Halifax, N.S – A dream season for the Prince Albert Raiders has come to its conclusion.
With a 5-2 victory on Tuesday evening, the Guelph Storm eliminated the Western Hockey League champion Raiders from contention at the 2019 Memorial Cup Presented by Kia.
After a back-and-forth first period, the Storm pulled away by scoring three unanswered goals, including two from Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki.
The Raiders pretty much found themselves chasing the game from the early stages and according to Head Coach Marc Habscheid, it was simply a matter of a team that was completely out of energy.
Fedor Gordeev opened the scoring 9:42 into the first period, giving Guelph a 1-0 advantage. Less than two minutes later, the Raiders were finally able to break through on the man advantage, as Sean “Mr. Raider” Montgomery redirected a shot from San Jose Sharks prospect Noah Gregor to even the score.
But the Storm responded in quick fashion of their own as Isaac Ratcliffe executed beautifully to put his team back in front by a 2-1 margin. In the dying moments of the first period, Dante Hannoun put a second puck past Anthony Popovich with 42 seconds on the clock, tying the game 2-2 heading into the first intermission.
Early in the second period, the Storm went back to work as Liam Hawel registered a power-play marker 1:21 in to restore Guelph’s one-goal lead. Less than four minutes later, Suzuki converted a 2-on-1 opportunity to give the Storm their first two-goal lead of the night.
Suzuki registered his second goal of the night and third of the tournament, slipping the puck past Scott from a difficult angle only 5:42 into the third period. That made it a 5-2 advantage for Guelph.
When the final buzzer sounded, captain Brayden Pachal had collected two assists. Goaltender Ian Scott made 20 saves in defeat.
At the other end, Popovich finished with 19 saves on 21 shots. Ratcliffe enjoyed a three-point night (1G-2A), as did Suzuki (2G-1A). Defenceman Sean Durzi improved upon his tournament-leading point total (2-5–7) by earning another two helpers.