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Best in the West! Guelph Storm completes another comeback (10 photos)

A 3-2 win over the Saginaw Spirit in Game 7 advances the Storm to the OHL championship against the Ottawa 67's
SAGINAW - Unbelievable.

There’s really no other way to describe the Guelph Storm’s amazing playoff run that culminated in a Western Conference championship Monday night at Saginaw's Dow Event Centre.

Seven times Guelph faced elimination. Seven times they won the game.

They did it again Monday, beating the Saginaw Spirit 3-2 to advance to the OHL championship for the fourth time in the team's history.

They will play the Ottawa 67's, who have yet to lose a game in the playoffs.

“Honestly, words can’t describe how proud I am of the guys in that room,” said the Storm’s MacKenzie Entwistle.

“It’s not easy to come back four straight against London and we did it again against Saginaw. It’s just hard work and dedication. No one wants to lose.

“We’re excited. It’s nice to win this, but we’re not done.”

No one touched the Wayne Gretzky trophy after it was presented to captain Isaac Ratcliffe.

“I’m very proud of our team,” George Burnett said.

“I guess we’re learning some tough things through this adversity but I’m really proud of the way we’ve handled it.

“This is really exciting for this group. We were the fourth seed in the conference. To be sitting here as Western Conference champions, I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and our staff.”

Guelph trailed in series 2-0 and 3-1 in the series before winning three straight against the Spirit.

They trailed Monday’s game 1-0 early before scoring three unanswered goals - by Cedric Ralph, Alexey Toropchenko and Nick Suzuki - before hanging on for the win in a thrilling finish that included a replay of the final 2.7 seconds.

“We’ve got a great group in there. Whenever our backs are against the wall we seem to step up and that’s what’s happened every single time in that position,” Ratcliffe said.

“We have a tonne of character.”

It was a thrilling end.

Nick Suzuki scored into an empty net to make it 3-1, but Saginaw’s Damien Giroux scored with 1:04 on the clock to make it 3-2.

It took a couple of key faceoff wins by Nate Schnarr and Suzuki in the dying seconds to preserve the win and start the celebration, shared by about 125 Storm fans who made the trip down to Saginaw.

“On paper, that is the best team in the league. They’ve got five world junior players on there, they’ve got a million guys drafted. That team is the best team in the league,” said Saginaw coach Chris Lazary.

“I fully expect them to go on and win the OHL championship.”

That quest starts Thursday in Ottawa.

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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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