Category Archives: OHL Playoffs

  • 0

Guelph Storm Complete Historical Comeback, Crowned OHL Champions

GUELPH– Not many thought it was possible. If a team was given what the Guelph Storm had to endure this OHL Playoffs, the odds were slim. But the 2018-19 Guelph Storm isn’t just any other team. They epitomize perseverance, determination and conquering adversity on another pedestal. In three consecutive series, they experienced deficits. Two of those were on the brink of elimination.

But this pesky Guelph team never gave up. The Storm surged when their backs were against the wall. And now, they are on top of the Ontario Hockey League, claiming the J. Ross Robertson Cup for the fourth time in their franchise history by dethroning the Ottawa 67’s in six games.

“I can’t put this into words,” said Isaac Ratcliffe, who had two goals and two assists in the 8-3 rout of the Ottawa 67’s in Game 6. “The resiliency from this team is unbelievable, none that I haven’t seen before. I’ve never played for a team with this much skill, class and character.”
Guelph Storm Battled Adversity All Playoffs, Including Game 6 Against Ottawa

Every OHL season has its ups and downs. Whether it’s a slump during the regular season or being down in a playoff series, the adversity that a junior hockey team faces is integral in building character and toughness.

This is the Guelph Storm mantra. Against the Western Conference leading London Knights they were down 3-0. In the Western Conference Final against the Saginaw Spirit they were down 3-1. Finally, the OHL Championship presented its own challenges, as the Ottawa 67’s took a 2-0 series lead.

But the experience of coming back to win against London and Saginaw proved to be vital for Guelph. In the final four games of the OHL Championship, the Storm would outscore the 67’s 23 to 13. The final two games saw the Ottawa 67’s have early leads.

On the brink of elimination, Ottawa scored two goals to open Game 6, putting doubt and silence throughout Sleeman Centre. But the Storm players never wavered. After being outshot in the first period 13 to 12, Guelph began to surge in the second period, winning the puck battles and creating scoring chances. After the 67’s missed on two wide open nets to put the game out of reach, Guelph would score five unanswered goals, two of which came from their captain Isaac Ratcliffe, and one from Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki.

It is this belief in each other and the veteran leadership that enables the Storm to have success coming back from any deficit.

“We had a nice response in the second period,” said Burnett. “Being behind in two series helped us when we were down tonight. We stayed patient and we were able to find the puck to generate offence.”
 
The Storm Surges to Halifax for the Memorial Cup

Not only was Isaac Ratcliffe a pillar for this Storm team, but also the players Guelph acquired at the trade deadline. Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki, after acquiring him from the Owen Sound Attack, generated 42 points this postseason (16 goals, 26 assists). This earned the young forward the Wayne Gretzky Trophy for MVP of the OHL Playoffs.

Chicago Blackhawks prospect Mackenzie Entwistle, after being traded from the Hamilton Bulldogs, used his veteran leadership to be a pivotal asset for the Guelph Storm. Playing alongside Ratcliffe and Suzuki in Game 6, Entwistle was a +2 with one assist, adding to his seven goals and 14 assists for the entire postseason.

With Guelph’s fourth OHL Championship in franchise history, the team now prepares for its next challenge. The Memorial Cup, the holy grail of junior hockey, is up for grabs and the Storm will look to continue its hot streak playing alongside the best junior hockey teams in Canada. For these youngsters, it’s an opportunity to showcase their gifted offensive abilities on an even bigger stage.

“For me to have another chance to play for a Memorial Cup, I am so excited,” says Entwistle.
 
Two years ago, a championship seemed like an unattainable concept. But through hard work and a devoted ambition to be better, the sunny skies turned to clouds. And the clouds turned into a Storm that has now surged to the top of the Ontario Hockey League.

This team isn’t ready to give that up just yet.
The post Guelph Storm Complete Historical Comeback, Crowned OHL Champions appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

Ottawa 67’s Goalie Cedrick Andree Propels Team to OHL History

OTTAWA– For the Ottawa 67’s this postseason, their mantra has been “No Quit.” It’s not just a convenient hashtag. It’s a mindset that the Ottawa 67’s adapted in Game 2 in their OHL Championship Series against the Guelph Storm.

The Guelph Storm were pouncing on the league-leading 67’s early on. With two goals from Alexey Toropchenko and Keegan Stevenson in the span of a minute, the Storm was looking to surge their way to secure Game 2. To make matters worse for Ottawa, their starting goalie, Vancouver Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro, went down with a lower-body injury and was done for the game.

Enter 18-year-old Cedrick Andree. The Ottawa 67’s goalie who had 34 wins, a 2.48 goals-against average and a 0.91 save percentage this season, came in relief and stole the show. Generating 26 saves and surviving the onslaught of chances from Guelph in the third period, Andree would propel his team to history. With the Game 2 win Saturday afternoon, the Ottawa 67’s become the first team in OHL history to go 14-0 to start the playoffs.

A moment that young Cedric will never forget.

“I always say one thing in my head: watch the puck,” said Andree after the game. “While the fan support was awesome, I was tuning it out as best I can to watch the puck and make big saves for my team.”
Cedrick Andree Patiently Waited for His Moment And Got It
Getting over 8,000 fans to chant your name was not in the cards for Cedrick Andree. There was a moment, where he was considering leaving the game of hockey altogether.

Growing up as a Dutch Canadian in the town of Orleans, Andree dreamt of the opportunity to sport the red and white jersey of the Ottawa 67’s. But he did not grow up in a family that eats and breathes hockey. His father was a skier, and that influence to pursue competitive skiing weighed on young Cedrick. But when the goalie got selected to play for the Cumberland Jr. grads, he solely focused on the game of hockey. And the rest is history.

In 2016, Andree was a 12th round pick in the OHL Draft. He joined the Ottawa 67’s in the 2017-2018 season, only to finish the season with a 1-10 record as the backup goalie. This adversity did not hinder Cedrick. He invested tremendous time and energy to get better and to improve. This season, with being one of a handful of OHL goalies to get over 30 wins, Andree proved that not giving up was well worth the obstacle-ridden journey.

“I never thought I could play competitive hockey at this level,” stated Andree.
Cedrick Andree Shines in Relief for Ottawa 67’s
It’s never easy for a goalie of Cedrick Andree’s caliber to hear that they are going to be a backup. But Andree never complained or whined about his position. He was a teacher and a supportive teammate for DiPietro, allowing him to transition effortlessly into the Ottawa 67’s locker room. It is no wonder why Ottawa 67’s head coach Andre Tourigny is proud of his two stellar goalies.

“We have great depth in net. Two number one goalies,” said Tourigny after Game 2. “Cedrick is a top CHL goalie. He proved it again today the quality of goaltender he is.”

When Andree was substituted into the net, the Ottawa 67’s immediately galvanized. They started playing their physical brand of hockey. Four different 67’s scored goals today, including Dallas Stars prospect Tye Felhaber and San Jose Sharks prospect Sasha Chmelevski. Despite only registering nine shots on net in the second period, the Guelph Storm picked up their play in the third period. Their intensity and ability to win faceoffs meant that Cedrick Andree was facing more shots on goal.

In the dying minutes of the third, Andree made not one, but two, remarkable, championship worthy saves. Sending TD Place in Ottawa into a frenzy. It is the kind of saves in big games that a young kid would dream of. For Cedrick, he was able to make his dream become a reality.

“After the first save, I was shocked I got it,” said Andree. “There was puck luck on my side. I found a way to make those saves. It was pretty special to hear all the fans chanting my name and to have the support of my teammates.”

The 67’s, fresh off of making history, head to Guelph hoping to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Storm is looking to repeat the recent history of coming back from series deficits. For Cedrick Andree, his goal is to help his team win. And with the way he performed under tremendous pressure on Saturday afternoon, perhaps a Memorial Cup is in his sights in the not too distant future.The post Ottawa 67’s Goalie Cedrick Andree Propels Team to OHL History appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


  • 0

San Jose Sharks Prospect Sasha Chmelevski Relishing in OHL Final

OTTAWA– The Ottawa 67’s and San Jose Sharks have been on similar paths. While one organization may be junior and the professional, they share the common joy of competing in their respective postseasons. And since 2017, the Sharks have invested into young forward Sasha Chmelevski, drafting him and watching him develop with the 67’s. In Game 1 of the OHL Championship Series, Chmelevski was a star on the ice. He got the scoring going for Ottawa in the first period. He would eventually generate two goals, propelling the 67’s to a 7-2 victory over the Guelph Storm. Despite taking nine penalties, Chmelevski was ecstatic with his team’s ability to handle the pressure of playing in a Championship series.

“The best thing about this team is we always live in the present,” said Chmelevski after the game. “We did a good job responding to adversity. You don’t just win 13 games by accident.”
Chmelevski Has Showcased Offensive Abilities Since OHL Draft
Sasha Chmelevski isn’t your ordinary hockey story. He didn’t grow up in the snowy hills or frozen ponds of Canada. Instead, he was born in Huntington Beach, California, a place marked by sunny skies and surfing.

Growing up in California could present an obstacle to breaking into hockey. But not for Chmelevski. From early on, Sasha demonstrated tremendous ability to break out into the offensive zone. His stick handling and ability to control the puck are second to none, and from an early age, he showed an affinity to score goals. This is what attracted the Sarnia Sting to initially draft the young forward in the 2015 OHL Draft. But 29 games played with the Sting, Chmelevski struggled to adjust to the pace and physicality of the OHL. Only generating nine goals and eight assists, the Sting traded Chemlevski to the Ottawa 67’s.

A move that according to Sasha’s Father, Tal, made all the difference for the forward to become a prolific scorer in the league.

“Ah, Ottawa has been very good to us,” Tal said. “Sasha is having a blast here.”
Chmelevski Relishing Opportunity to Help Ottawa 67’s Win OHL Championship
It appears that the choice to draft Sasha Chmelevski has paid off for the San Jose Sharks. Last season, Chmelevski has a career-high 76 points for the 67’s (35 goals, 41 assists), earning him a chance to play six games for the Sharks’ AHL affiliate squad. This season was a mirror to last year, generating 35 goals and 40 assists in 56 games. Despite a slower start to the season, Ottawa 67’s coach Andre Tourigny has been impressed with Chmelevski’s development offensively and defensively.

“He’s not a fast starter, but this year he took over a little bit earlier,” said Tourigny. “It was in late November when he started getting the points like he is now.

“The big thing about Sasha is his best asset can be the worst enemy as well. His best asset, for me, is his competitiveness. You play ping pong with Sasha, and if he loses, he will want to fight. At the start of the year, he was pushing a lot to get points.”

When it has mattered most, Chmelevski has risen to the expectations. This postseason, where the Ottawa 67’s have gone a perfect 13-0 thus far, Sasha has eight goals and 17 assists in 23 games played. In Game 1 of the OHL Championship Series against the Storm, Chmelevski scored the game’s first goal and was an anchor on an Ottawa 67’s powerplay that generated four goals.

With his stellar play in the OHL Playoffs, Chmelevski will likely have a full-time role for the San Jose Sharks AHL team, the San Jose Barracuda. The San Jose Sharks are currently in the heart of the NHL Playoffs, looking to advance to their second Western Conference Final in four years. For Sasha Chmelevski, his sole focus is helping the Ottawa 67’s qualify to the CHL Memorial Cup in Halifax. And to emulate the performance of his current NHL team in the playoffs.

 The post San Jose Sharks Prospect Sasha Chmelevski Relishing in OHL Final appeared first on Last Word on Sports.


Categories

w88