these teams, is that the champions of these leagues have actually won Memorial Cup games in the last three tournaments. The WHL champions, as shown last night by the Prince Albert Raiders, have not won a game at the tournament since 2015.
It's been 3 years, 11 months, and 23 days since the WHL Champions have won a Memorial Cup game.#2019MemorialCup— How many days since a WHL champ won a game? (@CupWhl) May 18, 2019
The first period of this game is a lot closer than we saw last night. Both of these teams were feeding off the crowd - who had a slight bias against the Huskies - and keep the tempo moving with lots of chances and fancy footwork.
The Huskies took the lead first, when Huskies centre Vincent Marleau (UFA) took a long skate from his own zone and goes top corner to get his teams first of the tournament.
The Guelph Storm gathered themselves, shook off the goal against and took advantage of a Domenico Commisso (UFA) kneeing penalty to tie the game thanks to a nifty move by Guelph’s Alexei Toropchenko (STL).
Toropchenko isn’t done. Two minutes later he gives the Storm the lead
He then gets stymied on a breakaway, but bides his time and gets the natural hat trick to end the first period.
First career hat-trick? A natural hat-trick? In his first game at the Memorial Cup? Hell yeah, dude.— Eliteprospects (@eliteprospects) May 18, 2019
Alexei Toropchenko (#STLBlues) gets his third-goal of the first-period with silky mitts on the breakaway! 🎩🎩🎩@Storm_City lead 3-1 at the #MemorialCup2019 pic.twitter.com/okn4TRQJbr
The Storm kept their momentum going with an early goal in the second period from Mackenzie Entwhistle (CHI).
The game started to even up a bit between the two teams, but Guelph looked like they were in control more - the Huskies offense comes in short bursts where the Storm have a more steady, methodical approach to the game.
Rouyn-Noranda thinks they have a comeback started when Jakub Laoko (BOS) scores, but they’ll end up realizing that wasn’t true.
As the second period moves on Storm goalie Anthony Popovich (UFA) has to make some big saves, but it’s Huskies goalie Samuel Harvey (UFA) who gets worked out the most as the Storms neverending list of goal scorers out him to work with some great chances, one of which gets by him by the lifelong pairing of Nick Suzuki (MTL) and Sean Durzi (LA).
This will close out the second period, and give us our final score - Guelph Storm 5 - Rouyn-Noranda Huskies 2.
The Storm lock things down, keeping shots into the single digits for both teams in the third period. You can watch full highlights of the game here.
The Guelph Storm will now play tonight against the 1-0 host team Halifax Mooseheads, and the Huskies take the day off and will play the other winless team, Prince Albert Raiders, on Monday night.