GREYHOUND TEAM EERILY SIMILAR TO 2014 OHL-CHAMPION STORM

After taking their first-round OHL playoff-opening series against the Owen Sound Attack in 5 games, the storm seems to have settled in Guelph.  The Guelph Storm dropped their third straight game on Sunday, falling into a 3-0 second round series hole against the CHL’s top-ranked Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

Coming a decisively-won OHL championship not even a year ago, Guelph has been beaten handedly so far this series while being outscored 22-8 through 3 games. It’s been a frustrating series for all involved, mainly because no one has been able to answer the question of how this Guelph team can turn their fortunes around. And to be honest, I’m not sure an answer exists.

Guelph fans of all people should understand this best of all. Guelph bolstered the CHL’s top-ranked team last season, and no team in the OHL playoffs was able to put up a fight worth mentioning. Plymouth, Erie, London and North Bay were all beaten in 5 games – unable to handle the overbearing play of an exceptionally well-crafted Storm team.

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are this year’s truest version of what the Guelph Storm were a year ago. The management teams of both organizations have approached their potential championship-winning seasons in similar ways – using a mix of age, experience, and most of all, talent. If you don’t believe me, take a look at how the 2013/14 Guelph Storm and the 2014/15 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds stack up on paper.

F Scott Kosmachuk (’94)

2013/14 Stats:   49 G, 52 A, 101 PTS in 68 games
Career Stats:     127 G, 132 A, 259 PTS since 2011
Pro Status:         2012 3rd round (#70) to Winnipeg
Int’l:                     CAN U18
Other:                  2012 CHL/NHL Top Prospect

F Sergey Tolchinsky (’96)

2014/15 Stats:   30 G, 65 A, 95 PTS in 61 games
Career Stats:     91 G, 156 A, 247 PTS in 210 games
Pro Status:         Signed with Carolina as FA (2013)
Int’l:                     RUS U17, U18, WJC
Other:                 12th overall in 2012 Import Draft

F Kerby Rychel (’94)

2013/14 Stats:   34 G, 56 A, 90 PTS in 58 games
Career Stats:     130 G, 161 A, 292 PTS since 2011
Pro Status:         2013 1st round (#19) to Columbus
Int’l:                     CAN U17, U18, WJC
Other:                  2013 CHL/NHL Top Prospect
**29 G, 54 A, 83 PTS in 51 games since acq.

F Nick Ritchie (’95)

2014/15 Stats:   29 G, 33 A, 62 PTS in 48 games
Career Stats:     115 G, 119 A, 234 PTS in 229 games
Pro Status:         2014 1st round (#10) to Anaheim
Int’l:                     CAN U17, U18, WJC
Other:                 #2 overall pick in 2011 OHL Draft
**23 G, 21 A, 44 PTS in 29 games since acq.

F Brock McGinn (’94)

2013/14 Stats:   43 G, 42 A, 85 PTS in 58 games
Career Stats:     79 G, 76 A, 155 PTS since 2012
Pro Status:         2012 2nd round (#47) to Carolina

F Michael Bunting (’95)

2014/15 Stats:   37 G, 37 A, 74 PTS in 57 games
Career Stats:     63 G, 67 A, 130 PTS in 120 games
Pro Status:        2014 4th round (#117) to Arizona

D Matt Finn (’94)

2013/14 Stats:   14 G, 47 A, 61 PTS in 66 games
Career Stats:     43 G, 137 A, 180 PTS in 259 games
Pro Status:         2012 2nd round (#35) to Toronto
Int’l:                     CAN U17
Other:                  2012 CHL/NHL Top Prospect

D Darnell Nurse (’95)

2014/15 Stats:   10 G, 23 A, 33 PTS in 36 games
Career Stats:     40 G, 106 A, 146 PTS in 236 games
Pro Status:         2013 1st round (#7) to Edmonton
Int’l:                     CAN U17, U18, WJC
Other:                  Best Defenseman Award – 2015 WJC

F Jason Dickinson (’95)

2013/14 Stats:   26 G, 52 A, 78 PTS in 68 games
Career Stats:     69 G, 122 A, 191 PTS in 228 games
Pro Status:         2013 1st round (#29) to Dallas
Int’l:                     CAN U18
Other:                  2013 CHL/NHL Top Prospect

F Jared McCann (’96)

2014/15 Stats:   34 G, 47 A, 81 PTS in 56 games
Career Stats:     85 G, 117 A, 202 PTS in 200 games
Pro Status:         2014 1st round (#24) to Vancouver
Int’l:                     CAN U17, U18
Other:                  #4 overall pick in 2012 OHL Draft

F Robby Fabbri (’96)

2013/14 Stats:   45 G, 42 A, 87 PTS in 58 games
Career Stats:     68 G, 81 A, 149 PTS in 138 games
Pro Status:         21st-ranked NHL draft prospect
Int’l:                     CAN U17, U18
Other:                  2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospect

F Blake Speers (’97)

2014/15 Stats:   24 G, 43 A, 67 PTS in 57 games
Career Stats:     43 G, 67 A, 110 PTS in 128 games
Pro Status:         49th-ranked NHL draft prospect
Int’l:                     CAN U17, U18
Other:                  #4 overall pick in 2012 OHL Draft

F Tyler Bertuzzi (’95)

2013/14 Stats:   9 G, 26 A, 35 PTS in 29 games
2014 Playoffs:   17 PTS in 18 games
Pro Status:         2013 2nd round (#58) to Detroit            
Other:                  2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospect

Justin Bailey (’95)

2014/15 Stats:   9 G, 26 A, 35 PTS in 29 games
2015 Playoffs:   10 PTS in 7 games
Pro Status:         2013 2nd round (#52) to Buffalo            
Other:                  2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospect

D Nick Ebert (’94)

2013/14 Stats:   13 G, 41 A, 54 PTS in 65 games
Career Stats:     29 G, 78 A, 107 PTS since 2012
Pro Status:         2013 7th round (#211) to LA
Other:                  2012 CHL/NHL Top Prospect

D Anthony DeAngelo (’95)

2014/15 Stats:   25 G, 64 A, 89 PTS in 55 games
Career Stats:     57 G, 188 A, 245 PTS in 246 games
Pro Status:         2014 1st round (#19) to NYR
Other:                  13th in league scoring in 2014/15

F Zack Mitchell (’93)

2013/14 Stats:   31 G, 52 A, 83 PTS in 67 games
Career Stats:     105 G, 145 A, 250 PTS since 2011
Pro Status:         Signed with Wild as FA (2014)

F Bryan Moore (’94)

2014/15 Stats:   23 G, 27 A, 50 PTS in 57 games
Career Stats:     81 PTS in 93 games with SSM
Pro Status:         FA – NYR prospect camp invite

F Justin Auger (’94)

2013/14 Stats:   11 G, 12 A, 23 PTS in 53 games
Dimensions:      6’4″/230
Pro Status:         2012 4th round (#103) to LA

F Jean Dupuy (’95)

2013/14 Stats:   18 G, 28 A, 46 PTS in 54 games
Dimensions:      6’3″/201
Pro Status:         Signed with Buffalo as FA (2014)

Justin Nichols (’95)

2013/14 Stats:   35-7-1-0, 7 SO, 2.85/.918
Pro Status:         Free Agent
Other:                  .926 SV% in 2014 Memorial Cup

Brandon Halverson (’96)

2014/15 Stats:   40-5-0-2, 6 SO, 2.63/.913
Pro Status:         2014 2nd round (#59) to NYR
Other:                  Member of Team USA at 2015 WJC

*2013/14 Stats do not include 2014 Playoffs
*Career Stats include playoff totals
*2014/15 Stats do not include 2015 Playoffs
*Career Stats do not include 2015 Playoffs

It would appear there is indeed a recipe to team success in the OHL. You can see just how evenly matched the teams are, and it continues even when you match up the rest of the lineups. Guys like Zac Leslie, Stephen Trojanovic and Ryan Horvat all played crucial roles in Guelph’s success, just as Tyler Ganly, Connor Bolland and Gabe Guertler have with Sault Ste. Marie this campaign.

From their team’s record, to their respective goals for/against totals, these teams are eerily similar. As I mentioned above, this Sault team might be the best version of what Guelph had a year ago.

It’s very likely the Storm season will come to an end tomorrow, and while I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet on the 2014/15 season, I recognize just how good the Greyhounds are. They’re likely headed to the OHL final, with a good chance at having a 2015 Memorial Cup parade sometime in May.

I emplore to tune in to Game 4 tomorrow night, both to watch an underdog Storm team scrap it out for 60 minutes (because God knows they have been all series long), but also to appreciate the level the Greyhounds are playing at right now. Like the Storm of 2013/14, the Greyhounds are truly as good as it gets and I see no shame losing to such an incredible team given that the effort is there. Since I believe the Storm have put forth a good fight despite what the scores might indicate, I’ll be satisfied no matter how the rest of the series unfolds.

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.