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Guelph seek Memorial Cup title

Storm will play either Edmonton or Val-d'Or in Sunday's championship

Friday, 05.23.2014 / 8:25 AM ET / News
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Guelph seek Memorial Cup title
Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha has drawn plenty of attention during the Memorial Cup. He and his Val-d'Or Foreurs need a win Friday night to earn a spot in Sunday's championship game. (Photo by Getty Images)

The Guelph Storm were the best team in the Ontario Hockey League this season. They're looking to expand that title to the Canadian Hockey League.

Guelph beat the host London Knights 7-2 on Wednesday to finish round-robin play at the 2014 Memorial Cup unbeaten, and in three games outscored its opposition 18-7.

The Storm advanced to the championship game Sunday (4 p.m. EST; NHLN-US, Sportsnet), where they will face the winner of the semifinal game Friday between the Western Hockey League champion Edmonton Oil Kings and the Val-d'Or Foreurs, winners of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (7 p.m. EST; NHLN-US, Sportsnet).

Leading the way for the Storm is Winnipeg Jets prospect Scott Kosmachuk, who had a hat trick against London and leads all players at the tournament with six points.

Guelph has the top eight scorers in the tournament, including Tyler Bertuzzi, a 2013 second-round pick (No. 58) of the Red Wings who leads all players with five goals. Kerby Rychel (Columbus Blue Jackets), Jason Dickinson (Dallas Stars) and Brock McGinn (Carolina Hurricanes) have five points each.

Robert Fabbri, a top prospect for the 2014 NHL draft, has one goal and three assists in four games. He's No. 21 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for this year's draft.

In goal, Justin Nichols has three wins, a 2.33 goals-against average and .941 save percentage, all tournament bests. He's stopped 112 of the 119 shots he's faced.

In round-robin play, Guelph beat Edmonton 5-2 on Saturday and defeated Val-d'Or 6-3 on Monday.

This marks the first time Guelph has played for the Memorial Cup title since losing to the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL in 1998.

Guelph assistant general manager Chris Hajt was the captain of that 1998 Guelph team and told Sportsnet.ca the current version has the chance to complete the final step that his team, which featured future NHL players Manny Malhotra and Brian Willsie, couldn't.

"The perseverance of this team, the completeness of the team from the goaltending out," Hajt said, "it's definitely the best team [in Storm history]."

Before Guelph finishes its run at history, it has to wait for an opponent in the title game.

Edmonton has been led offensively by 2014 draft prospect Edgars Kulda and 2012 Phoenix Coyotes first-round pick (No. 27) Henrik Samuelsson, who each have two goals and an assist. Kulda, 19, who went undrafted last year, is No. 145 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2014 draft.

Curtis Lazar, selected by the Ottawa Senators with the 17th pick of the 2013 draft, has one goal and two assists.

Val-d'Or's best player has been goaltender Antoine Bibeau, a 2013 sixth-round pick (No. 173) of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He opened the tournament with a 51-save shutout of London and then stopped 47 of 50 shots in a 4-3 double-overtime defeat of Edmonton in round-robin play. He has a 2.98 GAA and .934 save percentage in three games.

Red Wings 2013 first-round pick (No. 20) Anthony Mantha has one goal and two assists in three games. He had 57 goals in 57 regular-season games and 24 goals in 24 QMJHL playoff games.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 54 18 20 25 38
H. Zetterberg 55 10 28 5 38
T. Tatar 54 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 55 14 16 -1 30
P. Datsyuk 40 9 21 14 30
J. Abdelkader 55 14 15 -2 29
M. Green 47 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 41 5 11 6 16
D. DeKeyser 51 7 8 12 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 5 .933 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89