“SWISS ASSASSIN” CRUCIAL FOR PLAYOFF SUCCESS

A year ago, the Guelph Storm marched into the 2014 OHL Playoffs armed with a cavalry of junior hockey All-Stars. The Storm dominated every series en route to an easy 5-game series win over the North Bay Battalion.

The championship came at a surprise to very few. Just taking one look at the roster, it was easy to see the Storm had the best lineup in perhaps all of junior hockey. Kerby Rychel, Scott Kosmachuk, Zack Mitchell, Matt Finn. Talent, everywhere.

Well, almost a year later and the Storm are on the doorstep of their championship defence armed with notably less ammunition. The Storm will need all of their stars to shine their brightest if they wish to come anywhere close to the level of success they had last year.

Robby Fabbri will have to set the tone on the top line and have himself a playoffs similar to his a year ago (28 PTS in 16 GP in the 2014 Playoffs).

Jason Dickinson will be counted on to provide an equal level of contribution to that of Fabbri.

Chris Marchese and Luke Cairns were brought in to help a young lineup during this stretch, and they will be counted on to help support the offense.

Justin Nichols has to be big, obviously.

All of Guelph’s big players have to come to play. But I’ll argue the player who holds the key to Guelph’s playoff success is 18-year-old Pius Suter.

With guys like Fabbri, Nichols and Dickinson in the spotlight almost permanently, Suter has flown under the radar quietly all season long. Now, there’s nothing quiet about his level of production – 66 PTS in 56 GP this season. Nor is there anything quiet about his 116th NHL Central Scout ranking, or place on the top-15 goal scorers of this season (he sits 12th, with 38 goals).

Suter buzzes around the ice, utilizing his speed and quick hands to finish plays around the net. He isn’t the most flashy player on the team, or even on his line, he simply goes about his business and has a terrific knack for finding the back of the net. He gets it done on the penalty kill, at even strength, and on the powerplay, and has proven a very reliable late-game performer for the coaching staff.

He’s played practically all season long, and as we approach the playoffs and the Storm are slowly returning all of their players to the ice, it’s easy to overlook him. But one thing is certain, the Storm will need Suter to perform alongside the well-equiped arsenal of Storm players if they hope to win a round or two.

 

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.