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Poitras' gamble pays off as Storm wins it in overtime

Guelph rallies from a 4-1 deficit in the third period to win it in overtime Sunday at the Sleeman Centre

The rest of the Guelph Storm owe Matt Poitras big time, after the star centre likely saved them from a punishing skate at their next practice.

Trailing 4-1 approaching the midway point of the third period Sunday against the Sudbury Wolves and with coach Chad Wiseman clearly not thrilled with his squad, Poitras keyed the comeback with a pair of third period assists then won it in overtime, scoring on a breakaway with 31 seconds left on the clock.

Poitras was also in on Jake Karabela's game-tying tally with 1:20 to go in regulation and goaltender Brayden Gillespie on the bench in favour of the extra attacker.

The winning goal came on a bit of a gamble.

WIth a scrum for the puck along the boards near the Storm blueline, Poitras hedged his bets and stayed just on the offensive side of the scrum, usually a no-no. When it squirted loose he was off the to the races.

"It squirted the right way, so its good," said a smiling Poitras after the game "I was digging at the puck and then it was kind of a foot race. I was lucky enough to win that one."

Sudbury's Alex Pharand was in hot pursuit of Poitras, but couldn't stop the Boston Bruins pick from tucking a backhand between the pads of goaltender Kevyn Brassard.

"You look up and you see what the goalie's doing, but I was pretty tired and I knew I was going five-hole there and it ended up working out."

Poitras had three assists in the game to go with his goal.

Karabela, Gavin Grundner, Isaac Enright and Michael Buchinger had the other Storm goals, with three of them coming in a 10-minute span of the third, as Sudbury – playing its third game in less than three days – started to run out of steam.

"Give credit to them, they came out pretty strong," Poitras said of the road-weary Wolves. "We got back to our game, keep grinding and get pucks into the corner."

Nick DeGrazia put the Wolves up 1-0 late in the first period with a wrist shot the beat Bayden Gillespie on the blocker side.

Enright tied things up late in the second when Poitras spotted him cruising in from the blue line, hit him with a perfect pass, then Enright rifled one into the top corner past Brassard.

Sudbury scored three goals in the opening 6:07 of the third before the worm turned.

"I wasn't happy with our start today. I don't think we started on time," said Storm coach Chad Wiseman, pointing out his team watched video Saturday and stressed the need for coming out strong early.

"I think maybe we looked at their (Sudbury's) travel schedule and that they were missing a few of their top guys and we thought it was going to be a lot easier tonight than it was. We almost learned the hard way," Wiseman said.

"I liked the energy on our bench. Even down 4-1 we were real positive. Maybe at the beginning of the season guys would have pointed fingers a little bit more, but we've got that out of our culture now and it's a full team buy-in."

Guelph was without winger Max Nemestnikov Sunday. He sat out the first of a two-game suspension for being involved in a second fight during the same stoppage of play on Friday night against Owen Sound. Jett Luchanko and Valentin Zhugin area also still out with injuries.

Sudbury was without its top two forwards Quentin Musty and David Goyette.

Guelph plays in Kitchener on Friday night then hosts the Rangers on Sunday afternoon.

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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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