MARLO STANFIELD Special to The Standard
It has been a fantastic spring for the Guelph Storm, as the team charted a historic path to an OHL championship, with three Port Perry natives playing roles with the team.
The Storm clinched the OHL title, and a berth in the Memorial Cup championship in Halifax, after an 8-3 comeback win on home ice over the Ottawa 67s, on Sunday, May 12th.
Behind the bench for the Storm was Port Perry’s George Burnett, as he claimed his second OHL championship, the first was with Guelph in 1998, over a storied coaching career, which also included a Calder Cup championship in the AHL. In 2009, Burnett was enshrined in the Scugog Sports Hall of Fame.
Among the deals made by the Storm, to bolster their lineup near the trade deadline, was a swap with Owen Sound for defense-man Markus Phillips, a Port Perry native and member of Team Canada at this year’s World Junior Hockey Championships. Phillips recently signed an Entry Level Contract with the Kings.
Rounding out the local contingent was scout Clair Cornish. The former player and coach of the Port Perry MoJacks, Cornish was named to the Scugog Sports Hall of Fame in 2014, and has been a staff member with the Storm for the past two seasons, in addition to his duties with the Central Ontario Wolves Midget ‘AAA’ team.
The Storm have made history in the postseason, after rallying from 2-0 deficits in three consecutive series.
The Storm swept Kitchener in the opening round, before trailing 3-0 in a series against the London Knights, but came back to reverse sweep, winning the series in seven games.
Then, in the Western Conference Finals, Storm went down 3-1 to the Saginaw Spirit, and rallied back to knock them out in Game 7, too.
But looming in the championship round was the 67s team, who had gone a perfect 12-0 through the first three rounds.
Ottawa kept rolling, and took the first two games against Guelph at home. But, the clock refused to strike midnight on the Storm’s Cinderella season, as they won four straight to claim the championship.
The Memorial Cup championship kicks off in Halifax, on May 17th, and in addition to the Storm, will feature the host Halifax Mooseheads, the QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the winner of the WHL championship series between the Prince Albert Raiders and Vancouver Giants.
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