HALIFAX – There are those that would say the Guelph Storm is a team of destiny.
If you believe in that type of thing.
And one could certainly make an argument that their path to Friday night’s semifinal against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, two wins away from the Storm’s first-ever Memorial Cup title, is one paved with other-worldly occurrences.
It’s unheard of for a fourth place team in its conference to get this far.
Owen Sound general manager Dale DeGray could have easily shipped Nick Suzuki and the Owen Sound four elsewhere.
Winning seven road games on a 22-game run to an OHL title is not an easy thing to do.
Saginaw Spirit's hot-headed Russian goalie Ivan Provosvetov could have found a better way to express his frustrations than the one that resulted with one of the league’s top goalies getting banned for five games.
Team Canada goalie Mikey DiPietro, brought in for just such moments, could have not injured his ankle badly without being touched.
Arguably the second-best goalie in Canada, Ian Scott, might not have let in five goals on 25 shots against Guelph in what was a horrid Memorial Cup for him.
And destiny might be as good an explanation as any as to how you explain a team falling behind 3-0 in one series and 2-0 in two more before coming back to win.
But there will be no relying on destiny Friday night at Scotiabank Centre.
The semifinal against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies will be about resilience, yes, but resilience comes from hard work and execution.
The game will be about doing what Guelph has done well in this tournament in stretches, but hasn’t done for 60 minutes: puck possession, a forecheck that limits time and space and forces poor choices by opposing players, keeping the shot total low and, in a game where the margin of error is so narrow, staying out of the penalty box.
We know we have not seen the Guelph Storm at its finest yet in the first three games of the Memorial Cup. But we likely haven’t seen the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies at their finest hour either.
The argument could be made that only team that has reached its full potential here is the one that advanced straight to the final, the Halifax Mooseheads.
It won’t be destiny that puts Guelph into the Memorial Cup final.
Hard work, discipline and execution will.
Determination, resilience and skill will.