Dalla Costa: Storm's surge will continue

Guelph Storm forward Kerby Rychel, right, tucks the puck into the corner of the net as Val d'Or...

Guelph Storm forward Kerby Rychel, right, tucks the puck into the corner of the net as Val d'Or Foreurs goaltender Antoine Bibeau dives across in an attempt to save the puck during their 2014 Memorial Cup round robin hockey game at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario on Monday May 19, 2014. (CRAIG GLOVER, The London Free Press)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 12:35 AM ET

The Guelph Storm have attained one of their goals. They’ve made Sunday’s Memorial Cup final with one game to spare.

With a place in the final already guaranteed, one would think Game 3 would be just a schedule-filler for the Storm, affecting their motivation as they cruise over 60 minutes taking it easy in an effort to avoid injuries.

That being the case, it would be an advantage to their opponent.

The opponent, though, is the London Knights. The Storm will have no trouble finding motivation or desire to play to their best.

The Storm are 2-0 and the Knights 0-2. A loss eliminates the Knights.

In some cases an 0-2 team wouldn’t generate much interest in terms of busting your butt to beat them. But despite the Knights dismal performance so far this tournament, the Storm recognize the potential dangers in giving the Knights any wiggle room at all.

The Storm have already dumped on London’s party once and probably have no issue dumping on it again.

“We have another chance to knock off London and we want to take that chance,” Storm’s Jason Dickinson said.

“They have a hard working team. They could come back and meet us in the final if they really find their stride and start working the way they can. They can be there and make a run for it.”

It’s hard to imagine the Knights continuing to play as poorly as they have in this tournament, especially offensively.

The Knights are getting enough shots to win games but have only scored two goals. Eventually the puck will start going in. The Storm would prefer the Knights go home before that happens.

While the Canadian Hockey League may not be enthused about the idea of a home team not making it past the round-robin portion of the event, getting rid of a team that has an obvious home-rink advantage would cheer up the other three teams considerably.

“They will be playing desperate hockey,” said Storm’s Zack Mitchell of the Knights. “We expect them to figure out their game here. If we give them too much time we could see them in the final. We have a lot of respect for them.

While London crowds aren’t particularly boisterous or whacky, they can occasionally work their way out of a stupor in a situation when their team is tied or leading in a game. It does give the Knights an adrenaline surge.

Aside from the obvious hockey reasons why it would be a good thing for all the other teams here if the Knights were eliminated, there’s the revenge factor. The Knights have it because they were eliminated by the Storm in the playoffs.

The Storm has the revenge factor because they’ve had to put up with the Knights getting the better of them for a number of years.

Given all that the Knights have done to Western Conference teams the last three years, Matt Finn says he has absolutely no problem playing the role of villain two times this year.

“We’ve played them 11 times,” Finn said. “It’s going to be a battle. This city doesn’t like us too much especially after we knocked them out of the playoffs. We don’t want to let them back in.”

Finn said eliminating the Knights would be “pretty cool.”

“We’ve taken a lot of beatings from the London Knights and to be able to knock them out in the playoffs was great for us,” he said. “To knock them out of the playoffs was great . . . to have the chance to knock them out of the Memorial Cup while hosting is something we want to do because of the history.”

Some of this might be considered bulletin board material if there was anything new to it.

But it’s hardly shocking that the Storm would enjoy eliminating the Knights from the Memorial Cup.

It’s the smart thing to do.


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