Once the Guelph Storm got level, getting the winner was a matter of when, not if. Such was their irrefutable late-minute lightning in this OHL final, which the crimson tide put a bow with their third cliffhanger win over the North Bay Battalion.
With 4:29 left in regulation, the Battalion had an odd-man rush and a chance to open a two-goal lead and force the series back to the raucous North Bay Memorial Gardens. Storm goalie Justin Nichols kicked a rebound out at a roughly 45-degree angle toward North Bay's second-leading playoff goal scorer, Nick Paul. The puck took a Storm bounce over Paul's stick, leading to a odd-man rush for the league's highest-scoring team. You just knew how that would play out, with Kerby Rychel, whom the Storm gave up eight players and picks to acquire from the Windsor Spitfires, burying a rebound. Then, with 26.3 seconds left, Rychel scored off a scramble to give the Storm a 4-3 win and the series in five games (fulfilling pre-series predictions).
The Storm scored two last-minute wins in the series and an overtime triumph along with a 10-1 blowout. It was dominance mixed with drama brought out by the Battalion's dogged defensive work and the goaltending of Jake Smith.
"It's crazy, unbelievable," Rychel told Sportsnet in an interview. "Everyone's bought in. We didn't have our best game tonight but we knew we just had to keep pushing and we would come out on top. We'll enjoy it for a few days and then we'll get ready for the Memorial Cup."
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— Chris Cuthbert (@CCtsn) May 10, 2014