LONDON — It fell apart in a hurry.
Trailing 2-0 after two periods in a tightly contested Game 2 at Budweiser Gardens Sunday, the Guelph Storm came out in the third hoping to get that early goal that might change the momentum.
Instead they imploded.
Guelph allowed five goals in a span of just under four minutes as the London Knights rolled to a 7-0 victory in front of 8,000 people.
London now leads the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal 2-0. The series switches to Guelph for Game 3 and 4 on Monday and Wednesday, both at 7 p.m.
There was no sugar-coating this one and no need to sugar-coat it. It was a horrendous 20 minutes of hockey.
“There’s not a lot of words for what we saw in that third period tonight,” said Storm coach George Burnett.
“What we saw in the third period was completely unacceptable for this group. We’ll find out pretty clearly tomorrow (Monday) whether they’re ready and willing to respond.”
Guelph played a pretty solid opening 40 minutes. While scoring chances at even strength were few and far between for the visitors, it took some brilliant saves by London goaltender Jordan Kooy during Storm power plays to prevent it from being a tie game going into the third.
That power play is now one-for-nine in the series.
But that terrible start to the third, where London scored five goals on its first eight shots, was hard to explain.
Good defencemen made terrible plays. Smart forwards made stupid plays. Anthony Popovich couldn’t make a save even if the chances were quality ones, getting the hook after the fifth goal.
Shots in the game were 36-27 for London.
“You can call people out, you can kick and scream and do whatever, but now’s not the time for that kind of stuff,” Burnett said.
“It’s a gut-check for everybody and we’ll learn a lot about our group tomorrow night.”
Burnett said the media could only speak to captain Isaac Ratcliffe after the game, wanting him to talk on the players’ behalf.
“We didn’t show any heart and we gave up,” Ratcliffe said.
“Again, that’s on me. I’m the leader on this team, I’ve got to keep guys on their feet and on their toes and I didn’t do that tonight.”
He said there wasn’t much to say in the dressing room after the game.
“We know how to play hockey and that wasn’t hockey today. That was not hockey. We played completely terrible in that third period.
“We let them trample all over us and they did exactly that. They’re a good hockey team over there … they ran the score up on us and deservedly so.”