The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/18/14 at 12:30 AM ET
Tyler Bertuzzi keeps on surprising people--myself included. The Guelph Storm opened their Memorial Cup tournament against the Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday, and instead of playing as a support player, Bertuzzi stole the spotlight, matching the highly-heralded Kerby Rychel's 2-goal performance as Guelph defeated Edmonton 5-1.
Bertuzzi's goals were numbers 4 and 5, but he still served notice that the scrawny kid wearing #17's to be underestimated at one's peril by tagging a pair of sniper's markers (click for the one highlight clip I could find as Sportsnet geo-blocked their stuff).
Storm coach Scott Walker told the Canadian Press that he's used to Warren Rychel's son, Todd Bertuzzi's nephew and one more Storm player with pro ties dislaying both inherited and learned savvy when the spotlight's on 'em...
Kerby Rychel and Tyler Bertuzzi each contributed a pair of goals and Brock McGinn added another for the Ontario Hockey League champions.
Kerby is the son of Warren Rychel, a former NHL winger. Bertuzzi is the nephew of Detroit Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi and McGinn is the brother of Colorado Avalanche forward Jamie McGinn.
"Early on in their lives they get the hockey sense quicker because they're watching it so much and watching their relatives play and they're around it," said Storm head coach Scott Walker, himself a former NHL defenceman. "They watch the training, the little things it takes to win games, chipping pucks in, chipping pucks out, blocking shots. Sometimes you don't have to spend as much time on that, but those three players are just good, solid, hockey players that coaches want on your team. They'll block shots, they'll hit guys, but they also have skill to put the puck in the net. They're fun to have, all a bit different to have. Brock is very quiet and Bert, we all know him. He's fun-loving, loves to be out there and banging and being in everybody's face and Rychesy is just a very intense person."
The Storm had to rally from a 2-goal deficit, as GuelphStorm.com's Brendan Zwambag recap notes...
The Guelph Storm opened the 2014 Memorial Cup Championships with a win.
Brock McGinn fired a laser wrist shot just under the the bar at 14:52 of the second period to give Guelph a 3-2 lead over the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Justin Nichols shut the door and Tyler Bertuzzi added two insurance markers in the third as Guelph claimed 5-2 victory.
Kerby Rychel got the ball rolling with four seconds remaining in the first period. The Columbus first rounder potted a rebound on the powerplay after Zac Leslie's point shot was blocked.
A 27 second hiccup by Nichols and the Storm had the OHL champs stunned.
Henrik Samuelsson's floating backhander from a weak angle beat Nichols over the shoulder on the short side and Ashton Sautner tapped in a beautiful cross ice pass from Curtis Lazar to make it 2-1 Oil Kings.
Rychel continued his dominant play if late with his second powerplay goal of the game. The big winger followed up his own dump in and a clearing attempt from an Edmonton defender went off Rychel and in to an empty cage.
McGinn then picked up a Nick Ebert drop pass and used tge defender as a screen.
Bertuzzi picked the top left corner from the slot and then again from the left wing to put the game out of reach.
Nichols recovered well from the quick goals and finished with 37 saves.
Guelph's next game is Monday against Val'dor, the champions of the Quebec league and winner of the Memorial Cup opener against London.
The Memorial Cup's website noted that the Storm have earned themselves a semifinal game by earning their first win early..
“You’re guaranteed an extra game now,” said Rychel, a Columbus Blue Jackets first round draft pick who led the OHL in playoff scoring. “You can kind of relax a little bit and you’re not chasing the eight ball.”
The win marks the first victory for the OHL Champion Guelph Storm in their last eight MasterCard Memorial Cup games dating back to 2002 when they were the host team before going winless in the 2004 event in Kelowna.
“I thought we were a little bit nervous at first and weren’t skating as well as we can,” said Guelph Storm Head Coach Scott Walker. “I will say I liked the resilience of the bench, we weren’t getting frustrated. We were sticking to the game plan.”
While the Storm took advantage of their man advantages going 2-for-3 on the power play, the Oil Kings would finish 0-for-5.
“We gave up two power play goals and we didn’t score on the power play, so special teams really let us down,” said Edmonton Oil Kings Head Coach Derek Laxdal. “We have to figure that out pretty quick here.”
While the Storm have a day off before they face QMJHL Champion Val-d’Or Foreurs on Monday, the Oil Kings have less than 24 hours to regroup as they take on the host London Knights with both clubs aiming for their first win on Sunday at 7:00pm EDT on Sportsnet.
The Guelph Mercury's Tony Saxon spoke bluntly about the game in a blog entry...
Sometimes you're good, sometimes you're lucky.
A botched clearing attempt that bounced off Kerby Rychel and into the Edmonton net at 7:40 of the second period tied the game, then a beautiful top-shelf wrist shot by Brock McGinn stood up as the winner as the Storm opened their Memorial Cup play with a win Saturday afternoon.
Rychel had two goals, Tyler Bertuzzi had two insurance goals in the third.
Justin Nichols survived a brutal softy early in the second and rebounded to have a solid game, making 37 saves.
The third line had a great game. Ryan Horvat set the tone early with a scrap and the Storm didn't back down physically all night.
Edmonton goaltender Tristan Jarry was average. Henrik Samuelsson relatively invisible. Without your best players playing well, it's hard to win at this level.
And he spoke to the Storm's third line in his recap:
Tyler Bertuzzi iced the win with a pair of third-period goals.
"It was tough getting down by one, but we just battled," Bertuzzi said.
Guelph matched Edmonton's physicality early on and got a huge game from the third line of Bertuzzi, Pius Suter and Ryan Horvat.
"We're a physical team as well. We don't feel we should shy away from any team," McGinn said. "We just go out there and hit them back."
Horvat got the bench on its feet with an early first-period fight with Edmonton's Blake Orban.
"I thought after Horvat's fight he really got into the game and the puck started following him. Bert's goal (to make it 4-2) was the one that gave us some breathing room," Storm coach Scott Walker said.
The London Free Press's Morris Dalla Costa's "Spirit of the Thing" article offered quite the assertion...
Here are the certifiable facts after Day 2 of the 2014 Memorial Cup.
The Guelph Storm are the team to beat in the tournament.
After Sunday when the London Knights and the Edmonton Oil Kings play, one of those two teams will be on life support.
The good news if you're the Knights? It appears if you shoot the puck against the Oil Kings, you will score.
Mind you, after the rather less than impressive shooting performance by the Knights in a 1-0 loss to Val d’Or in Game 1, in order for the home team to score, they have to hit the net. But given the surprisingly shaky performance of Oil Kings keeper Tristan Jarry, things don’t look as bleak as they did after Friday.
Before weighing in on the 5-2 score thusly:
After watching the game Saturday, the 5-2 score was an accurate reflection of how the game was played. The Oil Kings did not generate a ton of chances even though they had more shots. They managed to swamp the Storm early in the second period with two quick goals, the first a horrendous shortside goal given up by Storm goalie Justin Nichols.
But beyond that the Storm always looked like the better team.
Sportsnet's Patrick King suggested that it was Bertuzzi, not Rychel, who was the game's best player...
Player of the Game: Bertuzzi was a thorn in the Oil Kings’ sides all game long. In addition to scoring the two prettiest goals of the game, he answered Edmonton’s physical bell, throwing his weight around when the Oil Kings were trying to establish the trenches from the outset. His two goals later killed any chance of a comeback.
While Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager named Bertuzzi his "second star":
No. 2 star: Tyler Bertuzzi, Guelph Storm
'Little Bert,' as is his wont, was the progenitor of severe gluteal discomfort for Edmonton, pestering the Oil Kings physically and no doubt verbally. The Detroit Red Wings late second-rounder augmented his agitating by scoring the snipe of the day 5:46 into the third period to give the Storm a much needed two-goal cushion. Bertuzzi picked a perfect spot to race ahead for a lead pass from Nick Ebert, cut left to force Jarry to shift and then went high glove for the goal.
Bertuzzi, centre Pius Suter and overage Ryan Horvat gave Guelph an effective third line as the game unfolded, even though the trio didn't start the game together. They also connected on the final insurance goal with 4:11 remaining.
If you wish to read the Edmonton Sun's Terry Jones' take on the game or the Oil Kings' uphill battle, Yahoo Sports' Sager's Oil Kings-centric recap or his sidebar story about Brock McGinn, the Edmonton Journal's John MacKinnon's recap (there's also a photo gallery attached) or the London Free Press's Ryan Pyette's recap, you may most certainly do so on your own--they just don't add too much to the mix.
I'm also very disappointed to tell you that Sportsnet's highlight clip, Bertuzzi interview, the announcers' take on the game and Sportsnet's panel's take on the game are all geo-blocked to Canada only, but the Memorial Cup's website posted a 3:02 highlight clip that you can watch anywhere, the same is true for on-ice interviews with Nick Ebert, Rychel and Bertuzzi, and you can watch coaches Scott Walker and Derek Laxdal speak with the media as well.
It should be fun to see Bertuzzi's Storm battle Mantha's Foreurs on Monday.
For the record, I did find an after-the-fact article about Mantha's goaltender, Antoine Bibeau, which includes some Mantha quips, as well as a photo gallery from Friday's Foreurs win, and Hockey Prospect praised Mantha's performance on Friday, too.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.