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Ottawa 67's season comes to a crashing end

Ottawa led 2-0 early but ends up losing 8-3 as they drop the OHL championship series 4-2 to the Guelph Storm
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An OHL championship series that started with such promise for the Ottawa 67's came to a crashing end Sunday afternoon in Guelph.

The 67's, who won the first two games of the series, were defeated 8-3 by the Guelph Storm and lost the best-of-seven final 4-2.

"We played the first 30 minutes really well, but they had a real big push back in the middle of the second period and from there we had a tough time to handle their one-on-one. They held onto the puck," said Ottawa coach Andre Tourigny.

Tourigny said he was proud of his team's effort, the execution wasn't there at the right times.

"That's the name of the game," Tourigny said.

The key to the game might have been in the second period when Ottawa missed a couple of glorious chances with the score tied 2-2.

"We had two Grade A scoring chances and I think that was the turning point of the game," Tourigny said.

"Two really good teams and the margin between the two teams was really tight. It was tighter than the score showed tonight. We have a really special group of people."

For Guelph it was improbable, damn near impossible, run through the playoffs.

The Storm rallied from a 2-0 deficit early in Sunday's game to pull out the win. They started their last three playoff series by losing the first two games. In the second round against London they trailed 3-0.

Each time they came back.

"Holy Jesus," said a jubilant Storm captain Isaac Ratcliffe amidst the post-game chaos. "Four years later we're here. I can't believe we did it on home ice in front of our fans. They mean everything to us, we're so excited right now.

"It's indescribable. Looking around at all the fans sticking around to watch us hoist the cup. All our families sitting on the ice here. It's indescribable how good I feel right now."

"It's pretty awesome. I don't think anybody thought we'd be here after what we've been through the last two series," said goaltender Anthony Popovich. "It just feels amazing right now."

For three straight series, the Storm lost the first two games before rallying to victory. They trailed games time and time again before coming back to win.

"It feels amazing. I've never been part of this before in my hockey career. It just shows the kind of group we have, which is the best group I've ever been part of," said Owen Lalonde.

The Storm now advances to the Memorial Cup in Halifax. Their first game is Saturday.

"We've got to enjoy this for a bit but there's something else out there that we're excited about having a crack at too, but we'll enjoy this tonight," Storm coach George Burnett said.

"It wasn't an 8-3 hockey game by any stretch, but it sure does feel good to come out on top," Burnett said.

Ottawa led 2-0 after one period and it looked like a trip back to Ottawa for Game 7 might be in the cards.

Not so quick.

The Storm scored five unanswered goals in a 15-minute span of the second period, two of them by Isaac Ratcliffe, to take control of the game.

Ottawa's Sasa Chmelevski scored early in the third to make it a two-goal game, but the comeback wasn't happening on this day. Not against this team.

Nick Suzuki, who had three points Sunday to bring his playoff total to 42 points in 24 games, was named playoff MVP.




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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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