PLENTY LEFT TO PLAY FOR THIS SEASON

Forget superstition and let the realist in you flourish. Even though they technically haven’t clinched a berth in the 2014/15 OHL playoffs, the Storm are indeed playoff-bound.

With 9 games remaining, Guelph holds the 4th spot in the Western Conference with 70 points and are separated from the 9th place Windsor Spitfires by 19 points. That’s good enough for me.

At a time of year when fans are looking forward to playoff hockey, especially considering the Guelph Storm are the defending OHL champions, it’s very easy to forget the fact that is hockey left to play in the regular season. Almost 3 weeks worth.

The Vegas odds on where the Storm finish in the standings probably point at the fourth spot. That’s no surprise. Play the remainder of this season 100 times over, and I’d bet my cap the majority of times Guelph finishes fourth. But make no mistake, there’s plenty of circumstances where Guelph does not finish 4th.

Take a look at the remaining schedule.

After tonight the Storm play 8 more times. Of those 8, 2 are against the Owen Sound Attack. The Attack currently occupy the 5th spot in the Western Conference and pose the biggest threat at snatching home-ice advantage in the first round from the Storm. A mere 5 points separate the teams, with Owen Sound holding 3 games in hand. The 5-point difference appears even smaller when you consider both the remaining two matchups between the teams represent a 4-point swing one way or the other.

Of all matchups this season, the Owen Sound/Guelph one has been maybe the closest. Each of their first four games were of the one-point difference variety. Guelph also took the fifth game in the series by a score of 4-1, and Owen Sound responded with a 4-1 victory of their own last week.

One thing Storm fans should be excited to know is that Owen Sound’s schedule isn’t super friendly. They face London, Guelph (x2), Sault Ste. Marie, Erie (x2) and Barrie among others. Owen Sound has been a streaky team this season, so despite the schedule it is totally possible to snatch some wins up against good teams who might be on cruise control right now.

All said, whatever happens between the two teams in terms of standings one thing is likely: you’re looking at this as a probable first round matchup. The two most important games left in this season are the two games Guelph plays against Owen Sound. Not only because it has a huge impact on who gets home-ice, but because both teams will be treating these as a preview of what’s to come in a 7-game series. A little playoff warmup.

Given how close these teams have been all season, it should be a wild couple of games.

 

 

Joe Krizman

In 2013, Joe graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in Physical and Health Education. During his years in school, he spent his summers off working with kids at a summer camp; an experience he credits as being highly influential in shaping who he is today.

Joe followed up his university degree by moving out to Calgary for the 2013/14 hockey season, where he served as the Coordinator of Player Development & Recruitment for the Western Hockey League (WHL) in their head office. Having developed a love for major junior hockey with the WHL, he is excited to be getting involved with it again this season back in his hometown of Guelph.

A self-proclaimed “sports enthusiast”, Joe is thrilled about getting the opportunity to share his thoughts and sports insights in a new way.