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Guelph Storm gets a chance to play giant killers (5 photos)

Guelph downs Kingston and will now host the top-ranked Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Saturday, winners of 19 straight games
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A 5-4 win over the Kingston Frontenacs Friday night at the Sleeman Centre was nice for the Guelph Storm, but the real test comes Saturday afternoon when the country's top dogs come to town.

The Storm will take on the country's top-ranked Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in a 4 p.m. start.

The Hounds scored with two seconds left in regulation Friday night to beat the Kitchener Rangers 4-3 and extends their winning streak to 19 games.

Guelph isn't doing too shabby lately either, winning seven of their past nine games.

"It was a a good way to start the weekend, we'll enjoy it for a few minutes tonight, then regroup against the best team in the country (Saturday). It should be fun if the home team is ready to go," said Storm coach George Burnett.

Guelph scored three times in 72 seconds during the first period then held on as the Frontenacs nibbled away the rest of the game.

Cedric Ralph, whose third period goal proved to be the game winner, said the team is learning how to win close games.

"The whole team is a year older and has been through those types of situations," said Ralph, who now has 14 goals on the season, tied for the team lead with Cam Hillis, who also scored twice Friday.

"For us to get in that situation and not to cave in was big for us," Ralph said.

Ralph's game winner came courtesy of a nifty feed from Ryan Merkley, who slid it to a streaking Ralph after entering the Kingston zone. Ralph did the rest, making a nifty move on netminder Brendan Bonello before burying the winner.

It was Ralph's second goal of the game and Merkley's fourth point. He was also a plus-3 in the game.

Barret Kirwin chipped in with three assists.

Ralph said that balanced scoring has been a big key to the team's success this season.

"We're not having one night every few games (where multiple players score) we're having them almost every night," Ralph said.

Burnett thought the 4-1 lead his team held after the first period wasn't necessarily indicative of the way they were playing. But he was glad the way the team fought through the rest of the way.

"You're up 4-1 and you don't really feel great about the way you're playing, although we did some good things.

"It's a great final result to us, whether we deserve it or not, we're going to take it," Burnett said.

"Kingston is a hard working team, they work hard forward and back, and our habits are getting better, but it's still not unconditional," the Storm coach said. "You expect some different types of games at this time of the year .... we've got to fight through that and fight right through until the end."

After Saturday's tilt with the Greyhounds, the Storm wraps up the pre-Christmas portion of the schedule with a game in Oshawa on Sunday night.




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