LONDON, Ont. — The Guelph Storm booked a ticket to the Memorial Cup final with a 6-3 win over the Val-d’Or Foreurs on Monday.
At 2-0, the Ontario Hockey League champions were assured a berth in Sunday’s championship game. The Storm conclude the round-robin Wednesday against the winless London Knights.
The Foreurs and Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings were both 1-1 and meet Tuesday night.
It was an up-and-down night for the Leafs prospects in the game. Matt Finn, the captain of the Guelph Storm had two assists and was a plus 4 in the win as he was named the third star on the night. Finn is a +7 through the first two games of the tournament.
After making 51 saves in Friday's win over London, Antoine Bibeau allowed six goals on 36 shots and was pulled after two periods. Val-d'Or is in action on Tuesday as they face the Edmonton Oil Kings (7pm Sportsnet).
Kerby Rychel, Zach Mitchell, Jason Dickinson, Robby Fabbri, Pius Suter, and Tyler Bertuzzi all scored for the explosive Storm, who have 11 goals in two games in the tournament.
Scott Kosmachuk had three assists for Guelph. Mitchell, Brock McGinn and captain Matt Finn each had two assists.
Timotej Sille replied with a goal and an assist for Val-d’Or. Anthony Beauregard and Randy Gazzola also scored for the Foreurs.
Storm goalie Justin Nichols made 30 saves for the win. Val-d’Or goalie Antoine Bibeau stopped 30 of 36 shots. He was replaced after two periods by Keven Bouchard, who turned away all 13 he faced.
Storm defenceman Chadd Bauman was tossed from the game in the third period for knee-on-knee contact with Val-d’Or defenceman Guillaume Gelinas. The Foreurs assistant captain favoured his left knee as he was helped from the ice.
Guelph opened the tournament with a 5-2 win over the Oil Kings on Saturday.
The Storm were the highestest scoring major junior team in Canada this season with 340 goals. They continue to demonstrate their speed that stretches a defence as well as a wealth of scoring talent, led by Rychel with three goals and an assist in the tournament.
The Storm rattled off four unanswered goals, including three within the first six minutes, before the Foreurs could counter in the second.
The team with the best record at the conclusion of the round robin gets the bye to the final. It’s an advantage in winning the Cup, but less so than it once was.
Since a day of rest between the semifinal and final was incorporated into the tournament format in 2007, the team with the bye hoisted the trophy four of seven years.
The teams finishing second and third meet in Friday’s semifinal. Two teams tied for third will require a tiebreaker game Thursday.
So the host Knights need a win over Guelph on Wednesday or their tournament is over. The Storm eliminated the Knights in the second round of OHL playoffs on Apr. 11.
The Memorial Cup went to a four-team tournament with the addition of a host club in 1983. When the semifinal and final were played on back-to-back days, the team with the bye won the Cup 17 of 24 years.
The Guelph Storm are looking for their first Memorial Cup in their 23-year history. The Guelph Platers won the Cup in 1986 before relocating to Owen Sound, Ont.
Bibeau stopped all 51 shots in Val-d’Or’s 1-0 win over the Knights to start the tournament, but he gave up three goals on the first seven shots he faced Monday.
The Foreurs had just three days between winning Game 7 of their QMJHL final in Baie-Comeau, Que., and their first game in London.
But even with two days of rest after their opener, Val-d’Or wasn’t as tenacious on the puck as the Storm and the defence around their own net was sloppy.
Beauregard finished a tic-tac-toe passing play for a power-play goal during Bauman’s five-minute major midway through the third period.
Guelph’s Bertuzzi had time for two swings at a rebound and scored with seven seconds to go in the second period to make it 6-2. Fabbri took a backhand pass from Mitchell and whipped the puck by Bibeau at 16:04.
Sille poked a loose puck by Nichols during a goal-mouth scramble at 12:55 to temporarily shrink Guelph’s lead. Gazzola’s wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle beat Nichols for a power-play goal at 11:59.
Guelph’s Suter batted a rebound into a backhand at 8:13.
The Foreurs allowed Dickinson to buzz across the top of the offensive zone and into the slot, where his off-speed shot squeaked through Bibeau’s pads at 5:50 of the first period. Mitchell beat Bibeau with a sharp-angled wrist shot four minutes into the game.
Fabbri fed Rychel at the side of the net and the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect chipped the puck in 59 seconds into the game.