Guelph Storm surge late, get back into series as low seeds rule Tighten Up Tuesday: OHL post-game questions

Hello, parity. The Guelph Storm scored three goals in fewer than four minutes to upend the Kitchener Rangers; the Eastern Conference's fifth, sixth and eighth seeds each prevailed. On with the post-game questions:

Western Conference

Guelph 3 Kitchener 2 (Rangers lead 2-1) — Is Andrey Pedan the Lloyd Christmas of defencemen?

Just when one thinks the 6-foot-5 Storm defenceman might seal his team's fate, he goes out and scores two third-period goals and totally redeems himself.

The New York Islanders pick, received a misconduct with 3:50 left in the second period when the Storm were down 1-0. Kitchener tallied again shortly after Pedan got out of the penalty box.

With 5:30 left, the Pedan took off on a solo rush and snapped a shot by John Gibson to end the goalie's 153-minute, 54-second shutout skein. Pedan tied it with 3:10 left through throw-it-into-traffic wrister from the point. He also hit two posts on the night, so this was his signature performance in a Storm uniform.

Were the Rangers on the edge of the abyss well before Pedan's pair and Scott Kosmachuk's decider with 1:49 to play provided the helpful push?

Guelph had 40-plus shots on Gibson for the second game in a row, levelling 43. Unofficially, the Anaheim Ducks netminder had probably stopped more than 100 in a row when, hello random cluster, the Storm hit the trifecta late.

However, the Rangers had left the game out there for the taking. They ended up facing 10 penalty kills, depriving them of time to harry Guelph goalie Garret Sparks and get their top-end attackers on the ice. That left the door open.

"I know we're going to talk about the three quick goals, but we took 10 minor penalties and that is too much in a game like this," Rangers coach-GM Steve Spott told Kitchener's News 570. "And poor penalties, too, for holding and clutching and grabbing. What bothered me more in the end is we didn't attack the game. We sat back. We had an elongated timeout with the glass [after a panel had to be reinserted in the third period] and I thought that might calm us down. But it didn't. We sat back on our heels.

"Tough loss, but that's playoff hockey ... I'm not going to pound them on right now. We have enough character on our team to understand that what happened tonight, while disappointing, was something where we have to continue to attack the game."

Sparks stopped 36-of-38 to keep the Storm close before his faith was rewarded by the late rally. His best save was a glove stop on fellow Toronto Maple Leafs signing Josh Leivo in the third period that kept Guelph within a pair.

London 7 Saginaw 1 (Knights lead 3-0) — What's the dark lining in London's silver cloud? It will not catch up to London before the end of this series, but it is 2-for-20 on the power play. That hearkens back to last season, when a Knights power play during the playoffs was usually a gold-plated invitation to use the washroom, refill your drink and check your texts.

It didn't matter then when the Knights won the J. Ross Robertson Cup. It did not matter on Tuesday. The Knights scored on two of their first four shots, with Chicago Blackhawks pick Alex Broadhurst (3G, +2) getting the hatter.

Was Saginaw's walleye-throwing tradition resurrected? Oh yes. Alas, Dalton Young was the only Spirit to score.

Random thought: would the Saginaw fan still throw frozen fish if they met the Mississauga Steelheads in the OHL final? That would be confusing.

Eastern Conference

Mississauga 5 Belleville 2, ENG (series tied 2-2) — No 8 seed has won a first round since 2002, but Mississauga is halfway there? Can it happen?

#DontDoubtTheTrout, indeed. The Steelheads, who got seven points from the Riley Brace-Josh Burnside-Dylan Smoskowitz line while scoring five unanswered, have been full value for the effort across their two series-tying wins.

The percentages might still rest with Belleville. The Majors have a tough-to-sustain six goals on 45 shots (13.3 per cent shooting percentage) against Malcolm Subban in their two wins. Percentages don't always pay out in a short series. Belleville was the overwhelming on-paper favourite coming into the series, but some seeds of doubt are being sown.

The East's 1 vs. 8 series in 2012 began similarly, with the Niagara IceDogs dropping games 3 and 4 to the Oshawa Generals to create a best-of-3. That was a more even matchup, but the IceDogs outshot Oshawa by a vast margin in those games. That hasn't happened in this case.

How did this result speak to the importance of using zone time?

The Steelheads are defying Belleville to clear their forwards from the goalmouth area around Subban. Belleville has not been up to the job yet.

Meantime, at the other end of the rink, the Bulls and their passel of drafted players have been too cute by half by times.

The upshot from Belleville's perspective it has three days to prepare for Game 5 on Saturday. That should allow ample time to get some perspective and appreciate talent is enough in playoff hockey when an underdog crashes the opposing net and has 4-5 defenders collapse around its own goal. It could also be analogous to two seasons ago, when the top-seeded Owen Sound Attack needed six games to rid themselves of the London Knights.

Sudbury 3 Brampton 1, ENG (Wolves lead 2-1) — How important is it for Sudbury to focus on the process and not the outcome?

It's everything, seeing how the Wolves won while being outshot 40-13. Brampton had a 21-6 edge on the official shot tally in the second period, when it deserved to have the Wolves in a multi-goal hole.

Sudbury came out of the frame even after a last-minute goal by Mathew Campagna. Goalie Franky Palazzese finished with 39 saves and the Wolves pulled it out, even though it's hard to pinpoint what they've done better across games 2 and 3 aside from getting better goaltending.

Since this is no-excuses time, Brampton cannot fall back on having coach Stan Butler suspended for the rest of the series. Or on the fact it got hot-goalied by Palazzese.

Any regrets on ignoring that cynical Brampton pick, when there was a hunch to think Sudbury could do it?

The new Cliché-o-Matic 3000 with its three distinct varieties of inane chatter — labelled Mike Milbury, P.J. Stock and Glenn Healy, oddly enough — has spit out a response that there is a lot of hockey to be played.

Sudbury was outshot widely Tuesday and did not sustain its attack across the full 60 minutes when it won 5-4 on Sunday. Yes, and? The Wolves' goalie looks to have his groove back. Their playmakers such as Campagna (1G, +1 Tuesday) and Dominik Kubalik (same) have delivered in spurts.

Brampton's glass half full contains the fact its most creative forward, sophomore Patrik Machac, hasn't been contained yet with five points in three games. It also might have a full game to adapt to having Jason Ward as interim coach instead of the banished Butler.

Niagara 4 Oshawa 2 (Generals lead 2-1) — Who was the X-factor for Niagara, which thoroughly controlled the opening 40 minutes? Sophomore right wing Mack Lemmon set a tone early with a booming check that forced Oshawa's overage defenceman Matt Petgrave out of contest, which compromised the Generals' back-end depth. Lemmon's grunt work helped grease the skids for the big IceDogs line of Steven Shipley (2G-1A, +2), out-of-sick-bay Brett Ritchie (1G-1A, +3) and Ryan Strome (1A, +3) to be the best trio on the ice.

What has Oshawa been missing through three games that have been tighter than perhaps anticipated? Try 0-for-16 on the power play against the league's 11th-ranked penalty kill, while 45-goal scorer Boone Jenner is goalless thus far. That cannot stand on the Generals' end.

How much do some IceDogs fans have it in for Oshawa speedster Lucas Lessio, who declined to report to Niagara when it selected him 2009? One fan's sign read, "Where's your purse, Lessio?" True, it was a somewhat benign instance of everyday sexism, but it still got a laugh.

Lessio had an up-and-down game. The Phoenix Coyotes prospect took a penalty on the shift immediately following the opening goal. However, he did set up a third-period goal when the Generals mounted a late rally and began working toward their preparation for Game 4. All Oshawa needs is a split of the two games in the Garden City.

Day 7 docket — Barrie-Kingston, Game 4, 7 p.m.; Plymouth-Sarnia, Game 4, 7 p.m.; Owen Sound-Sault Ste. Marie, Game 4, 7:07 p.m.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to

What to Read Next